Ozark Highlands Trail

MODERATE 42 reviews

Ozark Highlands Trail is a 156.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Winslow, Arkansas that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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 but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
156.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
23622 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

Directions from Lake Fort Smith State Park: Travel 1/4 mile east off U.S. 71 north of Mountainburg; watch for highway sign on U.S. 71 for turnoff to park entrance. Eastern terminus: Tyler Bend Campground on the Buffalo National River; U.S. 65 at Silver Hill

hiking
4 days ago

Spent the night after doing first 7 miles of section 1 from Lake Fort Smith State Park at end of January 2018. The trail was in good shape and the short part I did was not too hard. Got up early and drove from OKC (easily doable as weekend trip) and finished the 7 miles at about 3 PM. They had a little rain the night before, about half and inch I believe, and all of the springs were running. I have a feeling it doesn't take much so expect it to be wet with any rain. The frog bayou crossing is something to consider, but a guy a talked to said that it's the highest he had ever seen and it was maybe knee high, so it should rarely be a problem. Anyone considering this part I would recommend do not start at the state park if you want to have that remote ozarks feel. Otherwise, great trip, I would highly recommend it!

backpacking
3 months ago

It keeps steep in parts but it was still a lot of fun

3 months ago

Love this trail! Beautiful vistas and waterfalls (in season). Challenging climbs at times. Also, creeks can be dry when rainfall is low. Always be prepared. Glad it is close to OK.

4 months ago

Great hike

hiking
10 months ago

Did section 2, in April. The weather was great. Section 2 is roughly 19 miles. Very rugged. You will definitely want to have sturdy boots, strong soles. Camped on the river at a primitive camp at mile 6. Roughly 6 miles further is another chance to stop by a river and eat lunch and recharge. Stock up on water there for the push on to the end of section 2. the final 6 have a lot of up, and no water.

Great hike, great backpacking. Tough sledding but worth the effort.

11 months ago

Never ending climbs, it's awesome!

hiking
Monday, July 25, 2016

completed the section from Cherry Bend to Hare Mt. Beautiful area to a great overlook on Hare Mt. with a lot of historical remnants.

hiking
Monday, May 16, 2016

it was fun with the family, but was a difficult trail for a first time doing a over night hiking trail. would love to try again when I'm more experienced

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Walked from White Rock to Shores Lake, can't wait to get back, but it's a killer trail. Better be in good shape...

camping
Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Hike it last year in March over a 5 days period of time. Weather was terrible, cold and rained 4 out of the 5 days. The one day that it did not rain was absolutely beautiful.
Make sure you know how to use a compass, trails are not always marked well.
Remote and secluded. Also bring your bug repellent, got bite by a tick and ended up with lyme disease, not fun.
Overall loved the trip ; )

hiking
Monday, February 29, 2016

OHT is a badass trail and is very scenic trail and is very rough on the body. It has a lot of overlooks on the trail and is very amazing. Me and my friends only walked from Cherry Bend to Lick Branch in a weekend but now I can't wait to walk tho whole thing.

hiking
Friday, January 08, 2016

Very remote, and thus an excellent retreat. Lost about 5 days to rain, and took almost a month to finish. Started at Lake Fort Smith and finished at Hwy 65 on the Buffalo River Trail. Some beautiful scenery and solitude. Plan ahead and drop or mail food, you won't be anywhere near a Walmart.

hiking
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We briefly hiked from the Fairview Trailhead west to Hurricane Creek and camped overnight. We awoke the next morning and had to hike to the Chancel TH (about a mile to the east, there's a sign) because of a knee injury in our group. This section of the trail is beautiful and the boulder section feels almost "prehistoric". Be prepared when hiking section 6.....it's very difficult and the trail is very unstable with rocks, etc. Don't let this stop you, but just be prepared. Total miles hiked about 8. The Chancel TH is listed in Tim Ernst's book and is a great place to start or end a shorter hike in the Hurricane Creek Area. Thanks to a couple of backpackers that helped me get to my truck! I'm eternally grateful!

hiking
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Solid trail. Very well marked. Well maintained in most spots. A couple miles of overgrown or down trees.

hiking
Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I only did the first part that starts at lake fort smith, but it was very neat.

Friday, June 27, 2014

We added the Shephard Springs Loop to this run. I highly recommend this to make the run more demanding and technical. I also ran the two mile hill out of the Lake Fort Smith Park (to Hwy 71). We ran in to Frog Bayou, added Shephard Springs Loop, and back out to the Visitor's Center. Plus the two mile hill out to the highway. That'll get ya about 7 miles.

hiking
Saturday, September 28, 2013

My husband and I were set out to a section of this trail weekend we started out at
White Rock and were end up at lake fort smith , however ,due to a good portion of
the trail being unmaintained.
We both sustained injuries cutting trip to just 9 miles before a pick up .
We both enjoyed the hike minus the injuries and the unmaintained part of trail. It was a good hike.
I would suggest going fall or winter the colder the better.

hiking
Friday, April 19, 2013

I thruhiked the OHT this winter, from Lake Ft Smith on the western end to Hiway 65, south of Harrison. The eastern end of the OHT does not have an easy exit, so I extended my hike another 20 miles down the Buffalo River to reach Hiway 65 rather than having to ford the Buffalo to get picked up at Wollum. What a trip! The terrain is severe, and hiking more than 15 miles a day, given the short days of winter, would be a significant challenge. The trail is well maintained, and the scenery is unequaled. We are fortunate to have this trail in Arkansas. My favorite section of trail is the portion within the Hurricane Creek Wilderness. It is very remote, and the Hurricane is a National Geographic experience. This trail took me about 14 days to complete, and the distance including the Buffalo river extesion was 180 miles

hiking
Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I've been hiking this with Boy Scouts. Only 2 sections remaining to complete it. My favorite hiking trail! Beautiful and serene. Lots of variety.

hiking
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One of the two long haul trails in Arkansas, this trail has a lot of variety. Most sections can be done as day hikes or overnighters.
A schedule of week end hikes to do the whole trail over time can be found at the Ozark Society's website.
Get Tim Ernst's trail guide to help plan your trip.

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