Best trails in Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas

2,214 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas? AllTrails has 33 great hiking trails, mountain biking trails, trail running trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 19 moderate trails in Ouachita National Forest ranging from 4.4 to 35.8 miles and from 419 to 2,447 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas
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Top trails (33)
#1 - Eagle Rock Loop
Ouachita National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(869)
Length: 28.2 mi • Est. Multi-day
This challenging loop is a combination of the Little Missouri Trail, Athens-Big Fork Trail and part of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. This route is very popular, so expect to see quite a few people, especially on summer weekends. Note that there are many creek crossings along this route. Wear appropriate footwear.Show more
#2 - Winding Stairs Trail
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(258)
Length: 4.5 mi • Est. 1 h 48 m
The Winding Stairs Trail is a 2 mile segment of the much longer Little Missouri Trail. This route starts off Forest Service Road 106, and heads south along the Little Missouri River. The trail offers beautiful views of the cascades, swimming holes, and interesting rock formations. Primitive camping is allowed along the trail. Be careful, you do have to cross the river, make sure is not too high to cross safely. Find the start of the trail by the bulletin board and head downhill to Blaylock Creek. The white paint blazes on trees will be your guide. Turn left at the trail by the creek and go 50 yards until you see some large rocks, which will aid in crossing the creek. The trail continues on the other side when you find a slight incline and some stair steps. Go right at the fork uphill into the woods instead of the trail by the creek. You’ll pass a large downed tree but continue around it and you’ll gradually ascend as the trail winds. You’ll see some small mountains in the distance when the trail levels. It’ll eventually wind its way downhill and after about a mile and a half, there’s a spur to the Little Missouri River. You can take that for a cool view but be sure to return to the main trail you left. You'll wrap around the river bend and after some campsites, the trail gets thinner, elevates, and you can look down on the river. Later it has a tight hairpin, followed by another large downed tree, and eventually descends by the river. You can find a way to cross over where there’s more of a rocky beach visible. The other side of the trail disperses but there are many paths back to the main, distinguishable trail. Once there, you’ll continue about a 1/4 mile to the main attraction: the narrows in the river followed by the incredible rock formations and deep blue water. Once you pass the amazing bluff/rocks there are some huge boulders on the other side. If you go up the side creek behind them, it does have a series of twists and turns, small waterfalls, and interesting rock formations like a winding staircase.Show more
#3 - Little Missouri Trail
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(140)
Length: 11.7 mi • Est. 5 h 19 m
The trail is the northeastern segment of the longer Eagle Rock loop trail. The trail passes through the Little Missouri Falls Recreation Area which displays the scenic Little Missouri Falls. It is actually a series of cascades. There is nothing little about it. Absolutely breathtaking, from here the hiker faces a hill of steps in the trail which lead along large cliffs high above the river. The trail provides a view of the area above the falls on the left and a rock formation on the right. This part of the trail is a historic wagon trail. From here the hike largely follows the Little Missouri River, crossing it several times. It ends at the Albert Pike Recreational area.Show more
#4 - Buckeye Mountain to Caney Creek Trail
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(75)
Length: 11.1 mi • Est. 6 h 3 m
#5 - Hunt's Loop Trail
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(122)
Length: 4.4 mi • Est. 2 h 17 m
#6 - Athens-Big Fork Trail
Ouachita National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(72)
Length: 17.8 mi • Est. 10 h 54 m
#7 - Lake Ouachita Vista Trail: Homestead Trailhead to Shangri La Drive
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(123)
Length: 4.4 mi • Est. 1 h 57 m
#8 - Earthquake Ridge Trail
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(71)
Length: 4.4 mi • Est. 2 h 12 m
Earthquake Ridge Trail Loop provides a steep climb, parallel to the Talimena Scenic Drive. Beginner riders may find themselves pushing their bikes for short sections of the steeper climbs. More experienced riders can test their climbing skills on the ascending tight switchbacks. After crossing the highway at the top, a descent back to the lower highway crossing provides time to catch your breath. You can either cross the highway and return to the VIC or continue on to the Southern Loop. The Southern Loop descends with lots of mild turns over varied terrain. This is the newest addition to the trails and provides excellent views of dogwoods in bloom in the spring. A short steep climb out and you have just a short ride back to the VIC. From the VIC you can then take the Fern Loop. A fast trail through the narrowly placed trees to some very tight descending switchbacks and then down to the creek bed. You can then return back to the VIC by way of the gradual ascent over a rocky section or cross over to the Carriage Loop and the Settler Loop by way of a short gradual climb out of the Fern Canyon. The Carriage Loop and Settler Loop provides fairly flat trail with tight and twisty singletrack. This is the easiest section of trail. Beginners may want to ride this section first. Built in what used to be an orchard, it is now regrown with large pine trees. The fairly flat terrain covered with pine needles provides a pleasant ride, and eventually ties into the Earthquake Ridge Trail Loop.Show more
#9 - Womble Trail
Ouachita National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(25)
Length: 32.4 mi • Est. Multi-day
The Womble Trail stretches from Northfork Lake to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, and is considered one of the best single track trails in this area. Short segments of the trail meander along the bluffs of the Ouachita River providing breathtaking views. Hikers and mountain bikers can combine the Roundtop Trail with the Womble and Ouachita National Recreation Trail (west of Highway 27) to form an 8-mile loop. Note: The adjacent section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is open to mountain bikes from the Talimena Scenic Drive east of Queen Wilhelmena State Park east to the trailhead on Highway 7, north of Jessieville, Arkansas.Show more
#10 - Little Blakely North Loop
Ouachita National Forest
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(51)
Length: 5.2 mi • Est. 2 h 7 m
This is not a very difficult trail. It offers some great views of Lake Ouachita. The trail is fairly well maintained and following the trails are easy enough. It is a popular mountain biking system so hikers beware. The trail itself is a five loop system that offers views of the lake and forest.Show more
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