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Redding/Spy Rock Loop Trail

MODERATE 104 reviews
#9 of 43 trails in

Redding/Spy Rock Loop Trail is a 8.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Ozark, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,181 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

stroller friendly

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

rocky

Trailhead is located on the NE corner of the Redding campground.

hiking
27 days ago

I am a maintainer/Sawyer for Ozark Highlands Trail. Redding Loop is my "adopted" section for the OHTA. We are required to maintain the trail twice/year, but sometimes things happen that require more maintenance. Several trees were blown down recently, which I noticed on an earlier comment. Also, there is no maintenance on the OHTA that takes place in the summer months, so there will be some overgrowth during that time. If you encounter any problems on the Ozark Highland Trail that require attention, please let us know by emailing a description to OHTmaintenance@gmail.com .
Redding Loop is now clear with no obstacles. Enjoy.
The Southern part (campground) section is always a problem because of the location by the Mulberry River and the ground is constantly softer, so trees blow down easier. The last wind event blew down 12 trees on that section. (area at mm92-93 on the OHT had around 40 trees across the trail) The upper loop (across the highway) rarely has problems.
Great campground with bathrooms and showers. Only 3 other campers last weekend.

hiking
1 month ago

The trailhead is by the Redding Recreation Area restrooms. Day parking is $3. overnight camping $10. The trail is well marked/blazed with blue markings but I still made use of gps to check progress ... and if you want to go a specific direction on the loop you may need to use gps because as of February 2019 a tree was down and obscured the fork. We walked the loop in 3+ hours but did not rest much and huffed and puffed as we ascended. We saw only 3 other groups while walking ... though it was February (so I’d expect light traffic) it was a warm (high 50s) and also Saturday. Beautiful creeks, moss, lichen, rocks, “waterfalls” and views when you reach the top area. The path is smooth for trails in northwest Arkansas. Easier on my feet than others. Highly recommended as a good workout in natural beauty.

hiking
2 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. It was what I needed after some holiday over indulging. I think "moderate" is pretty appropriate for this one. I did it at the end of December 35-40degrees, all the falls were running and that added some cool points to it. Only a couple other hikers on the trail the day I did it. I started right at the entrance for Redding Camp Ground and did the west side first. Made it out to Spy Rock and back down the east side of the loop GPS said it was 7.45 miles 2 hours 59 minutes moving and 52 minutes stopped.

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice trail, super pretty and enjoyable. Did it with my dog. Pretty gentle and well marked. A few downed trees on the southern parts of trail. One tree also ripped up the trail sign at the intersection of east and west sections of trail, but can still find trail easily enough.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a beautiful trail, especially during Fall and leaf off. We like to go up the West side and down the East but it’s great either way. Park at Redding campground and start directly across from the restrooms behind the campsite. The trail is well blazed and easy to follow. It took us about 5 hours to complete but that was with a long lunch break and some photo stops along the way.

trail running
5 months ago

Classic Arkansas Ozarks trail. Went up the east and down the west on a moderately cold (45F) wet October morning. 7.4 mi, 1,390 ft in 2:50. East side is more interesting with a couple of small waterfalls. West side is dryer with more scenic views. Saw 3 white tailed deer. No humans. The west is also easier. I was able to run most of it. About half way the loop connects to the Ozark Highlands Trail right at the Spy Rock Trial. On the Spy Rock long pants recommended. There are a couple of fire rings at Spy Rock, which would be a great place for hammock camping.

hiking
6 months ago

Awkward beginning of the trail, very overgrown and not well marked. I recommend starting at the turnoff for the campsite and not where google maps takes you. A wonderful view at the top, definitely a good one! Took about 4 hours round trip.

hiking
7 months ago

This starts in pretty dense vegetation that rubs on your legs. Wear pants. Lots of ticks and chiggers too, so bring bug spray. Otherwise a good trail.

7 months ago

Beautiful views at Spy Rock and a fairly easy trail. Unfortunately all the waterfalls and creeks were completely dry, it being August, so we didn't get to enjoy the beauty of the trail to its fullest. We will have to try this one again when it's less dry.

backpacking
8 months ago

Awkward trailhead, had to park near the street. Walked further than spy rock and set up near a waterfall for the night. Wonderful night! Overall great trip and spy rock has great views. Not a strenuous backpacking trip.

9 months ago

Unusual place for a trail head — behind a couple of camping sites at Redding. But a perfect hike for me. A good uphill to a great midpoint – Spy Rock. Then a good descent back to Redding campground. Btw, did I mention that Redding is on the Mulberry River? A dip in the river is a perfect way to top off a great hike. Note: the a- and descent each have spots of (what I consider) narrow trail, especially given one side of the trail is pretty much straight down. Those spots are definitely doable, but I felt a heightened sense of caution traversing those stretches.

camping
9 months ago

An amazing trail. We traveled up the west side part of the loop. It took us about 2 hours to reach the top. The view is worth the climb. Heads up that while it looks overgrown, the actual summit itself is pretty clean and a great spot to camp. Also watch out for the ticks. There’s plenty of them to go around. :)

hiking
9 months ago

We took the trail from the Redding Campground, where it is well marked. This is a beautiful hike, but there are no markings when you hit the East/West division about how many kilometers the hike is. There was no information at the campground about the trail, so we figured it was a 2-3 mile trail, easy for a quick afternoon hike. However we soon realized that the "loop" was farther up the mountain than we thought, and we had to turn around after 2 hours and head back down because of the bad weather coming in. Please have someone mark the trailhead with a distance for the loop!

backpacking
10 months ago

Great trail for a day hike or overnight backpacking. This was our first backpacking trip and we had a blast. Great place to hammock camp right on the rock overlook. Trail is well marked and maintained. Both of us are beginners but are in good physical condition; it took us about 2.5 hours to reach the rock and about 1.5 hours to hike back down.

hiking
10 months ago

Was not paying close attention to the length of this trail when we hiked it. Was very long... but there are several waterfalls along the way. It really is worth the distance. I had a puppy and 2 7 year old kiddos who enjoyed it!

backpacking
10 months ago

I'd rate this trail as moderate. The trail is narrow but slopes gradually and has only a few rugged areas. The trail is well-marked and -maintained. There are more sources of water on the east loop than the west, but I suspect that those will disappear during the dry season. There is no water source at the summit campsite, but the view is great. We arrived just in time to see the sun set.

One more thing. The trailhead is no longer at Redding campground. It is located on a small dirt road just east of the campground off the main highway. The new parking lot is located directly on the east loop. The spur leading to Redding campground still exists though. Make sure you don't accidently take it and end up in someone's campsite like we did.

backpacking
11 months ago

Great little hike. Definitely not a hard trail. I would say moderate at best.

hiking
11 months ago

easy to follow, well kept and all around great trail!

hiking
11 months ago

This is a fun hike, is mostly covered, and has a breathtaking overlook at the end! We went up on the west side trail and down on the east, though you could easily choose the opposite. There are camp sites along the east side. The east side also has bluff overlooks and waterfalls, but it is more rocky. If you’re starting on the west side, make sure to not turn prematurely when you’re getting close to the top - pass the road closed sign on the trail as the trail shoot off for spy rock is clearly marked with brown/yellow wooden signs. There’s great hammocking and two camp sites at top of spy rock! Might have to pay $3 for parking so bring cash.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Absolutely LOVE this trail! I've taken my kids many times for a quick day hike. Such a beautiful trail and the lookout is so amazing! My go-to place when needing some mountain therapy!!

hiking
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Quiet, secluded, and beautiful. Very well marked and maintained in the Winter. Don't miss the detour to the view at Spy Rock, one of the prettiest around. If you're going to park near the trailhead be sure to bring $3 and a pen to fill out your day use tag and envelope.

backpacking
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My girlfriend and I backpacked this trail in October and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. The leaves were only beginning to change colors but still, much to see. Our goal was to camp on top of Spy Rock so we reached the top after only a few hours of hiking. We crossed several dry creeks and found nowhere to replenish our water. However, we prepared for this and packed plenty of water as most of Arkansas is dry during that time of year. The trail is moderately inclined going to the top of the mountain. I would not say it was difficult. Once at the top we found a few great primitive campsites. The view was beautiful. A must see. We enjoyed plenty of time to relax at the top (bring a hammock) before cooking supper and turning in for the night. Sunrise from the top was spectacular and we broke camp after saying goodbye to another backpacker who also camped at the top. I can't remember if we hiked this loop clockwise or counterclockwise but we did see a few trickling waterfalls on our hike out. This was a short overnight trip but left us plenty of time to get done with Sunday chores once we were back home. I certainly recommend this hike.

hiking
Friday, November 24, 2017

Did this yesterday. Great trail.

The trailhead has been moved from the Redding campground to a little parking area 1/4 mile further down the highway. All the signage at the new trailhead is missing so it was a total guess where to go but we got it right. From the parking lot, follow the trail that starts out the back of the parking lot and turns right toward Redding campground. It will take you to the intersection of the old trail beginning and the west and east loops, We met another hiker on the trail that said the old trailhead at Redding was just across from the restrooms.

The trail spends a good amount of miles along bluffs, teasing you with views of the valley through bare trees. Sometimes the trail is narrow and the bluff drop off very severe, but nothing too scary. The trail meanders through both deciduous and pine forest but stays primarily in the woods. At this time of year, the leaves are deep enough to obscure ankle rolling rocks, so be careful and you might want to opt for ankle high boots for support. The creeks were all dry but some rock formations on the east loop surely make some awesome waterfalls after a rain.

Spy Rock is a nice view for a lunch break. Plenty of big rocks to sit on while you enjoy the view. Looks like enough space for 2 campsites at Spy Rock, would make a great side trail for someone backpacking the OHT.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

It was a decent outing. All the trees were still changing colors so it was pretty. However, some people were camping up on Spy Rock which just made that part non-enjoyable and quick. I would like to come back in the raining season and see the waterfall.

backpacking
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New trail head is located NE of the parking lot of the trail head. Do not take the trail head located in the new trail head parking lot

backpacking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Good early season hike to get back into backpacking shape! It should be only be rated moderate, with some elevation gain and rocky stretches. Blue blazes on the trail could use some repairs, but the trail was always easy to find with good signage. Water was abundant all along the trail except for the Spy Rock section. Spring was just starting to hit the higher elevations, with some dogwood flowering and the trees just leafing out. It seems like they recently did a prescribed burn here, as the understory vegetation was very sparse.

I paid $3 and parked in the Redding campsite overnight, although I'm sure parking in the Spy Rock parking area would have been fine. Even though the Redding campsite looked full, I saw no one else on the trail both days. I took the east loop and camped at the second waterfall. There was very little flat ground, but it worked. Be warned, there is a lot of ATV noise along the east loop at night.

I went up to Spy Rock the next day, which was less elevation gain than I expected. I found a smoldering fire at the top--shame on the campers who stayed there the night before! I put it out with the extra water I brought with me. The view from the top was well worth the hike!

The west loop was all downhill and very easy but not very interesting.

hiking
Monday, March 13, 2017

This was my second visit, this time with the dog. We are now both big fans of this trail. The views are incredible, and both waterfalls were flowing a little. This trial is easy to find and follow, and, while it's rated "hard," it's really somewhere between "easy" and "moderate."

hiking
Sunday, March 12, 2017

lots of rocks on the east loop

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Pretty hike the whole time! We did the west loop first and it was pretty easy. On the east loop there were two waterfalls that would've been flowing really well after a good rain. We backpacked it and stayed the night at spy rock. Absolutely gorgeous view!! You could definitely make it a day trip, but I would recommend camping and exploring at spy rock!

hiking
Monday, January 30, 2017

My wife and I hiked the trail today. Parked at the campground and paid to park $3 day use honor system. Ate at the Oark Cafe first. Awesome breakfast to start the day off right. Just FYI here if you plan on going over to spy rock, the loop including spy rock is a total of 9 miles. Lots of rocks in the trail waiting to twist you ankle so be sure footed. Trecking poles are awesome to help with this. Have a great time.

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