FYI. Make sure you bring 3 dollars to pay to hike this trail. The park attendant says it’s a 60 dollar fine if you don’t pay. As far as the trail is concerned. It wasn’t worth the 3 dollars or the drive to it. I did not like this trail at all. It was confusing because it’s actually Trail was not labeled. It is actually part of the west aide of the shores loop trail. The trail is VERY rocky. It was not cleared out well at all and parts were extremely narrow. We finally turned around and came back out because it didn’t feel safe. I have hiked hundreds of miles of trails this year and have loved it but this one is by far the worst experience. I do not plan to be back.

backpacking
12 days ago

This is one of my favorite conditioning hikes to do in the early Fall. I completed it for the 5th time this past weekend. I hike the West side loop and come down the East side. I usually hike past the East side spur trail down the OHT a little further and camp next to Salt Fork Creek making this a wonderful overnighter. The first day you will hike along White Rock Creek which has a beautiful water fall and the 2nd day you will be hiking along Salt Fork Creek although you won't see it much. Be prepared for a lot of ascending on the first day. It's a real good workout! Thanks to the OHTA, too, this past weekend. They had done lots of underbrush weed-whacking so the trail was clear.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this hike in early September. Started around 15:30, hiked in clockwise 3 miles before setting up camp. Most of the water is on this side of the trail, plan accordingly--top off before you begin the ascent. We set out at 7:00 the following morning and made it to the top at 9:00. There is a rim trail at the top that is not included in the 12.7 total, we spend about 90 minutes at the top. If you bring cash there is a general store. The hike down is fairly uneventful, just be mindful of where the OHT branches off--follow the blue blazes. For us most of the water was dried up on this side. Finished up at 14:00. If you have done your math correctly you can see that this hike can very well be done in one day; just start in the morning. The entire hike is very scenic and the view from the top of White Rock mountain is one of the best there is in the Ozarks. I definitely recommend. On a side note, there were a ridiculous amount of stick bugs and horse flies on this hike. Also, things we're INCREDIBLY overgrown this time of year--lots of bushwhacking.

backpacking
1 month ago

Good views at the waterfall and summit, and plenty of good campsites along the way. Trail is quite overgrown in places, and water crossings on the West loop are often marked poorly or not at all

My 4 year old and I completed this trail June 18-20th 2018, we were very slow paced. it was absolutely beautiful and we made camp near the waterfall. The spots to set up for a tent are small but worked. Ticks and spiders were bad, but that's to be expected. We are deer, a bob cat, lots of butterflies and fish in the creek. Many water sources along the way with creek crossings. I would count this as more of a point to point trail that can also be made into a loop with the East side. We started and finished and what All Trails considers the middle with their out and back. Be prepared for rough driving and no cell service. There was steep drop offs and lots of rocks along the path but as said my 4 year old daughter and I managed. I'd love to go back to the area on the fall when ticks aren't has bad.

backpacking
3 months ago

Spent the weekend here at the beginning of June. The trail is clearly marked, but very overgrown and sometimes hard to see past the overgrowth. There's a beautiful campsite near a creek and one right past a dirt road. Plenty of camping spots near the waterfalls. It was strenuous. The climbs can be rough. A lot of loose rocks and larger rocks and roots. Wear very comfortable shoes that are water resistant. You have to cross some creeks.

Was not too thrilled about the off-road adventure I had to take to the trailhead. (I have a ‘97 accord.) Was not too excited about the hike it taking 2.5 hours more than my expectation of 5 hrs. Things started to turn around when I went to the White Rock “general store” and met Whitney and Michael. (My usual h2o complement of 2L was not nearly enough for that hike.) As I rehydrated, Whitney told me a little about White Rock (e.g., it is the most remote park station (outpost?) in AR). Then she gave me directions to a shorter off-road route (only off-road access to White Rock, slow going 10-15 mph for a lower riding car, like my accord) via Shores Lake. Lo and behold — just after the off-road turned into road and just before the intersection with Route 215 — there was a jumping bridge over Shores Lake. It was about 3.5m high. What a great finish after a hard but nice hike. (If you are not enthused about bridge, it is still good for a soothing dip.) When I take my son there later this Summer, we will park at Shores Lake, hike up and down, jump off the bridge a few times, then drive up to White Rock to do the short but supposedly enjoyable Rim Trail, and visit with Whitney and Michael.

hiking
4 months ago

A good challenge and a nice payoff at the summit.

Awesome place!

This trail is epic. It is not a moderate trail!!! This was intense at times with so much elevation and immediate decline. The up and down is constant the entire trail. So that will take a toll on your endurance quick. However, if you can bare through it then you'll have some amazing experiences here. The aroma of fresh pines and cedar will keep your mind refreshed. The peaks and cliffs will keep your eyes wide open and satisfied with majestic views. The rocks, logs, boulders, and Creek crossing will keep your body challenged physically. We completed over 12 miles from 7am to 4pm. I took my time to take pictures but I am a fairly quick walker. Go look at my instagram and you see some amazing photos I captured with my dog. @danyandhisdogchica

I recommend this trail for the more experienced hikers. Make an entire day for it. Start early and finish with plenty of daylight.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked section 1 from Lake Ft. Smith to Dockery's Gap and loved it. We did the 9 or so mile stretch in a little over 4 hours but didn't stop much. It was fairly cold so we didn't go through too much water, i carried about half a gallon and had some left over but there was plenty of running water to treat and drink if needed. Frog Bayou was about knee high and freezing but luckily i had a towel so i crossed bare foot and dried off before putting my socks and boots back on. Lots of up and downs but nothing too arduous until the last mile or so when there is a good climb back up to Old Locke Road (FR 1007). Overall it was a great hike with lots to see and I can't wait to get back out there and hike the rest of the OHT.

Did this a few years ago while working EMS. Unfortunately, we had to rescue a hiker from the waterfall. All I remember was it middle summer, hot and at night and about 12 guys carrying a patient. I do look forward to doing it again, but in the daytime and with just my pack.

Thru hiked 125 miles of this trail. From fort smith to Fairview mountain what a journey. So beautiful although very secluded which is what makes it so great but also sucks when you forget important things or need to shower but we made it work! Never saw another hiker on the trail but the campsites were an awesome tool. Definitely recommend a map that has the campsites on it. We went at the end of September and first week of October, weather was perfect with only one day of rain!

hiking
7 months ago

Spent the night after doing first 7 miles of section 1 from Lake Fort Smith State Park at end of January 2018. The trail was in good shape and the short part I did was not too hard. Got up early and drove from OKC (easily doable as weekend trip) and finished the 7 miles at about 3 PM. They had a little rain the night before, about half and inch I believe, and all of the springs were running. I have a feeling it doesn't take much so expect it to be wet with any rain. The frog bayou crossing is something to consider, but a guy a talked to said that it's the highest he had ever seen and it was maybe knee high, so it should rarely be a problem. Anyone considering this part I would recommend do not start at the state park if you want to have that remote ozarks feel. Otherwise, great trip, I would highly recommend it!

8 months ago

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.

hiking
9 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!

We did this hike Dec. 28th and it was chilly - but totally worth it! the trail is narrow the whole way and steep and rocky at some points. the trail was really well maintained and marked. all the downed trees and the pricier bushes were cut so we could pass through without any problems. the river along the way and the falls at the end were really amazing. We're not sure how long the whole hike was, but moving nonstop at a pretty fast pace we hiked back in about 80 minutes (we were trying to beat the sunset). if you're doing this hike in the winter leave plenty of time for exploration before dark, it may take you longer than anticipated!

hiking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

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.

backpacking
11 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
11 months ago

It keeps steep in parts but it was still a lot of fun

Love this trail! Beautiful vistas and waterfalls (in season). Challenging climbs at times. Also, creeks can be dry when rainfall is low. Always be prepared. Glad it is close to OK.

Great hike

backpacking
Sunday, September 17, 2017

I need to look up what the criteria are for "easy", "moderate", and "hard" ratings.
Did this yesterday with my dog. This Trail was pretty hard for me, especially of the way back up the hill to white rock where the car was parked. I normally pack pretty heavy because I am trying to build strength and endurance. My pack weight was about 40 pounds. I had long pants because the bugs love me and that didn't help given the heat.
In the pack was about 12 liters of water and I am lucky I had it because I needed it. Even the dog drank two liters and she drank a lot from the creeks.

Pigeon Roost is also a moderate and I have done it many times with a similar weight pack. I find pigeon's roost to be much easier. The elevation change has a lot to do with the difficulty.
The horseflies were bad. I ended up putting in headphones on muffle the buzzing.

It takes quite a while to get there over a lot of dirt roads. I think I will try the other trails around war eagle before I venture out this far again. The views were nice. Better than Pigeons Roost but I didn't feel like it was worth the drive.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Great trail! It's 12miles all around if you want to see the lake. Definitely will take the other Miranda's advice and do the Rim Trail then down this trail to just past the falls and back.

backpacking
Friday, August 25, 2017

Like many others have said before, the west side of this loop trail is definitely more enjoyable than the east side of the trail. The Shores Lake Trail is indeed a loop, with the upper portion sharing its path with the Ozark Highlands trail. I have frequently used the west side of Shores Lake Trail to get onto the Ozark Highlands where you can then spend as many miles as you want exploring. This helps to make a flexible 3 to 4 day hike be whatever you want. Plentiful water on the west side of Shores Lake turns into water once a day on Ozark Highlands so plan accordingly.

hiking
Monday, August 21, 2017

Hike feels really long, when I tracked our distance straight back it was actually about 3.5 miles so the hike feels longer than it says because it's closer to 7 miles.

Negatives: the trail wasn't really well kept in some places, to the point we were not a 100% sure we were still on the trail. We actually said we should have brought a machete to clear some of the path.

Positives: there are some fairly challenging inclines and declines, cliffs, a few water features, and probably some wildlife (we were kinda noisy so didn't see anything but spiders). We didn't leave with any ticks and or other bugs. The worst we got was some whips and slashed from the over grown areas which did include thorns but fortunately nothing poisonous.

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Did this as a day hike in Late July. Makes for a long day hike but it's doable and it might be more fun on a day where the air isn't completely saturated. This trail definitely needs some TLC as we had to do some bushwhacking and climb through/over many blow downs.

backpacking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Did an overnight on this loop with my dad. We decided to go up the right side, which was partially a mistake and partially a good thing. Note that the right side (when the trails forks right past the parking lot) is a good bit longer and more difficult terrain than the other side. We underestimated hiking time and ended up not reaching the primitive camp at the top of the mountain until 10 that night. Partially our fault for not planning and starting a bit late. There is a lot of poison ivy and ticks on the trail as well. A LOT. Not many good places to camp unless it looks previously used. So you either camp at the top or a few places around the bottom before it starts to go up. Overall, not an awful trail, just not the most scenic. Very muggy down near the river. Also take a large stick to whack spiderwebs out of your way. I felt like I had a sweater of spider string by the time we finished:P There are some pretty waterfalls and streams, and a few river crossings (you won't get too wet). I'd advise you be in decent shape for this one.

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

littered the west trail with poison ivy/oak. Be careful. Water was pretty though.

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