Athens - Big Fork Trail is a 9.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mena, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Southern trailhead: Take Highway 246 west from Athens to Forest Road 38. Turn right on Forest Road 38 for 9/10 mile. Turn right on Weyerhaeuser Road 53800 for 7/10 mile, then left on Forest Road B23F and follow it 9/10 mile to the trailhead sign. Northern trailhead: Take Highway 8 from Big Fork to Forest Road 38 and turn south. Travel for 1.5 miles to Forest Road B15. The trailhead is at the end of the road.
We did a quick trip up to see some of the views and it was very nice and worth it. We parked at the Athens big fork intersection with the Little Missouri trail. We hiked up to a scenic overlook and then back down. It was steep at times but only took about two hours total. The view was great, even on a cloudy day in march. I hope to come back one day with a smaller group and backpack the whole loop.
this trail is great for someone looking to start doing hard trails, it is well marked and the outlooks are amazing for Southern arkansas.
Would rate this trail "difficult" because of the multiple steep mountain climbs. Inclines, inclines, inclines! Wouldn't make this the last trail if doing the whole ERL. The very top of Brush Heap Mountain had the best view at about 2000 ft. Recommend that overlook.
Great trail, lots of ascents and descents. ABF is broken into several sections (lower,middle,upper), we did mostly lower and some middle. At one "peak" there is a sign that says "cell service" and points up, off the trail, take this trail, it provides spectacular views of the forest and is one of the few spots where you are able to get above the tree line. Challenging trail, but worth it, especially in the fall as colors are vivid.
Steep climbs, nice decents.
Extremely difficult trail. Part of an out and back marathon the first week of January.
My husband and I hiked this trail August 2014. It wasn't marked very well towards the end of the trail, but being August everything was grown up. We encountered a large black bear at the top of the mountain. It was an experience for us considering we had NEVER hiked before!!!
The Athens-Big Fork trail is a very demanding trail that takes you up and over and back down several mountains in 10 miles. the mountain top views and general scenery is well worth the trip. I did it in 5.5 hours, you should alllow at least 8 hours. I pushed hard to do it in the time that I did. It is a point to point trail. However you can combine this trail with a couple of others and make a 25 mile loop trail called Eagle Rock loop.