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.

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.

3 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!

4 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!

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.

5 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!

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.

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.

7 months ago

I went August and half the trail was covered in spiders and horse flies made it worse. The trail was pretty though.

7 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

9 months ago

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.

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.

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.

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.

10 months ago

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.

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.

Monday, June 05, 2017

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just Hiked this Trail this past week was a great hike. Just to fill in some questions I had before going on this hike that I hope will help out others. If your looking at going on this hike soon then this will help you out. With all the rain this area has gotten the streams and creeks are still passable. I crossed every stream and never got wet. To fill you in, the pictures show a descent sized river and people crossing it. I was worried about having to cross a river that size but know that you never half to cross that river. The trail runs parallel to that river. And I'm talking about the river on the west loop. The east loop has a river next to it but you never get close to it. The West loop is much more scenic then the east. When you reach the waterfall on the west loop you can cross the river there and there is campsites on the other side of it. When you pass the water fall you will come across a Y intersection. If you go left which will lead you to follow the river and you will pass a small hollow to the right of the trail with a small waterfall that probs only runs in the spring and if you go past that you will come to the end of the trail and you will see some really cool bluffs next to the river that has been carved out. also there is one campsite on the left side of the Y intersection just FYI. And yes if you go left you will half to walk back to the Y and go right. When you go right at the Y you start your climb up the mountain. I wanna say your about 3 miles in when you start hiking up it. There are not a lot of campsites going up so if its late you might want to camp down by the river. The climb up is hard, we had a lot of gear on our backs. When climbing up the mountain, and when i say climbing your not actually climbing your just hiking up hill, it will start to become falter and you will pass I believe 2 or 3 campsites before reaching the top. So there is like one campsite per mile you could say. Which isn't a lot so be careful when it starts getting late. Also you will come upon a intersection of another trail on the left side that is perpendicular to the one you are on near the top, stay on the trail your on do not go left just assure you guys. So when you get to the top there will be a campsite and a trail leading to the right and a trail that continues to the top. This is where I camped and if you continue to the top that is where you can see all the views of the mountain, its about .3 miles to the tip top. But that is not were you need to go to finish, you need to go right and this is starting your hike down the mountain, this trail is considered the east loop. The east loop like is said is not scenic at all. When hiking down about 2 miles in you will come upon another intersection. You need to go right, the trail that goes left is the Ozark highlands trail. Also you will cross a road on both the east and west trail but the east side when you cross the road we had a hard time finding where the trail continues. If you are walking down the east trail then you need to walk up the road you cross its only like 15 yards away, if you are walking up the east trail then hike down the road. There was not as many camping spots on the east loop and the east loop is a little bit longer than the west loop i believe. When I say this hike was fun, don't get me wrong this hike was hard because of how long it is and having to hike up the mountain. But it was a lot of fun and i would recommend this to backpackers out there. The view at the top was amazing. We were short on time so we didn't hike the full .3 to the top, instead we hiked down and drove to the top which was a 7 mile drive from shores lake to the top on gravel road. Also just a heads up the trail is slightly overgrown right now simply because its spring and there is a lot of things growing on the grown right now and there was a lot of ticks. Sorry this review is sloppy just typing it as quick as possible and I hope this answers and fills you in about this trail!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quick Update:
This is the third time I've visited the Falls, and I've never seen them like this. The recent torrential rains have made for some excellent waterfalls. They've also resulted in some wet crossings where this is usually not an issue. We continued past the Falls a little bit, and had to get our feet wet a couple of times to do so.

Tick season is upon us, and they are REALLY bad right now. In spite of his (generally very effective) tick collar, I picked no less than 20 ticks off of my poor dog during/after this hike. We walked back on the road once we hit it to avoid picking up any more of the little critters. This trail seems especially bad tick-wise, as it includes lots of leafy/brushy bits. It's a wonderful hike, but be aware!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Did section 2, in April. The weather was great. Section 2 is roughly 19 miles. Very rugged. You will definitely want to have sturdy boots, strong soles. Camped on the river at a primitive camp at mile 6. Roughly 6 miles further is another chance to stop by a river and eat lunch and recharge. Stock up on water there for the push on to the end of section 2. the final 6 have a lot of up, and no water.

Great hike, great backpacking. Tough sledding but worth the effort.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Never ending climbs, it's awesome!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The West Side Loop is beautiful! The view from the White Rock Mountain Recreation Area (where you'll start) is breathtaking, and the hike is consistently lovely. We hiked just to White Rock Creek Falls and back, having hiked to the Falls from Shores Lake in the Fall, and I do like this route better but just by a little bit.

Do note that this route takes you down, down, down the mountain, and then back up, up, up - an elevation change of 1800+ ft in about 3 miles. If that is your idea of "moderate," the dog and I salute you! We were wiped out. He is snoring loudly on the couch as I type this.

We also hiked the easy 2-mile Rim Trail since we were there. Don't skip it, no matter how tired you are!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A really nice hike especially after some substantial rainfall. It's worth noting that the mileage listed represents the hike in and back. Don't give up on it, it's a long 2.8 miles in and I met a couple of ppl on the way out that needed some reassurance that they still had some track left to get there. Also the trail will lead directly to the falls. Moderate is a good rating for this trail unless you haven't hiked much and are somewhat out of shape. If this is you, then it will be moderately hard hike.

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