Explore the most popular trails in White Rock Mountain Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
6 days ago

This can be a challenging trail, lot of fun, great views, definitely one of my favorites. There are multiple camp sites on east and west side. I will repeat this trail more then once and camp at different spots. Cant wait to return and go counterclockwise from Shores Lake. Plenty of water sources, can also get water from White Rock rec area. Do the Rim trail if able, great hike.

hiking
10 days ago

started from shores lake and camped at the top with freezing rain that night

I've hiked this trail in sections, have a couple more to go. It's on my bucket list to backpack the whole thing from one end to the other. It has some real challenging areas, Highly recommend this trail, but not in the Arkansas summer heat. That leaves 3 seasons, go for it.

Lovely scenery and creek to see when you stop. The trail was so rocky and had such steep inclines with no railing that you had to watch your feet nearly the entire time to keep from stumbling down the hillside. The $3 fee was a surprise that you need to be prepared for. They also expect you to fill out your fee envelope with your info and don't provide a pen, so you'll need that too. I don't generally carry cash or pens with me when I go hiking, so that was a bit of an annoyance.

hiking
20 days ago

Really enjoyed this trail especially going up the west side which got deleted somehow on my recording. Lots of waterfalls and several water crossings that we were able to cross using the rocks to jump across. Camped at the top where you can take a short hike to the top of White Rock mountain for some awesome views. Pretty hard hike for someone who just turned 60 and not in great shape yet. Quite a few stops but worth it. Going down wasn’t bad and trail was a little muddy, rocky and narrow in areas but not to bad. Weather was great around 50 daytime and upper 20’s at night. Will do it again when I get in better shape.

backpacking
1 month ago

Coming from two 23 year old, able bodied but slightly out of shape dudes, each carrying 40lb packs, this loop is definitely hard. If you do the full loop I recommend starting at the lake and going up the west side. It’s much prettier in terms of water features and is shorter in distance, still very steep. The east side (going down after camping on the mountain) is still very pretty but you barely see the river that is on that side. Lots of up and down expanses high up on the east side. It took us almost 5 hours to get up the mountain from the west side (stopping every 20-30 min with one break longer 15 min break for lunch, abt 12-15 stops). It took us only less than 4 hours the next morning to go down the longer east side (about 10 stops). If u want to just go for a day I would take two cars and park one at the lake and then start at the top of the mountain and go down the west side. 8/10 for views and overall experience, 2/10 for easiness. Wouldn’t go back unless for the day hike I mentioned.

hiking
1 month ago

A great trail! If you start on white rock mountain, the hike back to your car Is pretty tough. Overall, the views and scenery were great. We went early January and got great weather. Tons of water flowing throughout the mountain and multiple waterfalls. Highly recommend.

I had done this hike in July and it was not a good experience. Each of us got about 20 ticks, hardly any water sources, and overgrown. Wouldn’t recommend then, but highly recommend late fall and even in the winter if you don’t mind camping in the cold.

Great hike for December 2 weather! Beautiful scenery and camping at the Top of mountain. They have 3 cabins and a lodge. Ice cream at the Top!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail. I liked clockwise the best.

hiking
3 months ago

The trail is OK at the best. We got there on Nov 7 and it was 2-3 weeks too late. Leaves are mostly down and it made very rocky trail even less pleasant. But if leaves would be still there - the view has nothing unique or breathtaking about it. If you are going to walk it make sure to give yourself plenty of time especially now, when at 5 pm it is already very dusky and at 6 pm is very dark! If you'll walk it clockwise, decent is very rough and rocky. Makes very unhappy ankles. Very short distance after beginning of decent trail crosses a road. Walk it down till you get to a point of re-entry to the trail. Your ankles and your back will thank you.
Keep in mind that there is no phone/internet service at the trailhead and on most of the trail. LTE was at the top and in a few places on the east side of the trail.

Very well marked. Hope to do an overnight soon and visit the entire trail.

We loved this hike, it was challenging!

very fun hike. started at white rock abbs went down to shores lake. lots of steep narrow ridges. it's a tough hike but my 6 year old boy made it.

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail. Hiked from White Rick Mountain to Spirits Creek. Camped the night. Hiked back to Salt Fork Creek. Camped the night again. Then, returned to White Rock Mountain the next morning. Both Salt Fork Creek and Spirits Creek were flowing well as were many small streams along the way. Excellent time!

backpacking
3 months ago

A good trail with rewarding views at the top. You must put forth an effort to see the views, but that’s why we hike, right? Once you’re at the top make sure to check out the rim trail with great views all around. Rocks here are covered with beautiful, vibrant moss a lichen. There is also a water spigot at the top with clean water if you want to fill up. Do not camp at the top if you are backpacking.

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
4 months 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
5 months 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
6 months 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
7 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
8 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
11 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
Friday, February 16, 2018

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!

Monday, February 05, 2018

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.

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