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Fantastic trail. The river crossings were cold but great. There’s still a lot of downed trees from the fire, but moved as many as we could. The turn off from jacks river was hard to spot because of a downed tree and the sharp ascent, but we thoroughly enjoyed this trail. I think the whole loop is closer to 18 miles, but not certain. There’s also very little water on the ridge trails, so take advantage on the river and get what you’ll need.

Challenging. Took rough ridge to jacks to rice camp to cowpen. Can camp before upper falls river crossing and after lower falls crossing. Yellow sign marks no camp zone. A lot of burn damage/downed trees. There is some water on cowpen, at the stream shown before cowpen connects with hickory ridge, but it’s a steep scramble down to collect.

Do not do the route listed by all trails!!!!!!! Do the loop from hickory ridge around to rough ridge. If you try to take horseshoe bend the trail just ends half mile before jacks river. I ended up bushwhacking down a 50 degree slope to get down to the river to my campsite. The forest fire really messed this area up. No cell service anywhere. Trekking poles are a must if you are backpacking. The forest rangers will not do anything for you. They are useless. No good water on all of the east cowpen side. Plus half of east cowpen trail is a dirt road. I was disappointed. Jacks river was beautiful. I repeat do not do the loop listed by all trails!!!!!!!!! Take hickory ridge to rough ridge loop. It is shorter but way less problems. Plus shorter distances to get to cleaner water. Only cell service is from the three forks trailhead to about 3 miles down the ridge.

Made the trek down from Wisconsin to try some different terrain. Not being from the area, did quite a bit of reading of others reviews which were helpful. So my significant other and I did the trail twice in two different days. The first day we went counterclockwise and we ended up completing the 15 mile loop in 6 hours and 20 minutes. The trail is well defined with blue diamond markers, so getting lost is pretty difficult. Going thus direction, you are bound to see multiple ppl as everyone seems to go clockwise. Trails are wide enough however to pass comfortably. Ended up climbing about 1900 ft in elevation and descending down about the same. At about mile 2 you start to climb for close to a mile until it tapers off. It is up and down the remainder of the trail until about mile 12 when you cross the road, from there it is downhill for about 2 miles which can be tough on the knees. When we hiked it clockwise, it was 15 miles again and we pushed ourselves to complete it in 5.5 hours. Same information as above only opposite. Overall it was a nice trip. Friendly people alomg the way. Only gripe is all of the horse droppings. Also, thankfully no spiders this time of the year which I was thankful for!

Hiked this trail in early February. A great time to hike this area. This area is good for an over night hike. Devils den is also a great area for some Family car camping too

Live near here and enjoy this trail often!! From TH #1 on Little Lake Creek Loop Trail, all the way to the Sand Branch Trail (about 6-7 miles), and finally on the Lonestar Hiking Trail back to TH #1 is a great 13 mile hike. Relatively shaded from TX sun and mostly a flat trail, minus small creeks and ditches. Great way to enjoy the outdoors!

backpacking
1 month ago

Recent prescribed burns by the forestry service have impacted the section outside the state park, in the ozark national forest. However, it is still a gorgeous trek with a well defined trail. It is not for the faint of heart. The trails are covered with rocks that are sometimes slick, but the views outweigh the difficulty. It has well established, primitive camps with ample water sources. I did the trek in two half days going clockwise on the trail. It is a great weekend getaway that I definitely plan on doing again.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great trail if you live within four hours or so for a nice weekend escape. Lots of spiders in the late summer but great fall and spring temps.

My son and I started from fm2426 and hiked east 19 miles. The trail was great. Well marked but not very well travelled. We hiked 2 days and camped 2 nights. The only negative I can say is that a game warden took interest in my son's truck and ran his tags, got all his info and texted him questioning as to his intention. We informed him what we were doing and that we were ok. That should have been the end of that but instead he contacted federal park police who went and checked my truck at the park on Toledo Bend. We had paid the fee for day use and were all legal. However, when we exited the trail, in the rain, the federal park K-9 unit was waiting for us. He ran up on us like we were wanted murder suspects and began telling us all the facts they had mined on us and how we should have left a note as to our actions on my son's truck on fm 2426. Wow! Nothing better to do? Overall a good time though.

Great trail, Good first backpacking experience, lots of spiders and webs along the trail when i came through but hey its nature! will definitely come back!

backpacking
2 months ago

Our first backpacking trip. We made it a 3 day 2 night trip. It is definitely a hard trail, but when done we felt so accomplished. The trail was clearly marked 98% of the time. It looks to have new “blazes” that clearly mark it as the TBTL. We did notice though that over time it has been marked several different ways. Along with what I have already mentioned, you will see original aluminum, yellow, and white. Some of the aluminum are really hard to see due to discoloration (turned black). We only got turned around a couple of times. There is one power line crossing that is not clearly marked and we went about 1/2 mike out of our way. The other time wasn’t near that long. We did not stash water. We used our sawyer mini filter and only pulled from running creeks. No one got sick. Water tasted great.

This was a great trail to learn how to backpack. Truly a challenge. Loved every minute of it.

A great beginner’s backpacking trail. Some gorgeous views and good backcountry camping sites. For my first solo backpacking trip, I hiked two half-days on this trail in early November, and the temps were perfect (highs in the upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s).

Great trail with great views it was marked somewhat well but definitely do the west loop and come down the east side. It's a nice loop but make sure you start early we started at 9 and got back at 5:15 and wish I would have had a little more time.

Awesome

backpacking
3 months ago

This is a pretty challenging trail, and I think a little longer than it is listed as. I planned for a three day hike so I could take my time and enjoy a couple nights of backcountry camping. The trial is pretty rugged, with lots of ups and downs, and most of the trail is riddled with large stone. I wound up bruising/spraining the bottom of my foot on mile three and limped through most of the trail, so that only made the trip harder. That being said, I was impressed with several primitive campsites along the trail that other hikers had made. The site at Quaill Valley was especially impressive. There were a few places to filter some water, just before mile 5, and several places from 6-9(Junction camp I believe is the last place for water). There are also several campsites right along Blackburn Creek from mile 6-9. Butterfield Falls(a rock garden) was a challenge, but a short one. I was through it in a couple of minutes. At the top is a primitive camp with a gorgeous view. The next couple of miles ware fairly easy, and another primitive camp around 11.5. The last two miles of the trail are pretty rocky and steep. All in all a good trail, but be sure to wear proper footwear. If I had less give in my sole, I think the trip would have been a lot more enjoyable.

Parked at Trailhead #2 and hiked north on the Little Lake Creek Loop trail up to Trailhead #1 and went back to our car via the Lonestar Hiking trail. Garmin clocked me right about 7 miles. Had a great time, really beautiful pine areas. There's plenty of fallen trees on the trail so be aware of that, many of them have bypasses but there's a few that don't. This would be a great trail to run on as it's in good shape with very few hazards. Overall great trail.

Fun trail to run on

backpacking
3 months ago

Only the strong should perform this loop. Between steep ascents and descents, Rock gardens, slippery creeks and very uneven terrain it was a trudge more than a trek. Having to plan almost every step took away from the true beauty of environment. If all stated does not bother you, this is the trail for you.

backpacking
3 months ago

I have done this trail 4x. fun trip. recommend to do in fall. need to bring plenty of water. typically we start off hwy 87 and hike east to yellow pine lake. we set up camp there. no luck with fish last time i went. their is a ccc road right there so you can stash water and supplies there if needed. has several areas where trail is hard to find...but that adds to the adventure. several crossings that are moderate in difficulty.

Great scenic trail. very well marked with many natural highlights like ponds and lots of wildlife. we did this as part of a boy scouts hiking merit badge.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! I did the trail counter-clockwise from Shores Lake Campground and did the White Rock Rim Loop halfway through. I read someone's review earlier who said to do the loop clockwise, but I thought it might be better to do the steep part going uphill instead of down...less risk of injury if really steep boulders. However, after hiking it and seeing that the east approach to the mountain is not actually a "climb" and just a steep hike, I think clockwise is the way to go. It was nice to see the waterfalls on the west side of the loop on the way back, though...a reward for all the work put in going uphill. The whole creek is beautiful - I've never seen water that bluish color before!

Trail is well-marked, except that the overlapping part with the Ozark Highlands Trail does not have blue blazes. I got a bit nervous that I had missed the turnoff in the northwest part of the loop, but then I got to the intersection and it was very clearly marked with signs.

There's not much going on in the east side of the loop, but I really enjoyed the hike overall!

Great trail - bring supplies for a day unless camping - some terrain is difficult - beautiful woodland, water and NWA.

Was a good trail. West loop had a lot more to see then the east loop. At 36, and one who does not exercise more then a walk/run for 2-3 miles twice a week, this trail was more then I should have taken on for a day hike. We camped at white rock, went down the west loop, did the full loop and came up the east side. By mile 8/9 I was definitely hurting —- just in time to start the ascent. We started at 8am and made it back by 4:45, just as the sun was beginning To go down. Hiked the week before thanksgiving. Trail was easy to find and well marked. Most streams were dry.

backpacking
5 months ago

Good trail. A little rocky in places, but not terrible overall. We traveled clockwise. The last few miles include a lot of steep descending, based off this, clockwise seems to be the better way to go. Established outback campsites with accessible water around both mile 7 (on trail) and mile 9 (downhill off trail). There is also an established campsite with a great cliff view at mile 5.

Hit me up on Facebook messenger for more information! @jordanmwhite9

backpacking
5 months ago

Me and the wife didnt finish the trail we only hiked 3 miles clockwise, her leg started bothering her due to a previous injury. We are planning on returning in the future, I would recommend this to anyone the staff was friendly and helped us with any info we needed. Be wary tho there are only a few places along the trail to get water, so plan accordingly. Oh and during winter gun season is available so next year I may take a trip and carry my rifle along just in case.

This trail was great! Closer to the peak of the mountain the difficulty level would be “hard”. Would strongly recommend going up East side and then coming down the West.

This was a very nice loop. It was our first time backpacking and it was a good trail for that. Pretty well mart except for coming out of Kyle‘s landing was a little bit confusing as The GPS did not follow the trail.
Overall I would definitely do this again.

backpacking
5 months ago

I went August and half the trail was covered in spiders and horse flies made it worse. The trail was pretty though.

backpacking
6 months ago

This was our first backpacking trip so it has a special place in my heart. We hiked in late April and had plenty of water sources thanks to a wet spring. Lots of pretty views and interesting scenery. The camping at Junction was a perfect way to end the day.

backpacking
6 months ago

My sister and I have backpacked this loop twice and we had a great time. This was our first trail to backpack and we both handled it well. There are some steep uphills and downhills and there is a part of the trail where you will have to climb up some large boulders. Plenty of water sources during October (2015) and March when we backpacked it. The signage had been improved when we did this trail the second time (March 2017). Some great camping spots along the trail as well. Nice overnight trip. 15.6 miles on my Garmin Fenix 3, elevation gain: 2,471 feet, elevation loss: 2,609 feet. Total moving time: 7.45 hours.

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