Explore the most popular Camping 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.

hiking
rocky
21 hours ago

I gave this trail a 4 star because the first 1.8 miles of it go along the Hwy so not very peaceful but the hike up to the top was great, not hard but a nice exercise. My dog loved it, there were some streams to stop for water so that was nice with my dog. Very rocky decent and I wished I had of worn my hiking boots instead of my running shoes. All in all a beautiful hike.

hiking
6 days ago

A little slippery with many rocks in the path. Pretty well maintained though. Moderate for the App was difficult for us as novice hikers. Took 60 minutes to ascend to the Vista, and 40 minutes to descend. Went left to the Vista from the Iron Springs parking area. 0.8 miles to Vista.

Great hike. I only went out to the rock of a dozen horizons, about 2.5 miles out, but a beautiful hike. The views are amazing, and lots of great places to camp.

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike! Aggressive hills and some low water crossings. Beautiful landscape. Pack light and carry trekking poles.

hiking
10 days ago

The trail is a tough one. Lots of ups and downs and strong legs and will are a must. Water crossings along the way which may or may not need shallow wading depending on rainfall. Lots of good primitive camping along the route. The USFS directions to the south trailhead are out of date. Don’t use Google Maps, either. Turn off of Rt 246 at the signage to Shady Lake/Bard Springs/Caney Creek Recreation area. It’s a brand new road. The road to the TH is about 1.2 miles down this road. The dirt road to the TH was in excellent condition. There are some small spur trails off of this mail trail that will reward you with some nice views. I’ve only travelled this trail in cool weather. I think I would hate it on a hot day. Saw tons of white tail deer and heard lots of gunfire during hunting season. I recommend some blaze orange clothing.

hiking
15 days ago

Started at Little Missouri Falls, Eagle Rock Loop trailhead sign. Only hiked 2 miles to a great campsite sufficient for 5 tents. Stayed 2 nights. Water on two sides of us made for great sleeping and easy water collection. Easy family hike or reluctant backpacker. Next time maybe a little more adventurous with the miles.

hiking
17 days ago

Started 10/27/19 at 4pm Finished 10/29/19 at 3:30pm We hiked the trail clockwise starting at Albert peak... There is only one place for overnight parking at this location. I would recommend starting at the falls as there is plenty of parking! I used the Guthook app as well as the AllTrails gps and found All Trails to be the most accurate... There are a few spots that may be hard to find after water crossings however its nothing serious... I believe this trail to be moderate as described.... The uphills on the west side of the trail are long and very uphill with no to minimal switch backs... Water is abundant, I would have done fine with two 12oz bottles and my filter system. We got little views as it was foggy most of our trip however what we did see was spectacular. I recommend this trail as it is moderate in difficulty and has a multitude of challenges!

backpacking
18 days ago

Great loop - we started at Blaylock Creek (around the 18 mile mark on this map) and went clockwise so we could break up the climbs a little bit. Got rained on the first couple nights we were out, so things were a bit muddy, but thankfully the river crossings weren’t too bad. As some other reviews have stated, there is some significant washout and debris on the southern stretch from flooding last summer, but most of the trail was in excellent condition with clear markings. Definitely would like to do it again, maybe at a slower pace just to enjoy some of the features of the trail a bit more. I downloaded the Guthook map for 5 bucks and definitely felt like it was well worth it.

hiking
20 days ago

This was a super exhausting trail but absolutely gorgeous. The markers can be confusing they are abundant in some areas and non existent in others, but i downloaded the map on the guthook app and it is a LIFE SAVER. You will get service about twice at river crossings so use it wisely. Also there is a section on the trail where you can branch off and take another trail but laid in the dirt is a big “X” and arrows made from rocks. Pay attention not to go down where the x is. it has a gorgeous pool down there but its out of the way and counter productive. Follow the arrows around the curve. Filtering the water wasnt that hard because the water is so clear. We didnt see much wildlife a lot of deer and a few crawfish in the rivers but not much else. Pack as light as you can for this one. Those peaks will get really tiring really fast. Definitely recommended. Also there wasnt a whole lot of trash on the trail but what you do see try and pick up 2-3 pieces and if everyone does it it would make it even better.

hiking
21 days ago

Awesome trail for a father/son weekend. Did this trail last weekend with my 8 yr old son over 3 days (10am Day 1 to 5p Day 3) and took our time. We parked just north of Albert's Pike and made the loop counter clockwise. Like many here, I would likely park at Athens-Big Fork and go clockwise getting the big climbs done Day 1. We will definitely be back!

backpacking
blowdown
rocky
washed out
27 days ago

My wife and I started at the trailhead that splits the mountains and went counter clockwise. The guthook app calls it Dirt Road 83 Parking. Really wish we did all the mountain climbs on the first day as they are very challenging, but the great views make the effort worth it. Most of the trail is clearly marked and easy to follow but the south section is washed out and a little harder to follow. Using the map in the app helped tremendously. My recorded mileage was quite a bit more than the stated mileage of the trail, and not sure why. We veered onto some spur trails for additional views but not as much as my mileage said. Overall, a great trail with spectacular views, lots of water crossings, and plenty of campsites to stay overnight or break for lunch. Hope to take the 3 teenage boys soon.

backpacking
blowdown
rocky
washed out
27 days ago

This trail was absolutely beautiful and I loved getting to see the Ouachita National Forest! Had some really amazing views. My brother in law hiked it clockwise and had a great time. The mountain climb side was HARD. Some of the peaks had spectacular views, well worth the effort. Towards the end of the trail (beginning if you go counter clockwise) there were a lot of downed trees over the path with no clear cut paths around it all. And there was one river crossing where it looked like some of trail had been washed out but if you keep an eye out for trail markers it’s doesn’t take long to navigate through it. All in all, very challenging hike with some great rewards!

backpacking
1 month ago

This was my first real real backpacking trip, will give as much info as possible. All info is related to a counter clockwise hike. Started at the alltrails start/end point. 1. counter clockwise, first 13 or so miles is chill. can be done without a map, but i feel my map came in clutch. Was nice to track my progress. google search will give you all the maps you need. few spots where i was going too fast and lost the trail, simple backtrack and use your eyes. you will see. white markers. Most river crossings can be rock hopped 2. last thirteen miles (west and south sides) both unique in their challenges. West side is your mountain climb side. end if you go counter clock, beginging if you go clock. south side is your, umm is this the trail? side. river crossings throughout. 3. specifically on the south side the trail can be hard to find. just follow your witt, if you go over a quarter mile without seeing a marker, turn back to your last marker and figure from there. Have fun though, its a good loop. be ready

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Very balanced trail of challenge and flat areas. Beautiful views

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked CCW from the ABF/LMF trailhead. Loved this trail but was frustrated with lack of markings at many of the water crossings where we lost a good amount of time looking for the trail (mostly the bottom part of the loop). With that said, the water crossings were beautiful and fun and looking for the trail added an extra challenge. If we had more than just the weekend to complete we would have enjoyed the extra challenge. Had trouble sometimes getting any of our gps apps to find our location. Recommend you Bring map and compass as a backup.

hiking
1 month ago

The trash down by the river is getting a little out of hand. I took a few piece out with me, otherwise a beautiful hike. But please people take your trash with you.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Better pay attention when it says experienced hikers. Holy cow this was tough. We did this hike starting around 5 pm on Sunday and finished up about 4 Tuesday evening. Very though mountain climbs on the last day. (We hiked clockwise). Didn’t have much trouble keeping up with the trail but were some sketchy spots in the mountain climbs with footing. Very beautiful water crossings, swimming holes, and mountain vistas. Definitely worth the trip.

We had a great time on this hike. Me, my husband and our two kids 10 and under did great. We went to the Albert pile recreation area and then went up the gravel road (106) for 2 miles to get to the parking area. It was one lane part of the way, so you might have to back up to move for another car. You will cross the river about five minutes into the hike, so I recommend starting with your water shoes. Beautiful scenery all along. You will cross the river one more time before you reach the turnaround point where there is a beautiful swimming hole and a cool cave to check out. This is where we had lunch and headed back towards the car. The elevation is up and down both ways. There was quite a few hike in camping spots along the way if your an overnight hiker. I would definitely do this hike again.

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful 3 day hike. Some tough mountains and challenging trails that have opportunity in being marked correctly. The south side definitely needs some attention if you hike the trail clockwise.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

As others have said, it is a beautiful and challenging trail. I actually have enjoyed some of the trails around Buffalo Wilderness better, but that's probably because of the season and wetness. this trail would be very tough in a wetter season. however brushy overgrowth difficult in areas. Following trail at some of the crossings and the flood ravaged bottoms would have been very difficult if not for my downloaded alltrails maps. do not bother with side trail up brush heap mt. I ignored the name and gained many cuts and scrapes for a bit of a view, but being stubborn went to the peak where the camp is non-existent and no view through the sticker bush thicket I had bush wacked into. Lastly, I too did this Labor day weekend and was bothered by the number of night hikers wandering into my camps , and even hikers with no maps and no idea what they were doing dozens of miles from any help. Great Jewel for Arkansas to cherish, but for me it was a low 4 of 5

hiking
washed out
2 months ago

Fun, difficult inclines hike. However, the road to the trail head is washed out. I would recommend doing Eagle Rock Loop instead (they merge for most of the length of Athens), as you will have the peaks, but also more water crossings where you can filter and refill.

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