Eagle Rock Loop

HARD 244 reviews
#1 of 23 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
4005 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.

13 days ago

Saturday October 14, 2017 1:00 pm Gayle and I finally reached the Little Missouri Trailhead, our starting point for our 3 night 4 day hike on the Eagle Rock Loop. There are already several cars parked there. We shoulder our packs and check the temp. It's 90 degrees! We head south on Anthens-Big Fork trail. Our plan is to get over Hurricane Knob and Mtn McKinley before setting up camp. We are making good time but sweating profusely and draining our water bottles to stay hydrated. We had no choice but to stop and filter water replenishing at Long Creek. At this time we decide to go ahead and climb Brier Creek Mtn and Leader Mtn. Around 5 pm we reach Blaylock Creek. Gayle starts filtering water while I go and scout out a camp site. We pitch our tent on a ridge overlooking the creek. It's getting dark now so after supper we climb in our little 2 person tent. We know there is a storm brewing and heading our way. Gayle nods off to sleep after a short time. I'm thinking I should keep one eye open for bears and such. Well I guess I had both open all night. Didn't fall alsleep until early morning while Gayle sawed logs all night.

October 15th We awoke at our usual time around 5 am and no storm yet. It's too dark to be shuffling around so as we lay there trying to go back to sleep! The first wave of the storm hits at 6 am. We think oh no we may be here for a while. Around 7 am with the pounding rain starting to seep in out little tent, low and behold, It stopped suddenly. We jump out and start slamming and cramming all the gear into our packs. I hand Gayle a energy bar she hands me a hot cup of instant Starbucks coffee. We ate and drank frantically, shouldered our packs and threw on our frog tog ponchos. Just in time! The heavens open up. We are in a storm and start up Brush Heep Mountain. The climb is steep and slick. I look back at Gayle, she's being pelted by big rain drops, her head is down and stabbing the ground with her trekking poles pushing hard. We are both soaked and chilled to the bone!

We haven't had signal on our phones since we started so we're hoping by the time we reach the top we can send a message to our kids letting them know we are ok. Luck has it! We reach the Summit and we have just enough bars to send. Our family is relieved to hear that we are okay.

After going down Brush Heep Mtn we had to make one more climb before decending down where Anthens Big Fork connects with Viles Branch Trail and turn east. The storm has moved over by then and the temperature has dropped to 55 degree. We exchange our ponchos for our mid-layer jackets. We need energy so we stop to eat some jerky and nuts knowing we have over 13 water crossing ahead of us. By 12:30 we arrive at the Little Missouri River. Did I mention how beautiful the scenery is! The sun is breaking through the clouds warming us. We shed our jackets as we head back north on the Little Missouri trail. Our first stop is at Winding Stairs camping area. Gorgeous place! The clear water running over the smooth stone rocks is just too inviting. We unbuckle our packs put on our bathing suits and shiver as we creep into the frigid rapids. How refreshing was that! We both lathered up with some soap before jumping out. Dang we smell better! Dried off we shoulder our packs and head out. We are starting to wear down and it's mid-afternoon so we start looking for a camp spot. The trail winds with the river and we make one more river crossing before we come to a nice area. We pitch out tent, filter water, fire up the jetboil stove and have a delicious dinner. It's dusk by now so we settle into the tent for the night.

Oct 16. Forgot to mention yesterday we were making our way around this rock ledge coming into Winding Stairs when right smack dab in the middle of the trail is fresh Bear Scat. Needless to say, I was on Bear watch again with both eyes open most of the night, while you guessed it, Gayle sawed logs. We arouse up to a chilly morning around 5:45 am. It's pitch dark so we lay contently in the tent listening to the soothing sounds of water rushing down the Little Missouri. Ready to start the day, I put on my jacket, headlamp and crawl out of our warm cozy quarters. I'm heading down to get our food which I hung up high in a tree last night. Didn't want them bears eating our goodies. Gayle stays in the tent and starts rolling up our sleeping pads and getting our gear organized. It's still dark but thanks to our headlamps we managed to fire up the jetboil and make coffee. We have one cup and some instant oatmeal. We make another hot steaming cup of coffee and head down to the river to enjoy the early morning dawning. It's around 8 am before we break camp. Our packs seem lighter today, everything is dry now from the soaking we got yesterday. We head northward towards Albert Pike Recreation area. It's a steady climb up and down, mostly up, for the next 2.8 miles. We arrive at Albert Pike Overlook around 9:30. Wanting to soak up

backpacking
15 days ago

This was my second time to backpack this trail and I can’t wait for the next visit.

backpacking
16 days ago

Good trip! Lots of campsites throughout the trails so plenty of places to set up camp. However, if you tent camp, a lot of places the ground is too hard to stake down your tent.
Trail markings got confusing at a few river crossings.
I wish there were mile markers to let you know how far you've gone but I didn't see any.

Overall it was a great trip!

22 days ago

Did it in 2 days in early January. very nice very nice

24 days ago

Pros: Best backpacking campsites I've seen, and plenty of them. Abundant water on just about every part of the trail. Beautiful scenery. Very challenging and rewarding.

Cons: There are a TON of downed trees. I guess that could be a positive if you're wanting to add to the challenge. The trail is not marked well at your major creek/river crossings. We made it through with no problems, but find your white blaze on the other side BEFORE you cross water.

Wife and I did it in 2 nights, 3 days. All in all, it's 5 stars for us. The cons aren't complaints, just some heads up.

Has it all! Wish there was a little more water to see the side waterfalls. Although it makes the creek crossings much easier.

backpacking
1 month ago

First of all there are some awesome campsites all throughout the loop trail. The campsites were really good for us and some by the water for quick access. That being said the trail is more than 28 miles. We were tracking it and it rounded around 31 total miles. The scenery was ok nothing amazing and the trail was straight up and down it really didn’t do much for the both of us. Good trail but not great and make sure your in good hiking shape or else you’ll have a tough hike throughout!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great for anyone. Do it in 2-days to push yourself and grow as a human, do it in 4-days to appreciate everything and feel rejuvenated. Athens Big Fork will mess you up! Just keep walkin' though.

1 month ago

Had a great time. It's rated hard for a reason.

1 month ago

I plan on doing this hike every year! Athens was very strenuous but I did it!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great views on the trail. At some points trail was not well defined, but passable. I was there during a crazy storm, many trees are now down on the trail. We did see a Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar, which can cause a nasty rash, so keep an eye out for those little black and white guys out there!

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike, did it over 3 nights with two short days on either end. Easily possible in 2-3 days if planned correctly. Trail is well marked, water everywhere, campsites at regular intervals so a fairly easy trip logistically. Would definitely recommend

1 month ago

There were seven of us from the trail running group called GOATS

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked the loop in 2.5 days and 2 nights. Began at the Little MO/Athens-Big Fork Trailhead, hiking counter clock wise. We chose this direction in order to get the difficult sections out of the way right off the bat. And I'm glad we did. Brush Heap Mountain is no joke. None the less I had a blast. Great camping spots along the trails with many of them close to the river. Plenty of water to drink and a few nice swimming holes. Met a lot of wonderful people on the trail, many from different parts of the country. Love this trail. Planning to hike it again in November.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Loved seeing the beginnings of the fall foliage. Numerous creek crossings, which were fun, and nothing too treacherous because the water is rather low. The few peaks had some wonderful views as well!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail, pretty tough for a novice like myself, but extremely rewarding. Saw 4 snakes, 2 of which were less than a quarter mile apart. Well marked, plenty places to camp, plenty water sources. Would recommend to wait and go during cool weather, it got up to 90 F one day in the eagle rock mountain section and that's about all we wanted. All in all, it was a beautiful 3 day trip.

camping
2 months ago

definitely planning a second trip out for 2018

2 months ago

Love this trail!!!!

backpacking
2 months ago

Drove up from Austin and did the loop in just over 2 days. Day 1 was all 6 peaks, tough, but rewarding and some great views. Day 2 was much easier and lots of water holes to jump in to and cool off. The road leading to the SW parking location is super rocky and at times I though I might have to turn my Camry around

2 months ago

Amazing loop, did it in 3 days 2 nights. The first day with the 6 big hills are tough. Make sure to prep. Other than that, amazing trail. Tons of water available hope I do it again soon.

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