Shores Lake West Side Trail

MODERATE 31 reviews

Shores Lake West Side Trail is a 10.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Winslow, Arkansas that features a lake 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: 10.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2,145 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Shores Lake West Loop trail begins at White Rock Mountain and descends rapidly traveling west then south through heavy Ozark forest. crossing creeks several times while passing two nice wet weather waterfalls before arriving at Shore Lake NF Campground. White Rock trailhead is in the campground/picnic area (WP-01 on the map). Rustic cabins built by the CCC in the 1930s are available, but reservations are suggested. The trail heads east with blue blazes and descends a 100 feet to the junction of the White Rock spur and OHT (WP-02, 0.3 miles). Turn right (west) on combined trail (white blazes). At 1.1 miles the OHT splits off the west trail loop. The OHT goes straight and the west loop goes left following the blue blazes). The trail descends steadily for about 2 miles until you get to White Rock Creek, crossing Forest Road 1003 on the way (this is probably the road you drove up to get to White Rock). The area around the creek has many features. First, the trail will cross the creek twice in 0.2 miles and your crossings can be wet if the water is up. Second, there are lots of flat areas for camping just as you reach the first crossing and on the other side. There is a grotto up the creek before the first crossing that has a high but small waterfall (probably dry in the summer). Last, but not least, is the water fall between the two crossings. It is high volume with a large pool and can be seen from either side of the creek. The trail continues south following White Rock Creek and crosses Bliss Spring Hollow at about 4.5 miles. The crossing is dry and the area scenic. At 5.5 is the spur trail to the Shores Lake Trailhead (WP-04)

backpacking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Don't let the distance of the trail fool you. The trail is only about 6 miles from trailhead to trailhead ... but it's not easy going. We started at the southernmost trailhead, ascended to the White Rock Rim Trail, and came back down. Definitely a beautiful hike, but not easy. Trail is rocky and steep on the ascent sections ... and for some reason trails in Arkansas don't ever have switchbacks. Plenty of water on the west trail. A couple decent camp sites and a couple pretty poor ones. We only saw a couple other hikers the whole weekend, but from the look of the trail didn't really expect to see any. Doesn't look like the trail has had any significant maintenance in several years. Trail is overgrown in most places, with thick brambles (thorns) intruding into the trail space. There is quite a bit of blowdown on the trail, some of it significant. There are a handful of places where you have to either bushwack around the obstacle or play Twister with it to get through. We caught a great weekend in July with highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 60s, so the weather was perfect. We had a great time, but don't expect to just blow through the trail in a day. It's short, but it's slow going.

hiking
over grown
scramble
2 months ago

Definitely one of the rougher trails I have hiked. I only hiked from the top to the waterfall due to time constraints, but it was a beautiful hike. Do not expect to go quickly... previous reviews have been very helpful in that regard. As another reviewer noted, once you descend from the mountain, you are in the thick of a forest, so views are limited.

backpacking
over grown
2 months ago

perfect little hike with some elevation change. we had to go around, over, and under a few downed trees. the creeks were up and near the waterfall we had to take our shoes off to cross. primitive campsite was perfect. did not see a single person on the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Really cool area. Long drive in dirt/gravel to get there (like 10 miles or 30 minutes). But remote, peaceful and beautiful. Hike was good, challenging but doable if he hike regularly.

hiking
5 months ago

I hiked this with my 9yo son from bottom to top and back the next day. We spent the night at a campsite near the top. There are a number of dispersed camping spots between the halfway point (the wide waterfall) and the top. This section is also arguably the most scenic. It was a challenging hike for us, and I was not going to push us to go all the way, but my son was determined in his mind so we were able to do it. We carried 35 and 10 lbs respectively. One trick we learned: when going from bottom to top, at the wide waterfall, if you stay on the far right (you have to scramble up one steep spot), you can avoid doing that river crossing and another one to come right back across. This could save you about 20 minutes. If you hike to the top, don't miss out on the rim trail, it's just a little bit further and is where all the distant views are. At the top is also a park with a store where you can buy supplies.

backpacking
Friday, July 06, 2018

My 4 year old and I completed this trail June 18-20th 2018, we were very slow paced. it was absolutely beautiful and we made camp near the waterfall. The spots to set up for a tent are small but worked. Ticks and spiders were bad, but that's to be expected. We are deer, a bob cat, lots of butterflies and fish in the creek. Many water sources along the way with creek crossings. I would count this as more of a point to point trail that can also be made into a loop with the East side. We started and finished and what All Trails considers the middle with their out and back. Be prepared for rough driving and no cell service. There was steep drop offs and lots of rocks along the path but as said my 4 year old daughter and I managed. I'd love to go back to the area on the fall when ticks aren't has bad.

hiking
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Was not too thrilled about the off-road adventure I had to take to the trailhead. (I have a ‘97 accord.) Was not too excited about the hike it taking 2.5 hours more than my expectation of 5 hrs. Things started to turn around when I went to the White Rock “general store” and met Whitney and Michael. (My usual h2o complement of 2L was not nearly enough for that hike.) As I rehydrated, Whitney told me a little about White Rock (e.g., it is the most remote park station (outpost?) in AR). Then she gave me directions to a shorter off-road route (only off-road access to White Rock, slow going 10-15 mph for a lower riding car, like my accord) via Shores Lake. Lo and behold — just after the off-road turned into road and just before the intersection with Route 215 — there was a jumping bridge over Shores Lake. It was about 3.5m high. What a great finish after a hard but nice hike. (If you are not enthused about bridge, it is still good for a soothing dip.) When I take my son there later this Summer, we will park at Shores Lake, hike up and down, jump off the bridge a few times, then drive up to White Rock to do the short but supposedly enjoyable Rim Trail, and visit with Whitney and Michael.

Monday, April 16, 2018

This trail is epic. It is not a moderate trail!!! This was intense at times with so much elevation and immediate decline. The up and down is constant the entire trail. So that will take a toll on your endurance quick. However, if you can bare through it then you'll have some amazing experiences here. The aroma of fresh pines and cedar will keep your mind refreshed. The peaks and cliffs will keep your eyes wide open and satisfied with majestic views. The rocks, logs, boulders, and Creek crossing will keep your body challenged physically. We completed over 12 miles from 7am to 4pm. I took my time to take pictures but I am a fairly quick walker. Go look at my instagram and you see some amazing photos I captured with my dog. @danyandhisdogchica I recommend this trail for the more experienced hikers. Make an entire day for it. Start early and finish with plenty of daylight.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Did this a few years ago while working EMS. Unfortunately, we had to rescue a hiker from the waterfall. All I remember was it middle summer, hot and at night and about 12 guys carrying a patient. I do look forward to doing it again, but in the daytime and with just my pack.

backpacking
Sunday, September 17, 2017

I need to look up what the criteria are for "easy", "moderate", and "hard" ratings. Did this yesterday with my dog. This Trail was pretty hard for me, especially of the way back up the hill to white rock where the car was parked. I normally pack pretty heavy because I am trying to build strength and endurance. My pack weight was about 40 pounds. I had long pants because the bugs love me and that didn't help given the heat. In the pack was about 12 liters of water and I am lucky I had it because I needed it. Even the dog drank two liters and she drank a lot from the creeks. Pigeon Roost is also a moderate and I have done it many times with a similar weight pack. I find pigeon's roost to be much easier. The elevation change has a lot to do with the difficulty. The horseflies were bad. I ended up putting in headphones on muffle the buzzing. It takes quite a while to get there over a lot of dirt roads. I think I will try the other trails around war eagle before I venture out this far again. The views were nice. Better than Pigeons Roost but I didn't feel like it was worth the drive.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Great trail! It's 12miles all around if you want to see the lake. Definitely will take the other Miranda's advice and do the Rim Trail then down this trail to just past the falls and back.

backpacking
Friday, August 25, 2017

Like many others have said before, the west side of this loop trail is definitely more enjoyable than the east side of the trail. The Shores Lake Trail is indeed a loop, with the upper portion sharing its path with the Ozark Highlands trail. I have frequently used the west side of Shores Lake Trail to get onto the Ozark Highlands where you can then spend as many miles as you want exploring. This helps to make a flexible 3 to 4 day hike be whatever you want. Plentiful water on the west side of Shores Lake turns into water once a day on Ozark Highlands so plan accordingly.

hiking
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The West Side Loop is beautiful! The view from the White Rock Mountain Recreation Area (where you'll start) is breathtaking, and the hike is consistently lovely. We hiked just to White Rock Creek Falls and back, having hiked to the Falls from Shores Lake in the Fall, and I do like this route better but just by a little bit. Do note that this route takes you down, down, down the mountain, and then back up, up, up - an elevation change of 1800+ ft in about 3 miles. If that is your idea of "moderate," the dog and I salute you! We were wiped out. He is snoring loudly on the couch as I type this. We also hiked the easy 2-mile Rim Trail since we were there. Don't skip it, no matter how tired you are!

hiking
Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Did the entire loop in Mid October, unfortunately the fall color was late last year, but I imagine it would be superb if you got it at the right time. Best to hike the loop from west to east, starting at white rock imo. Some cool waterfalls and creeks on the west side and around Shores but the east side is mostly just a salty climb up WR Mountain. All n all, a good overnight loop that's really convenient.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Great little trail. West side is scenic and water is plentiful. Ridge trail up top is beautiful at sunrise. East side isn't anything special.

hiking
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Very fun hike. The sign said "west side loop" but it's definitely not a loop. Realized that when we were halfway done and ended up turning back around. Good cardio, no difficult but I wouldn't wanna take a small child there...other than my lab.

camping
Monday, September 07, 2015

Here's a 1080P video of the waterfall when we went over Labor Day weekend this year (2015). It was hot (90+ degrees), water level was low, and horse flies were insane. I would recommend this on a cool to cold day. The views are pretty great and the trail is pretty strenuous I would say for most people if climbing to the White Rock Mountain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lVnuIhM5pA

hiking
Saturday, May 03, 2014

Shores Lake East Loop, can be hiked either direction. I prefer to spend the night previous camping at White Rock Mountain, view the best sunset east of the Rockies, before doing the trail the next morning. The trail is largely down hill and passes two waterfalls. One is not spectacular for flow and is best visited in the spring months. The other has flow most of the year. There are numerous very nice primitive camping sites along the trail. I have also visited it in the fall and the fall colors are spectacular.

hiking
3 months ago

recorded Recording - May 25, 04:28 PM

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Sunday, August 05, 2018

hiking
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Saturday, November 25, 2017

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