Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a 213.9 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Roland, Arkansas that features a lake 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.

Length 213.9 mi Elevation gain 32,276 ft Route type Point to Point

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (16)
Tips
Getting There

Check out the Facebook Group "Ouachita Trail 2019" for more information. Suggested websites: http://friendsot.org/hiking.htm http://www.ouachitamaps.com/OT.html https://compulsivehiker.com/trail-info/ouachita-mountains-trails/ouachita-trail/

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a continuous hiking trail through the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas. It is the longest backpacking trail in the Ouachita National Forest, The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is maintained by a non-profit group, Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT). For updates on trail conditions as well as information on the group, check out their website: http://friendsoftheouachita.org/wp/ There are access points all along the Ouachita Trail where roads and highways intersect the trail. For more information visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ouachita/recreation/recarea/?recid=10804&actid=50

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (175)
Photos (359)
Recordings (190)
Completed (227)
Jamol Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Apr 30 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Great area. Able to hop on the trail right out of the lower parking lot of the Pinnacle Mountain visitors center. Well marked. A bit rocky and was muddy in areas. But overall, a great hike and an even better workout. #happyhiking

View Jamol's Recording
Preston White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 13 2020
HikingRocky

I just did an overnight out and back to clear the mind. It is a good elevation gain and drop both ways for getting into shape. Great views just east of the shelter.

View Preston's Recording
Shawn Bayouth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Apr 12 2020
RunningMuddy

I ran westbound from Lunsford Corner for about 7 miles and back again. Saw two hikers and one lady with her dog ( in the middle of nowhere - I love it!). Weather was great on the outbound run, little muddy at times, and several stream crossings. But the trail was well marked with blue blazes, and this section was not overgrown. On the run back I encountered rain, thunder, and lightning and the temperature dropped about 13 degrees. But all-in-all it's a great trail and I can't wait to get back.

Melissa Campbell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Mar 31 2020
HikingMuddy

Natural Steps to "scenic vista" overlook is a 5 mile O/W trip. It was very, very muddy with several creek crossings. All in all a fun day, but be prepared for mud if it has rained recently. Starting at Hwy 300 just up from Lundsford Corner and hiking to the same overlook on April 3. It looks like that will be 6-7 miles one way, but will report back with details.

Linda Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jan 01 2020
HikingBlowdownRocky
View Linda's Recording
Taylor DeCastro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Dec 31 2019
HikingRocky
View Taylor's Recording
Tom Overman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Dec 12 2019
HikingRocky

I did a nice day hike from the start of the trail at Talimena State Park to Deadman Gap (8 miles in) and back to the trailhead with a 30lb backpack. A total of 16 miles in fairly challenging terrain. The trail is covered with medium-sized rocks at just the right size to cause ankle rolls. Compounded with the fact that these rocks are invisible this time of the year due to the leaf cover makes this first section of the trail slow-going. I can usually comfortably hike at 3 mph but was stuck between 2.2-2.5 mph because of the rock hazards. The trail is very navigable and the blue marks on the trees are visible and easy to follow. I was able to navigate the first 2 miles in complete dark with just a headlamp. I didn't see anybody else on the trail which makes sense for a winter hike on a Thursday morning. If you hike this section, I strongly recommend taking the detour around mile 5 to go to the top of panorama vista - the views of the fog-covered mountains are incredible! Overall the first section of this trail is quite challenging but rewarding! I recommend a hiking partner and hiking boots with good ankle support.

Erin Liz
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Nov 23 2019
Hiking

loose rocks, rock garden, rock slides, nothing but rocks to walk on, no fun.

View Erin's Recording
Cicely Kolb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Nov 08 2019
Hiking

Awesome trail. Rocky and overgrown in some places but I saw lots of trail crews who were taking care of the overgrowth. Excellent shelters which are well taken care of. Most of the shelters on the western half of the trail are new and have tarps, brooms and shovels. I used Guthooks for my thru hike mostly for water sources. This trail is rugged and mostly pretty remote. It is challenging. If you’re looking for an easy cruiser trail this is not it. That being said, I can’t imagine hiking this trail in the summer; lack of water sources, ticks, chiggers and such would make for an unpleasant experience in my opinion.

Kurt Annis
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 05 2019
Scenic driving

my relief backup

View Kurt 's Recording
Joel Cox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Aug 02 2019
BackpackingBugsOver grown

I'm section hiking the OT with my brother-in-law, starting with Sections 10 & 11 in January (Hwy 7 to Hwy 9) and working westward in 30-mile increments. We did another 26-mile chunk this weekend, starting at Musecreek Rd about halfway through Section 8 and finishing up at Hwy 7 to complete Section 9. The January trip (Sections 10 & 11) was very pleasant, save for a snafu with car keys that forced us into a very difficult Day 2, rushing through some pretty steep climbs and rocky descents to finish in time for the drive home. But the weather was lovely, water sources adequate, and the trail well-marked and well-maintained. This weekend was a different story. First of all, when they say you may have to go long stretches without water, they mean it. We found no accessible water between MM 134 and a creek past MM 150. With temp and humidity both in the high 80s, we were desperate for water by the time we reached Blue Mountain Shelter (mile 143), which was purported to have a "seasonal spring." Seasonal is right--it was bone dry, and we were compelled to keep moving in hopes of making Big Bear Shelter (mile 150, "Fairly reliable water") by nightfall. We eventually got desperate enough to make a treacherous climb down a sheer ridge to a waterfall at Blocker Creek (mile 148) and back up again, and we reached Big Bear Shelter utterly exhausted after dark. The water part is on us--we thought the seasonal sources would be flowing after good recent rains, but we should have taken the extra time on the front end to cache water just in case. But the condition of trail in this section was just abysmal, and I don't know how we could have anticipated that. Most of the trail was overgrown, often with knee-high, tick-infested grasses. There were also stretches where poison ivy was simply unavoidable--we could either wade through it on the trail or wade through it off. Spiders were ubiquitous, with dense webs spanning between virtually every set of parallel trees (you should see the layers of silk on our trekking poles!). All of this is just Arkansas in the summer, and since we didn't see another soul on the trip, it seems obvious that everyone--including the volunteers who maintain the trail--knew to stay away from these sections in the peak of summer. I don't blame them, and they clearly do a superb job keeping everything neat and tidy in the cooler months. My advice: stay away from the dry sections of the trail in summer, even of there's been lots of rain recently. And no matter which section you do, if you go in the summer, call around to find out if anyone has been out recently to keep the trail clear. Otherwise, look forward to a visit to urgent care for a short course of prednisone and a few week's worth of doxy for poison ivy and tick fever, respectively. We'll head back to tackle Section 7 and the rest of Section 8, but we've probably made our last visit to the OT between May and September.

Alexander Blanton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 31 2019
HikingBugsOver grown

Lots of growth on this section from about mile marker 174 to 168. More ticks than you can count.

View Alexander's Recording
Jessica Wicks
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun May 26 2019
Running

Not my favorite. Not great for trail running.

Rebecca Torres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri May 24 2019
HikingBlowdownBugsOver grownRocky

1st day, Westbound from Queen Wilhelmina SP, Trail is so overgrown you can barely tell where the trail is & very rocky. My daughter & I both fell several times from unseen rocks. Nice shelter at State Line, but trail going was very slow. Many trees down. Prob won’t ever do this section again.

View Rebecca's Recording
Steve Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Mar 18 2019
Backpacking

Father and daughter overnight backpacking trip. we started at highway 10 and hiked to Nancy Shelter. The following morning we hiked to Lake Sylvia. Lots of water due to the significant recent trains. Long wooden bridge washed out.

Spencer Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Mar 14 2019
Mountain biking

Lots of down hill and fun on this section.

View Spencer's Recording
Spencer Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Mar 14 2019
Mountain biking

Extremely tough climbs with lots of rock gardens throughout the trails. Most of this section is what most would call hike a bike. I do not recommend MTB this section,but hiking should be fine. Even though it does have a few fun sections that are down hill they are far and few. The views are amazing.

View Spencer's Recording
Karen Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Mar 10 2019
Hiking

Beautiful well maintained trail with excellent shelters every 10 miles. Easily visible blue blazes and mile markers. Gorgeous vistas.

Marianne Bassinger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Dec 23 2018
Hiking

The OT started out being a dream of mine , then after Holsom Valley it was a challenge against myself. I met these 2 men who were going to hike the OT so I tagged along. We hiked together from Talimena State Park and I called it at Holsom valley as they went on to Winding Stairs and called it. So from mm 16.8 to 84.5 I hiked solo. From mm 84.5 to 94.5 my daughter joined me for a day hike. Then from 94.5 to mm 223 I hiked solo. I counted up my days on the trail and it was about 19 days give or take. I wasn't in no hurry, by all means. I just wanted to be out on the trail following my dream of backpacking the OT and enjoying all it has to offer. Some of my favorite places was the Kiamichi Valley ( I think I spent 2 days there), Pioneer Cemetery, Flatside Pinnacle, Crystal Prong,Scooters Point, and a overlook before you get to Big Branch Shelter and the spillway. The bridge off hwy 300 and then mm 222 then my truck at the visitors center meaning I FINISHED my dream. John Archer,Suck Mtn,Story Creek and Big bear shelter were my favorite shelters. I'm sure there are more places but those are just the ones that stand out the most. Over 100 miles I hiked in sandals. From mm 125 to 223 I finally wore hiking shoes. I started in March, was up there about 2 different times that month.Once in April and once in May.Then back at it in October and November. Then I set out to finish December 9th, only to hurt my ankle the 2nd day so I was only out there from 12/9-12/18---39 miles. Came home and back out to finish on December 17,18,19,and 20th from mm 165.3 to 223. I set my mind to it swallowed the pain and hiked day and night to finish my dream. Using my emergency tarp and a garbage bag to sit on with the tarp over me with my trekking poles to hold it up, leaned against a tree just to catch a nap and get going again. I decided to be able to get my miles in, I had to put my phone up and quit taking so many pictures. The western end was tough but after the first 20-30 miles it got a lot easier.

Derek Jett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jan 29 2018
Hiking

Over 3 days , dave Boclair and I hiked 33 miles from hwy 7 to hwy 9. Slept in oak mountain shelter and brown creek shelter. Shelters were fantastic. Especially in rain. I really did not have to carry or set up tent. So much elevation change. Nothing is flat. Some water especially in low areas. Saw deer turkey and squirrels. Trail was well marked and logical.

Jimmy Hogg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jan 20 2018
Backpacking
Lana Kite
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Nov 29 2017
Backpacking

Windy day yesterday. Lots of thorn bushes but challenging hiking!

Keith Sandefer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 02 2017
Backpacking

Started at Lodge going west, 24 miles in two days. Great trip.

Showing results 1 - 23 of 175