Winding Stairs Trail

MODERATE 43 reviews
#3 of 21 trails in

Winding Stairs Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Caddo Gap, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
590 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

The trails has nice rock formations, cascades, and swimming holes. Primitive camping is allowed along the trail. Be careful, you do have to cross the river, make sure is not to high to cross safely.

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

Walked this trail on 8-26-17. If you are a new timer and are not familiar with the Alber Pike area - read this. Sorry this will be long but I just want to share the issues that we had finding and navigating the trail, as we had never hiked in the area before and the trail was not that well marked.
First of all, you go into the albert pike campground and when you first enter you see a road that goes up the mountain, that is still 106 and it has a sign that says "Winding stairs parking 2 miles". that is how you get to the trail head. although I will say that if I go back I will be parking at the trail head to the Little Missouri Trail inside the campgrounds and walking to the winding stairs trailhead, it is only 2 extra miles. the reason is because it is paved road. if you take 106 up the mountain it is a very rough gravel road that has a steep drop off on one side most of the way and is not big enough to fit two cars on most of the time. although I was driving my little Toyota sedan so I suppose if you had a truck or jeep it wouldn't matter much.
Anyways, about 2 miles up it will be a small parking lot on the left with a bathroom (or outhouse practically) and some trash cans. it has a little bulletin board sign with nothing on it. no sign or anything letting you know you are in the right place. just a note someone left that says to follow the white markings, turn left at the fork, go down and cross the river and go a couple hours to find some cool waterfalls. ok cool. but they didn't specify when to cross the river. there are white markings leading to the river but then they also veer to the left along with yellow markings also. it was very confusing. well I will tell you this. when you walk a little ways down from the start and come to the river (it isnt far) there will be two paths, one to the right and one to the left. I do not know where the right one leads but you need to turn left. then there are some white markings on the trees and almost as soon as you turn left there is a big rock in the middle of the river and a tree that has fallen across the river to make a bridge. this is where you are supposed to cross the river. then there are white markings for pretty much the rest of the way and an obvious trail. our mistake was that we did not realize we were supposed to cross the river so soon so we took the left path and kept going, following the white and yellow markings. we walked a while until we came to the river further down and had nowhere else to go so we crossed. someone had tied a shirt to a branch so we assumed that was where the trail would pick up again once we crossed. well we did find a small trail but it wasnt the correct one. we followed it a bit and then there was nowhere to go so we ventured through the woods for a little bit until we picked up on it again. well we decided to stay at the river for a bit since we found a neat space to relax, eat and swim. while we were there someone came across a trail up on the other side on top of the mountain and came down to where we were. so we asked them what path they took and they said the white marked path. we figured the way they came was the correct way (it was) and that we should go that way when going home. so we kept going the way we came (which was the way they were headed) even though it was marked in yellow and not white and it led further into the woods and away from the river. we probably walked nearly a mile of it and gave up because there were SO many spiders. we couldnt walk 2 feet without getting spiderweb on our face and a spiders in our hair. it wasnt worth it because we were going so slow because of the spiders. so we turned around, spent some time walking along the river and taking pictures and then we headed back the way they came (the correct way) that was marked in white. when we went up the mountain from the river there were 3 different paths. one went straight, one went directly to the right and one was kind of in the middle. we took the right one because it followed along the river (but up on a steep cliff). well that was the original trail that we were supposed to take in the first place. it was really nice, except it was VERY steep on one side pretty much the whole way and kind of made me nervous. and a lot of it was uphill so it was very strenuous. but it was a pretty pathway and you can definitely tell why its called winding stairs. overall I had a good time but I wish I had brought some bug spray because the bugs were awful. if you go on this trail, CHECK YOURSELF FOR TICKS. when we sat down to rest half way back I just happend to look at my leg and saw tiny looking mite bugs on my legs, turns out they were itty bitty ticks. I was covered, and when I took off my shoes my entire feet were covered too. so mosquito and tick repellant is a must. horseflies and bees were also a problem. didn't see any snakes while there. we went on a cloudy day so no need for sunscreen but on a sunny day it would be a must. de

hiking
1 month ago

The yellow/white trail to the stairs was a bit difficult to navigate. If you're not sure where to go, try looking for the next marker across the river! This place was incredible!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I loved this hike. We made it all the way to peace rock, and kids swam in lake. Parts of the hike made me a bit nervous with a pretty steep dropoff on one side. Lots of variety with this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

It is nice for those who venture off of the horse trail and elevate onto some more narrower rocky passes. Overgrown in areas and not well marked, but hey, venture out. Bring bug spray and sunscreen.

backpacking
2 months ago

Wonderful trail and really easy. Only one hill to hump. You follow the river most of the time. The end of the trail has some great camping spots right on the river. The bugs weren't bad until we started using our headlamps at night. But even then none of them were biting. Some late night swimming in the clear warm water was a great finish to it. Highly recommend it.

3 months ago

Ticked off. Party of 8. We all had ticks. Also spider webs in my face. Not easily marked. After 2nd crossing no clue where to go. Not a fan.

backpacking
3 months ago

camping
4 months ago

4 months ago

5 months ago

God's creation

backpacking
5 months ago

Awesome place to bring friends and family. God's handy work.

hiking
5 months ago

6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

My wife and I walked this trail on March 5, 2017 with our grandkids (5 and 8). It was cool and misting rain and the trail was wet, but we had an amazing time.
The trail was a bit treacherous at about the halfway point going up the mountain, but we managed by going slowly and holding the kids hands. It wouldn't be so bad when the trail is dry.
It was a beautiful walk and an awesome way to spend a day. I'll be returning to back[pack and camp with my grandson soon!

8 months ago

9 months ago

Beautiful trail, but what the heck the trails are so poorly marked. When you get to the end and think there's no where to go- cross the river. It took us forever to find the right area. But very beautiful great swim once we got to the peace sign rock!

9 months ago