Black Fork Mountain Trail is a 11.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mena, Arkansas that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length11.3 miElevation gain2,263 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsDog friendlyForestViewsWildlifeBugsOver grownRocky
Description
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Getting There

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.

Mena Ranger District 1603 Hwy. 71 North Mena, AR. 71953 479-394-2382

This trail is located just west of Eagleton on Hwy. 270.

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Reviews (57)
Photos (135)
Activities (51)
Completed (79)
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Daniel Bartlett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2021
Hiking

Good stroll.

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Ashley Hendrickson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 19, 2021
HikingBugsMuddyOver grownRocky

Gorgeous day. Trail was enjoyable until we passed the rocky section and started the last mile and a half or so to the top. As other have said the brambles were terrible. We did wear long sleeves and long pants so just a few scratches through the clothes but our clothes are pretty torn up. Didn’t try to find the plane crash site as my wife was running out of steam. Would return to look for the crash site but wouldn’t go much farther than that. Disappointed as I was really looking forward to the hike.

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Brice Gibbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 15, 2021
HikingGreat!MuddyOver grownRockySnow

This is one of my favorite trails. I've never felt such delightful isolation on a trail before. It's marked in ribbon of all different colors. It's a very physically demanding hike!. Wear long pants, and a long sleeve shirt to protect yourself against the thorn bushes. This will be listed in " My Favorites ". Please check my recording to locate all of the cool destination points.

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Paul Sweet
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 11, 2021
HikingIcyMuddyOver grownRockyScrambleSnow

The trail wasn’t as difficult to follow as previous reviews had led me to believe it might be. I do recommend doing this in the winter when the leaves are off the trees for the best views. Also, have your AllTrails map downloaded and loaded. There’s little cell service on the trail, even at the summit. Reliable water can be found about 2.7 miles in at the bullfrog pond. There are lots of briar patches that become more numerous the further you get in. Dress accordingly. The rock glacier is pretty spectacular. The scramble to the summit is tough, especially in the snow. Try to allow time to get off the summit before it gets dark. I got out a little later than I wanted to and it was a little dicey. Current conditions: periodically wet and muddy at the lower elevations, snowy (up to 6”) in the higher elevations. Look for cairns and pink, white, or light green tape tied to branches. They were numerous enough in January, 2021 to lead me to the top.

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Joe Rosario
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!Over grownScramble

Wife and I really enjoyed hiking this trail but it's easy to get off course unless you're really paying attention. The difficulty rating is accurate based on the length and the steep terrain but it's all trail with no rock climbing. Pants are a must and sleeves are recommended (both rip-stop to minimize damage) to avoid getting scraped up by the briars. Once you're on the trail, you get to the Ouachita Trail split fairly quickly and the trail shelter shortly thereafter. That's where we got off course the first time. We were so enamored by the shelter and wanting to get pictures of it that we didn't realize the trail actually splits there. Heading right, towards the shelter, and you're on a jeep road but no longer on the BFMT. Before the shelter the BFMT splits to the left. The AllTrails app helped us find the course and after a bit of off-trail scrambling we were back at it. The next feature is the frog pond. No frogs this time off year. You'll encounter some briars along the way but nothing compared to what you'll have to fight through to get to the top. Near the end of the trail is the rock glacier and then you have to make your way through some thick brush and briars to get to the top. It's easy to lose the trail as the trail marking of the trees has long since faded. Keep an eye out for streamers tied to trees and the occasional cairn to ensure you're still on the trail. We were too tired to try and find the plane wreckage on the return hike - maybe next time.

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S Domingue
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
Hiking

We really enjoyed our hike in the solitude of the trees. The weather was foggy and cloudy so we didn't have much of a view. However, our spirits were high and the temperature was perfect. There only thing which made the hike difficult was the trail was not clearly marked. If we didn't have the AllTrail app and the kind hikers before us who tied the color ribbons, it would have been almost impossible in many sections to find the trail. A few tips for future hikers: 1. Remember the trail veers left before the shelter around mile 1. 2. Wear long sleeve shirts so that you are not scratched by the briar vines. 3. Watch for the color ribbons tied to the tree trunk/branches for directions, esp in the big descend in the middle part of the hike in.

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Haylee Edwards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 11, 2020
Backpacking

My husband and I are new to backpacking so we didn’t do the entire trail but we did backpack up to the Black Fork Mtn. Shelter and overnighted. It was awesome! If you want to go camping with the wild, I recommend this!! Also, I’d like to show some well deserved gratitude to whomever built the shelter! I think it is so admirable for someone (National Park Service??) to go above and beyond to be so considerate of their hikers! So very thoughtful and well built! My husband and I thank you!!

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Lacey Yoakem
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Hiking
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Matt Godwin
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HikingOver grown

Absolutely do not do this trail unless you have a GPS map of the trail. The last 1.5 miles of the trail is so over grown you cannot follow the trail. If you decide to push through bring long clothes as you will be figting trees and sticker vines. Trail is great up until that point though just wont get the amazing view from the top.

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Daniel Bacic
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HikingBugsOver grown
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Brenda Schultz
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Hiking

Great trial but did not complete we did start at 3:00 so got a little nervous because of the total isolation. The scenery is beautiful made it past the shelter which is nice to know they have something for you in case you get stuck. Loved every minute and wished we had started earlier because the elevation is straight up with lots of boulders and interesting terrain.

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Joe F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 30, 2020
Hiking

This trail does not seem often used. The isolation is very nice, but leads to a brutal bushwack for the last quarter mile. The last mile at least had quite bit of vegetation in the trail, but it is really only the very last portion where the trail disappears. Route finding is a bit difficult in the section, about 2/3rds of the way through, that descends from the ridge.

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Dan User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 22, 2020
Hiking

back again this weekend. went to around 1/4 to 1/2"mile from the end of trail. turned back briars chocked out the dim trail. very foggy and wet for all of morning. couple of nice high views on far end when fog lifted. thr glacier area with all the rocks is crazy. that was worth the effort to see. i did put bright orange ribbon on the trail where a fellow hiker had piled rocks where place crash site is. i didnt look for it today though. very rugged area on black fork mt. happy hiking

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Dan User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 8, 2020
Hiking

started out doing 5 miles of the o.t. then done half this trail. trail not marked well but easy to see. got late in day so didnt make it to the end. black fork shelter is nice. will go back at some point

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Brandon P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 17, 2020
Hiking

Plane crash: I searched and searched and finally found Texas flight 655 from 1973. North side of the mountain below the big curve on the trail map at 2000’. You’ll need to hike down about 500’ from the ridge, VERY steep. Park at trailhead. Once you get to the pond, go .75 miles, you’ll see a double oak tree 10’ to the right of the trail with rocks I put at the base (see picture). Go straight down and you’ll find it. I do not recommend this trail when trees have bloomed. Wear pants, briars are bad. The tree I marked is also .25 mile after a campsite with a rock fire ring. But still 3/4 mile after the first main pond. Also adding a Screenshot of my location at the plane. Latitude 34.7107. Longitude -94.3350. It took me 3 hours from the trailhead to reach the summit, 6 miles one way. Then worked my way on the side of the mnt to find the plane. One more detail of finding the oak tree, it’s .08 mile after you make a sharp left turn by a tree with a low branch.

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