Explore the most popular birding trails in Ouachita National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gorgeous location. Not much of a hike. Just creek walking!

Love this, been coming here since I was a kid doing the east caney Creek to Buckeye Loop, easy trail on the bottom and vigorous hike on the top.

Fun FIRST trail for my friends and I. We've been wanting to get our feet wet and this trail was perfect! It challenged our conditioning a bit and yet we still were able to enjoy the trail and scenic views. I would definitely recommend this trail/National Park to everyone! Can't wait to get back in October!! We saw several water moccasin snakes however as long as you respect them, keep your distance and go about your business all should be good. Happy Trails!

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail! From the Albert Pike Recreation Area, we drove about 6 miles of gravel roads to get to the Little Missouri Falls. We started at the Falls, backpacked for one night and came back out. The trail was fairly easy with some ups and downs. There were a few stream crossings, but the water was not super high in mid May. There was plenty of water for filtering, but not too high to make crossing difficult. This was our first time backpacking with our two large breed dogs, and it was the perfect trail. There were several great campsites along the trail that were easily accessible. Would highly recommend!

I did the Buckeye trailhead to East Caney Creek trailhead and walked back up the road to Buckeye. This was an exhausting 8hr hike, I took many breaks and explored the sites.
This is also one of the best trails I have done, from the views, waterfall, creek crossings, wildlife, and solitude. I will say, all of the down trees on the path made the going tough sometimes, but provided excellent resting spots. I would start this trip well before noon if you want to make it out before dark.

this trail is not for the faint of heart.. but it truly is an amazing trail... like all the other comments...I suggest you take water as there is none from the trailhead to Katy falls... were asking the way you can see several breath taking views... VERY nice trail.. yes there is a couple of spots that have you walking threw under brush... but very worth it... I will be doing this trail again with better prep... underestimated this trail... so you should always read the reviews... LoL.. loved it..

Like a few others i did the Buckeye Trail down to Caney Creek and then east on the Caney Creek trail over one night. This was toward the end of march, high 60;s outside which was perfect. Make sure you have plenty of water because after the Buckeye trailhaid there is no water till you get to caney creek. I parked at the Caney Creek Trailhead and walked the extra mile back up the road to the Buckeye trailhead. once you get to caney creek and you want to camp stay right at the fork and keep the river to your left for about .15 miles or so and you will find a clearing to camp at. There were plenty of other campsites to stay at as well that people made themselves but they werent in a designated camping area. The hike out of Caney Creek was amazing and super relaxing. Most of it following next to the creek and pretty easy going. Lots of water along the way and a easy 4 miles out.

We paired this trail with the caney creek trail for a nice one night backpacking loop. We parked our car at the east caney trailhead and walked about a mile up the gravel road to the buckeye trailhead. Both trailheads are well marked and have plenty of parking. The buckeye is rated as moderate and I believe that is an accurate description. It’s has some decent climbs but nothing too taxing or that lasts for too terribly long. I read where others had some issues following the trail but we didn’t experience any of this. This may be due to the time of year we went which had decreased underbrush. The views along the ridge of the buckeye were vast and the rock formations along this and the caney were impressive. There’s a few good areas to stop and rest or have a snack. Be sure to pack all the water you will need as there is no water for filtering along the ridge. We hiked about 4.5 miles on the trail (not including the 1 mike hike to the trailhead) and arrived at Katy falls. We ended up camping at a spot above the falls and up the stream a bit. It was secluded and peaceful with a nice fire ring and the stream near by for a water source. The falls were a great place for our dog to swim in the pool below and a great place to hang out for lunch. After a good nights rest we joined up with the caney creek trail and headed east. We passed several nice campsites, both near the stream, where the trails merge. The caney creek trail passed through a beautiful forest area and was near the stream for the majority of the hike. There were several campsites along this portion of the trail as well. As with the buckeye, there were a few areas with some elevation gain but nothing too severe. It’s a shady area for the most part unlike the ridge of the buckeye which could also get a bit breezy. After about 4 miles we were at the east caney trail head and at the end of our hike. This was our first time to this area and we can’t wait to go back again.

I agree with the others that this trail description needs to be updated. There are many segments of this larger trail and really need their own pages. We did the Homestead Trail portion, and ended up doing the out and back map shown on this app, mainly because we were unsure how far the connecting loop would be. (Homestead connects to Tompkins and back to Homestead, this app doesn’t show that.)

Nice easy to moderate trail through the pines with great views of the lake! Glad we went, but more info on these segments would make things easier.

Equinox hike along a wonderful creek

In my opinion, this is the best one night loop trail in Arkansas. Big views, great campsites, water features, light traffic. I would warn any prospective hikers that there are no blazes on the trail. If you aren't a competent navigator, you will struggle. Also, getting to Katy Falls is challenging if you don't want to get wet. It's approximately 0.25 miles off trail, up Katy Creek.

Nice hike. Not marked well. Several trees on trail and some that are hanging that needs to be removed. Beautiful views

Nice paved trail with interpretative signs along the way. There are also several benches for resting. There is an old homestead site halfway down, with a cellar, cistern, and stone well. The well is capped with a metal grate, but the cistern and cellar are open (though not terribly deep), with a simple chicken wire fence. Keep a hand on your younger wanderers there. Otherwise, it's a nice refreshing walk, especially if you've been driving the Talimena. If you'd like something a wee bit more challenging, the Settler's Trail branches off of this one.

trail running
5 months ago

Excellent challenge for an out and back trail run. Mostly single track, little switch backs. Not a walk in the park.

Hiked the South Loop on 12/2/2017. Nice views of the lake. However, with leaves off, the trail is harder to follow. As long as you're PAYING ATTENTION, you should be fine. White blazes are infrequent in spots if you aren't paying attention. There were 1-2 spots that were close enough to the water to get down to the shore. All letters on the map were well marked except for B. There were double white blazes at B, but not a sign like at the other spots. Make sure to check the hunting schedule as well and plan accordingly. Map: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_039472.pdf

hiking
6 months ago

Started at the Little Missouri Falls Parking Area and hiked to the Athens Big Fork Parking Area, which is actually the start of the the Little Missouri Trail. And I made it a loop be backtracking back to the Falls Parking lot. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying the trail! Most were actually backpacking along the trail and spending 1+ nights along the trail. I was the only dayhiker I noticed. There are several campsites clearly established along the trail of you want to stay overnight. The river didn’t have a lot of water, but there we still still plenty of small falls and water holes to see. Most of the fall colors have changed to brown, but there was still some spots of a little color. The trail is well marked with white rectangles. Overall, it was a great hike!

When others say the trail is somewhat overgrown I'm assuming they had a better experience than we did. Haha. We went over labor day weekend and the buckeye trail was so overgrown! There were weeds that were taller than me and I'm 5'7. And talk about burning all your energy, wading through a sea of grass and weeds with your 30lb pack. It was quite comical. We even came across someone that was totally off the trail where it turns to the south to go down to caney creek. If we hadn't been there at that time who knows how long the guy would've been lost and the sun was going down fast at that point. Also when coming from buckeye trailhead, about a quarter to half mile the trail comes to somewhat of a fork. One way is straight ahead of you, the other looks like a switch back. Luckily I had read somewhere to not take that "switchback" it's goes to an old mine or something. It took us all of 5 hours to get from buckeye trailhead down to the creek. We camped by the creek and the caney creek trail part was a breeze compared to buckeye. Overall it was an okay trail but in March we did trails in ponca and had to do the same amount of effort for much greater reward.

backpacking
8 months ago

A warning about how to get there at the end of this review.
This was a wonderful trail. We started at the Athens Big Fork and Little Missouri trailhead, which is down a dirt road and not where Alltrails picks it up. It's a nice wooded hike for about 4 miles to the beautiful (if busy) Little Missouri Falls. From there, the trail follows the river off and on for as far as we went. The sections away from the river never lasted too long and were nice on their own, but following the the river was great. There are numerous campsites along the water, most of them very nice looking, and the trail is nice and level (if a bit rocky at times). When we did this (with pretty low water levels), all the stream crossings were easy, but I can see how it might be difficult if the water level rises.

A word of caution getting there... Google took us down NF-512 through Albert Pyke, and the road was closed due to flooding (looked like it had been closed awhile), so we backtracked to Polk Road 602... That definitely ended before Google said it did. So just take Albert Pyke to Mill Creek Road and ignore Google.

hiking
9 months ago

I gave this trail a 4 star rating. The trail itself is not very well marked and also not very well maintained but it's still a beautiful hike. I would also say it's a fairly easy hike with the exception of a few stretches that will get your heart-rate going.

Hiked this trail Labor Day weekend with my dog. It was a decent trail with nice views. It might be a better trail in the fall/winter when the brush has all died down. There was a ton of bushwhacking to be be done and the trail was extremely tough to follow at certain times. Fortunately my dog kept me on the trail for the most part.

This trail had some spectacular views but was very rugged. The first few miles of the trail was overgrown with the bushes over my head and it was easy to lose the trail and follow a game trail instead. Be aware of what direction you should be heading though and you should be fine, using the map on AllTrails really helped. I will definitely do this one again in a few months!

Overgrown hard to stay on trail.

This is my favorite trail to hike! It's surrounded by beautiful scenery and is an achievable trail!

hiking
10 months ago

All Trails needs to revise this trail: The trail shown here on All Trails is only a segment of Lake Oachita Vista Trail, which is actually a much longer trail covering many miles. There are many trail heads with maps displayed at each. The segment highlighted here on All Trails starts at the Homestead trailhead. We started at Homestead trailhead, followed the map displayed there, rather than the All Trails map, and found that it looped to Tompkins trailhead and continued to loop back to Homestead, totaling about 3 and 1/2 miles. Pretty, quiet, very green, lake views, several benches. We would rate this trail level of difficulty as "moderate".

hiking
11 months ago

A nice trail, lots of benches to take breaks at if needed. The lake hitting the shore sounded great, I wanted to dive in so bad.

Quiet and smooth. This trail is rated as "hard" but it is not. 3 park benches set up for resting. No hard grades. Would be good for trail running or mountain biking.

backpacking
11 months ago

Definitely a 20mile trail, if you go out and back and do the full trail. Make sure and check out the ranger website to get the map and find the trail heads, of which there are 3. Had a blast though. Absolutely gorgeous and a whole lot harder than we thought it would be. Plenty of water to be found on the three streams and plenty of great camp sites. Only a few ticks, but at night there were plenty of swarming and but not biting bugs. All in all, highly recommend it. Very lightly trafficked.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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

backpacking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

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.

Bad maintained

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