hiking

forest

views

camping

dogs on leash

birding

nature trips

walking

wildlife

mountain biking

river

wild flowers

kid friendly

waterfall

Awesome trail. Lots a of changes in elevation which made it challenging in a fun way. Everytime there was a clearing in the trees the view was beautiful. A few really pretty streams along the way as well

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
2 days ago

Hiked ERL in March and once again a year later in June. It rained for hours and then turned to hail in March and the water level got so high that it made it really hard to cross the river. Make sure you have cold gear, temperatures can drop below the limits of a summer sleeping bag. Everything looked dead and brown and the trail wasn't as pretty. Tried to park at Albert Pike but saw no cars or people and a sign that said No Overnight Parking, and these metal gates were closed off (but in June it was open, and we saw plenty of people). The water level was really high at some places so I didn't want to risk my car and had to take big detours to try and park at LMF. Coming from out of state, the Garmin eTrex was indispensable since there is zero cell signal.

Hiked it a year later in June for 3 days 2 nights. Trees were green, weather was humid, it even rained but wasn't frigid like March. Parked at Little Missouri/Athens-Big Fork Junction Trailhead and hiked CCW to get the hard part out of the way. Hiking the hard part first also allowed us to view Spirit Rock Vista, Bush Heap Mountain, and finally camp at Eagle Rock Vista. Those 3 POIs are not to be missed! You are at the top of the mountain and get a great green view of the forest!

Tough trail with 7 major ridges to climb. Plus the 3 points of interest on the ABF trail is breath taking. Ants and poison ivy are abundant in June. There is a ton of water access. This trail is extremely rocky. I'm glad I had trail runners vs wearing regular shoes. Had huge blisters on both feet that had to be cut and drained because I didn't use Petroleum Jelly (or something similar) to prevent it. Plenty of dirt to pitch an ultralight tent throughout the whole trail (so free standing tents not necessary). By the end, my legs were still sore 2 days afterwards despite total load out with clothes weighing less than 24 lbs.

backpacking
3 days ago

Completed ERL with my brother last Saturday. We started on Thursday around 11am and finished the loop on Saturday at 12:30pm in the afternoon. This loop is challenging but can be completed in three days with plenty of leisure time if you get after it in the beginning. We parked at the Blaylock creek parking lot (west part of the loop on Athens big fork trail) and hiked 11 miles the first day (took on 4 of the 6 mtns) all the way to a beautiful campsite a mile or so past the little Missouri falls rec area (got there at 5:30pm). I personally recommend going clockwise where we started so you can take on 4 mountains first and then enjoy the beautiful river near Albert pike rec area where you want to lounge at and soak up the beautiful scenes/swimming holes/massive river openings. (You are wiped going counter clockwise and taking on 6 mountains one day). On Friday It was a beautiful/easy morning hike on the north east part of the loop. We covered ground faster then we thought (1 mile every 30 minutes) and had lunch at the Albert pike rec area. At 1pm we set up camp at an awesome campsite 1 mile or so after the blaylock creek on the SE part of the loop and enjoyed a relaxing day off the river. On Saturday we were able to fly through Viles branch trail and took on the two mountains left on Athens big fork. Overall, the loop is well worth checking out! Before you go, make sure you have trekking poles, a hammock to sleep in, sandals for water crossings (tons of crossings on this loop) and lifestraw. Pack lite and don't leave trash at the campsite when you head out. That was disappointing/frustrating to see. Enjoy the largest loop in Arkansas!

Absolutely stunning views that you must earn. I recommend starting at the Athens Big Fork trailhead and getting the mountains out of the way on the first day, hiking counter clockwise. Plenty of campsites along the trail and plenty of water. Definitely take the spur trail on brush heap mountain to the summit, it is totally worth it. Watch out for snakes.

Ticked off. Party of 8. We all had ticks. Also spider webs in my face. Not easily marked. After 2nd crossing no clue where to go. Not a fan.

Wonderful trail, fantastic views, and lots of wildlife (saw a Western Diamondback rattlesnake!). Only downside is that the trail is very overgrown and poorly marked, but it's manageable for the most part, especially for experienced hikers.

backpacking
6 days ago

One other note do your research on food to bring for hiking if your new to hiking. As a former Marine I've hiked large bulky loads for many years and it hurts I hiked 65 pounds this weekend which for me is ok but unnecessary (I was hiking for 2- food,sleeping system,etc.) i would suggest to do the loop try to be under 30 pounds at most. There are many videos on you tube about backpacking foods and a great place to start. Many great ideas on making your hike more enjoyable.

Just finished the weekend on the trail. 3 of us started at little Missouri falls and hiked down to winding stairs. It was a wonderful weekend and a wonderful hike great views and an all around great trail to hike. The only thing I can say is for first timers hitting the trail anytime you come across other hikers ask if you are on the right path because a couple of times we turned at the wrong path. The trails are marked with white blaze but not many signs telling you which trail you are on. Having a map helps a lot. The people along the trail and in this area are very polite and helpful. We ate lunch at the alberts pile recreation sight and met half a dozen locals that were very helpful and kind. We did make the mistake of climbing up the trAil to the cave and was unaware we were on that trail it is a pretty steep climb with great views but would suggest to anyone wanting to see that view to leave your pack at the trail head or just after it as it was an upsetting moment when one of the locals we met earlier had climbed up and told us we were on the wrong trail for winding stairs. If you are looking for a great place to park and want water front camping highly suggest the winding stairs parking lot. All along the trail is the river and many great places to set up camp over all 14.5 miles of hiking this weekend and our only complaint was the trails could be marked with more signs. We will be returning in the fall for sure.

backpacking
13 days ago

backpacking
17 days ago

i love this trail! we did it in 3 days, 2 nights, and that included stopping to fish a couple of times, but i recommend spending three nights or more. there is so much beauty that's worth stopping to enjoy, plus you will wear out your legs if you try to take it too fast. the views are nice from atop the ridges, but my favorite parts are all the creeks in the valleys.

this loop really is not for novices -- the western north/south section is as tough as it gets in the ouachitas. we passed a few beginners that were really dragging and wishing they had brought better gear.

also, you should definitely bring water shoes -- i thought i would be tough and cross the river barefooted like i did in my younger days. it was miserable then, and downright torture now! be smart and take care of your feet!

on Little Missouri Trail

17 days ago

backpacking
20 days ago

Did full loop in 1 night, 2 days. Plenty of great swimming and fishing holes. There are a few tough climbs, but some good views to keep motivated.

on Eagle Rock Loop

21 days ago

Well, I did my first overnight and man was it an experience. May 27, 2017 about 2:00 am it came a storm. My friend and I have hiked almost the whole loop in sections. I can't wait to do it all at once. Some parts of the trail were a bit tricky but it was well worth it. Athens Big Fork section was the hardest but a lot of amazing views.

hiking
21 days ago

We began our trip at the trail head 2 miles north of Albert Pike Rec. Area and traversed the trail clockwise. Awesome views and great camping spots with challenging terrain. At the top of Brush Heap Mtn. there is an amazing scenic view with an available campsite if you are up for the climb. We stayed here for one night before making it to the falls the next day for a wet camp set up in the rain. Overall the trail took us three days averaging about 9 miles a day. Take your time and enjoy this beautiful trail and you'll be sure to have a blast!

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