Eagle Rock Loop

HARD 200 reviews
#1 of 22 trails in

Eagle Rock Loop is a 28.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Caddo Gap, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
28.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4553 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

Directions from Glenwood area: There are 5 trailheads. (1.) Albert Pike Recreation Area off Highway 369. ( 2.) Little Missouri Falls on Forest Road 25. (3.) 4 miles west of Little Missouri Falls on Forest Road 25. (4. &5.) east of Bard Springs Recreation Area on Forest Road 106.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike with challenges and rewards galore. Beautiful and secluded swimming holes and lots of wildlife along the way. Many people have left trash at campsites, which was depressing. Why if you love nature enough to hike out to a pristine forest, would you then ruin it with your garbage? Otherwise, a stellar experience.

backpacking
3 days ago

Very challenging 26 mile loop trail with several steep peaks on the southern half. Trail can be cut in half thanks to a gravel maintenance road. Several water crossings mostly less than knee deep but also lots of water to (filter) drink. Campsites are plentiful and usually in good shape near water sources. Pay attention to markers as you cross the Little Missouri or you could find yourself off the trail. Can be hot and humid in the summer. Fall is beautiful with the leaves changing across the valleys at several overlooks.

hiking
7 days ago

7 days ago

backpacking
14 days ago

difficult, sometimes strenuous...
very rewarding.
we got lost the WHOLE FIRST DAY.
follow your blazes.

hiking
17 days ago

17 days ago

camping
1 month ago

early start and good pace and it is ok but if you have the time and the conditions are right start in the SW corner and attack the hills going clockwise then camp at the top of the last one on the first night and after that spend two more nights enjoying the water and surroundings at a leisurely pace

1 month ago

Just returned with 3 friends, two have never backpacked before. Tough trail, especially Heap Mountain. On the other side of that, going counter clockwise, much easier. Views make it worth the energy.

backpacking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Stephen, I'll be on the trail this weekend as well. The one thing the ranger advised is that there are two crossin of the Little Missouri river along the trail north and south of Albert Pike Trailhead that get dicey after heavy rains. There was 0.8 inches of rainful in the area yesterday and probably will be a little more today, but according to reviews is doesn't take long for the water to flow away.

backpacking
1 month ago

tara how was the weather? I'm trying to go for July 4 weekend.

backpacking
1 month ago

My husband and I just completed this trail. The Athens Big Fork section was much tougher than expected, but we made it!! We completed the trail in 4 days although 3 is doable. The most beautiful part is Winding Stairs so we decided to spend extra time there. We will definitely be back!!!

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked ERL in March and once again a year later in June. It rained for hours and then turned to hail in March and the water level got so high that it made it really hard to cross the river. Make sure you have cold gear, temperatures can drop below the limits of a summer sleeping bag. Everything looked dead and brown and the trail wasn't as pretty. Tried to park at Albert Pike but saw no cars or people and a sign that said No Overnight Parking, and these metal gates were closed off (but in June it was open, and we saw plenty of people). The water level was really high at some places so I didn't want to risk my car and had to take big detours to try and park at LMF. Coming from out of state, the Garmin eTrex was indispensable since there is zero cell signal.

Hiked it a year later in June for 3 days 2 nights. Trees were green, weather was humid, it even rained but wasn't frigid like March. Parked at Little Missouri/Athens-Big Fork Junction Trailhead and hiked CCW to get the hard part out of the way. Hiking the hard part first also allowed us to view Spirit Rock Vista, Bush Heap Mountain, and finally camp at Eagle Rock Vista. Those 3 POIs are not to be missed! You are at the top of the mountain and get a great green view of the forest!

Tough trail with 7 major ridges to climb. Plus the 3 points of interest on the ABF trail is breath taking. Ants and poison ivy are abundant in June. There is a ton of water access. This trail is extremely rocky. I'm glad I had trail runners vs wearing regular shoes. Had huge blisters on both feet that had to be cut and drained because I didn't use Petroleum Jelly (or something similar) to prevent it. Plenty of dirt to pitch an ultralight tent throughout the whole trail (so free standing tents not necessary). By the end, my legs were still sore 2 days afterwards despite total load out with clothes weighing less than 24 lbs.

backpacking
1 month ago

Completed ERL with my brother last Saturday. We started on Thursday around 11am and finished the loop on Saturday at 12:30pm in the afternoon. This loop is challenging but can be completed in three days with plenty of leisure time if you get after it in the beginning. We parked at the Blaylock creek parking lot (west part of the loop on Athens big fork trail) and hiked 11 miles the first day (took on 4 of the 6 mtns) all the way to a beautiful campsite a mile or so past the little Missouri falls rec area (got there at 5:30pm). I personally recommend going clockwise where we started so you can take on 4 mountains first and then enjoy the beautiful river near Albert pike rec area where you want to lounge at and soak up the beautiful scenes/swimming holes/massive river openings. (You are wiped going counter clockwise and taking on 6 mountains one day). On Friday It was a beautiful/easy morning hike on the north east part of the loop. We covered ground faster then we thought (1 mile every 30 minutes) and had lunch at the Albert pike rec area. At 1pm we set up camp at an awesome campsite 1 mile or so after the blaylock creek on the SE part of the loop and enjoyed a relaxing day off the river. On Saturday we were able to fly through Viles branch trail and took on the two mountains left on Athens big fork. Overall, the loop is well worth checking out! Before you go, make sure you have trekking poles, a hammock to sleep in, sandals for water crossings (tons of crossings on this loop) and lifestraw. Pack lite and don't leave trash at the campsite when you head out. That was disappointing/frustrating to see. Enjoy the largest loop in Arkansas!

Absolutely stunning views that you must earn. I recommend starting at the Athens Big Fork trailhead and getting the mountains out of the way on the first day, hiking counter clockwise. Plenty of campsites along the trail and plenty of water. Definitely take the spur trail on brush heap mountain to the summit, it is totally worth it. Watch out for snakes.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike and I plan to do it again. I will leave myself more time for fly fishing etc. next time. I would think 3 full days would leave some leisure time. I went by myself, but it is remote enough, that if you do injure yourself at the wrong time and place, it could be 12 hours before you see anyone, so I probably won't do that again without some way of communicating an emergency. All said, it is challenging, but rewarding and a relatively short drive from Dallas.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

One other note do your research on food to bring for hiking if your new to hiking. As a former Marine I've hiked large bulky loads for many years and it hurts I hiked 65 pounds this weekend which for me is ok but unnecessary (I was hiking for 2- food,sleeping system,etc.) i would suggest to do the loop try to be under 30 pounds at most. There are many videos on you tube about backpacking foods and a great place to start. Many great ideas on making your hike more enjoyable.