Black Fork Mountain Trail

HARD 14 reviews

Black Fork Mountain Trail is a 11.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mena, Arkansas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,263 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

Black Fork Mountain Trail is a fairly difficult trail located across U.S. 270 from Rich Mountain. The trailhead starts at the parking area (lots of parking), then crosses the Ouachita River before crossing over some railroad tracks. The trail picks up just west of where you cross the tracks and can sometimes be a little hard to find. The first part of the trail is the Ouachita Trail but after a mile or so it breaks away to the west and goes off on its own. The Black Fork Mountain Trail is marked in white blazes and the Ouachita is marked in blue. The trail is very steep and can be a little difficult but the views are worth it. There are multiple vistas along the way, a great primitive campsite and a strangely placed bullfrog pond about halfway up. About three quarters of the way up is one of the largest rock glaciers you'll see in this part of the country and then, about a mile past that you'll find the remains of an old homestead including a rock fence and a chimney. An additional note, back in the 1970's an airplane crashed into the mountain and you can still find the wreckage if you know where to look.

backpacking
1 month ago

At the beginning of the trail, it's pretty straight forward and easy to follow, but once you make the turn off to go on to the actual Black Fork trail, there are no more blazes to mark the trail. Not far past this turn, you come up to a shelter, but it's not technically on the trail. Just before you make it to the shelter, someone has marked the path with red ribbon on a few trees. This was the only way we were able to find the path from here. The path is easy to follow from there until you get to the end of the "U" (its the "V" on AllTrails). We completely lost the trail there even after heavily relying on the Ouachita National Forest Map I got on Avenza Maps.

The trail is heavily overgrown in parts with thorny vines that were not fun to get through. I don't know if we were more focused on trying to stick to the trail, but we also never found the vistas that were the main reason we planned to do this hike. Maybe we just missed something, I don't know...

I do not recommend this trail at all because of the vines and the trail being so hard to follow. Definitely more of a frustrating hike than we were wanting.

hiking
3 months ago

Fun hike. Recommend having the Ouachita Trail map from Backcountry Maps. It shows the lookout locations and more detail on the trail.

The scenic view is about 2.5 miles in from the trailhead. There are very few blazes, but this part of the trail is pretty easy to follow. There is a vertical post (sign missing) just before the overlook. You will see some tumbled rocks on the left that lead to boulders you can climb on. Worth the view even if this is as far as you get.

The remaining trail can be hard to see in some places. Periodic rock tumbles require you pick your way and find the trail on the other side. Helpful hikers have stacked rock piles to ease the way, but it’s still easy to miss the trail in places.

After the big U in the trail (looks like a V in AllTrails), you descend to a lower trail on the ridge. This also continues to the east (not shown on the map) so mark where you join the trail after the U. This will keep you from continuing on the lower trail upon your return.

backpacking
6 months ago

I did this trail on 1/26-1/27 and at the first switchback on the map the trail disappears. I don’t know if it’s the season and the leaves, limbs, etc had covered the trail but I stayed on the map trail 5 miles in and never saw a sign of a path. Finally set up camp at the nearest stream because water is scarce. Very rocky and slick (rained during the evening and throughout the night) with briars all over the mountain. Anyway, I don’t recommend this trail during the winter months due to path visibility.

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

We didn't do the entire trail, but the part that we did was great! After passing the shelter and going to the first peak we veered off to some big rocks that provided an awesome view. After starting to go downhill from there the trail was very overgrown but we stuck with it until we got to the bullfrog pond - there was a braid of human hair nailed to a tree and that did it for us, we turned around at that point and went back, but I'd love to do it again and go the entire way, with a machete and maybe some bear spray.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

great trail only 2 sources of water from very small ponds.you will need good water treatment system if staying over night. found some water coming out of ground, ice cold and clear, about 2 miles in from first pond in a gully. ?spring?

hiking
Tuesday, May 03, 2016

This is one of my favorite trails in Arkansas. The trail is marked very well for the majority of the hike but, once you get into the rocky areas, it gets a little harder to find your way. There is a great little campsite around 3 miles but not much water at all. The best part of this area is all of the different types of terrain you will encounter. Much of the trail is steep and rocky but you come to some really cool, flat, grassy areas when you would least expect them. Add in the old homestead about 3/4 of a mile away from the summit and there's a little something for everyone. Be warned though, there is a pretty good population of bears up there so don't be surprised if you're not by yourself!

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

10 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Monday, May 08, 2017

backpacking
Saturday, January 28, 2017