Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Ozark Highlands Trail

MODERATE 82 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: 23,622 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

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
off trail
over grown
rocky
26 days ago

Generally nice trail A few mundane areas But...lots of rocky tread...hard on feet More importantly...some poorly marked areas. Poor....when leaves have fallen and in rough rocky areas...there is no visible sunken tread or corridor. The blazing is frequently insufficient to follow trail. You depend on intuition, looking for sawn logs, because theres no blazes where they should be. You SHOULD be able to see next blaze , from a blaze. , this is not so very often. The chief maintainer wants blazes 130 steps apart...i was told. By a trail worker. .its ridiculous.....it doesnt work in some areas. If you have no trail to follow....you have no trail. I met people that gave up because they couldnt follow it after richland campground, taking an hour or more to go 1/2 mi. At that pace...it wrecks plans. Seriously needs to be blazed better for when leaves obscure trail. Particularly eastern end .should not need to spend 20 min trying to find trail or next blaze , when standing by one.

hiking
1 month ago

So far my favorite day on those are Calen trail was a section. Some moderate strenuous but moderately length climbs the sense. But the time especially have a bout 2 miles in the creek bottom he just magical

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Hiked from Shores Lake took the west loop to the Ozark Highlands Trail east to Ragtown approximately 15 miles. West loop challenging with quite a bit elevation gain. Trail was generally rocky and narrow. Stayed at campground near the falls about 3 miles into the hike. Enough flat area for several tents and stone fire ring. Note there are two camp sites so be sure to walk in about 30 yards to find the second site. Hiked up White Rock Mountain challenging no great views but likely needed to walk rim trail to see anything. Continued onto Ragtown campsite. Hike was predominantly down quite buggy! Also had to cross a creek so bring some water shoes! Campsite at Ragtown is at the base of Potato Mountain located right next to Spirts Creek-decent campsite with easy access to water. The last two miles to Ragtown you pass some nice waterfalls and must traverse Spirits Creek. The rest of the trail to the Ragtown parking lot is narrow with many downed trees...it needs some maintenance! Overall, a challenging but rewarding 15 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

Has anyone done this with kids? If so, how old were the kids, how was the experience and what was there fitness level before the hike?

hiking
bugs
over grown
washed out
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Uphill battle for the majority of the trip. Plenty of streams for drinking, once you cross the HW it gets easier. Hare Mtn is a pretty steep i cline.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike from Indian Creek down to Lick branch, roughly 1100 feet elevation climb in a slow and steady & the same on the downhill. Impressive little Mulberry. Glad there was a bridge. We hiked on east to the campsite up on top of the mountain. Another beautiful creek with multiple waterfalls and rock-bottom again, gorgeous! We filled with water at the little Mulberry, Not knowing what was ahead. We probably crossed five nice streams, with the last one before camp being the biggest and definitely the most impressive. There was plenty of water. We will break camp in the morning, which will be our last of the four nights camping. We will then hike up to where we left my car with a shuttle. Approximate 6 miles ahead. Great hiking trip, beautiful views during leaf off, amazing sights

hiking
8 months ago

Hare mountain to Indian Creek. Just as per Tim Ernst’s guidebook, several boot beautiful creeks, waterfalls, rock formations, Vista are great just as the leaf buds are popping out but no leaves.. Beautiful day after a cool start. Beautiful hike. Wet crossing across Indian Creek as we had at Fain Creek area

Day 1 of 5 of continued hike across OHT. Hiked Ragtown to Fane creek to camp

10 months ago

I've hiked this trail in sections, have a couple more to go. It's on my bucket list to backpack the whole thing from one end to the other. It has some real challenging areas, Highly recommend this trail, but not in the Arkansas summer heat. That leaves 3 seasons, go for it.

backpacking
Wed Oct 24 2018

Beautiful trail. Hiked from White Rick Mountain to Spirits Creek. Camped the night. Hiked back to Salt Fork Creek. Camped the night again. Then, returned to White Rock Mountain the next morning. Both Salt Fork Creek and Spirits Creek were flowing well as were many small streams along the way. Excellent time!

Mon May 28 2018

Awesome place!

hiking
Tue Mar 13 2018

Hiked section 1 from Lake Ft. Smith to Dockery's Gap and loved it. We did the 9 or so mile stretch in a little over 4 hours but didn't stop much. It was fairly cold so we didn't go through too much water, i carried about half a gallon and had some left over but there was plenty of running water to treat and drink if needed. Frog Bayou was about knee high and freezing but luckily i had a towel so i crossed bare foot and dried off before putting my socks and boots back on. Lots of up and downs but nothing too arduous until the last mile or so when there is a good climb back up to Old Locke Road (FR 1007). Overall it was a great hike with lots to see and I can't wait to get back out there and hike the rest of the OHT.

Sat Mar 03 2018

Thru hiked 125 miles of this trail. From fort smith to Fairview mountain what a journey. So beautiful although very secluded which is what makes it so great but also sucks when you forget important things or need to shower but we made it work! Never saw another hiker on the trail but the campsites were an awesome tool. Definitely recommend a map that has the campsites on it. We went at the end of September and first week of October, weather was perfect with only one day of rain!

hiking
Fri Feb 16 2018

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
Thu Nov 02 2017

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

Wed Nov 01 2017

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.

Tue Oct 17 2017

Great hike

hiking
Sun Apr 16 2017

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.

Mon Mar 20 2017

Never ending climbs, it's awesome!

hiking
Mon Jul 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
Mon 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

Wed Apr 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
Tue Mar 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
Mon Feb 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
Fri Jan 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.

Load More