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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.

Length 4.8 mi Elevation gain 446 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Camping

Hiking

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wildlife

Bugs

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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 too high to cross safely.

There is off road parking and restrooms at the trail head. Primitive camping is allowed on the trail. Fee camping from tent to RV with full services is close by at the Albert Pike recreational area.

Ouachita National Forest 100 Reserve Street P.O. Box 1270 Hot Springs, AR 71902 Phone: (501) 321-5202 Fax: (501) 321-5305

From Hot Springs take Highway 70 west 36 miles through Glenwood to Salem. Turn west on Highway 84 and go 13 miles to Langley. At Langley turn north on Highway 369 and go 6 miles to the recreation area. Cross the bridge at Albert pike heading west on Forest Rd. 106 for about 2 miles to the trailhead on the left.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (171)
Photos (415)
Recordings (112)
Completed (448)
Janice Virant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail we followed white paint and hiked in about 2.5 miles and swam...turned around and went back To parking lot

Wadad Lahoud
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grown
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lacey wallace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 10 2020
Hiking

the alltrails map is not completely accurate but good enough to follow. we followed the pink ribbons all the way to the end of winding stairs trail.

View lacey 's Recording
Jake Grosvenor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 05 2020
Hiking

Awesome loop! Lots of water and beautiful scenery. Pretty heavy gravel roads to get to the trail. The mountains are firece! Great trail, hope to come back and do it clockwise.

View Jake's Recording
Cyrus Bina
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri May 22 2020
Hiking

You really need to be on top of finding the trail. Very poorly marked. Crossed a couple other lost hikers.

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Michelle Carroll
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 20 2020

Gps is a must because some of the trail is over grown. You will need extra shoes because the trail crosses ankle to knee deep water 3 times. The trail is pretty difficult but the water and views are worth the trip.

Andy Dufresne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 15 2020
HikingMuddy

Had a wonderful time with my wife on this trail. Be prepared to cross the Little Missouri River at the beginning (and on your way back). No mosquitoes or bugs in mid May. Overall a great trail.

Aurora Matthews
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu May 14 2020
Hiking

We couldn’t find the trail. Unclear and unkept and generally confusing. All of the trail markers we tried to follow dropped off randomly and lead nowhere. Being avid hikers, I don’t believe lack of experience was the issue.

View Aurora's Recording
Elizabeth Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 03 2020
Hiking

Been doing this hike since I was 11 and I LOVE IT. Always recommend!

Kari Lum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 02 2020
Hiking

The road in is a single lane, dirt road and is narrow. Cars or large trucks not advisable. Follow the white paint on the trees!!! There are a few fallen trees, but nothing that kept us from enjoying the hike! There is a tree down just past the first water crossing that blocks the path, but it’s obvious that you go around to the right. Bring extra shoes for two water crossings. The first is shin level and the second was above my knees. Look for orange flag tape in the trees at the second water crossing to know where to continue the trail. It is an in and out trail. The destination has impeccable views and places to swim in the river. Lots of campsites along the way. Dogs that are in shape should have no troubles, either. We definitely recommend and will return!

Brice Gibbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Apr 10 2020
Walking

Awesome.

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Brice Gibbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Apr 10 2020
Walking

love it

View Brice's Recording
j l
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Apr 09 2020
Hiking

Hiked this last week, the trail is well marked and in great shape. There are a couple of places with downed trees, but other than that, trail is perfect. This is a stunning hike and terrific place to swim. Suitable for the entire family as long as kids are well suited to hiking narrow trails. The third water crossing can be difficult if the level is high, however if you go upstream about 100 feet the current is not as strong. Definitely worth the effort!

Ashlee Edwards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jan 25 2020
Hiking

This was a great trail for a day hike. Views are beautiful. The only issue we found we're the trail marking weren't great especially at the second river crossing. We could not cross the second river crossing because of the water level. 90% of the trail is worn and easy to follow. The start and end were the only issues. Highly recommend trail!

View Ashlee's Recording
Scott Dietz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarTue Jan 14 2020
Hiking

Lost track and turned around

View Scott's Recording
Jerri Stephenson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jan 14 2020
HikingOff trail

This was a beautiful area. As some.others have mentioned, we were thrown off the trail because of a fallen tree. We weren't the only ones. Ran across groups of others who were a little lost too. We finally found our way back on trail but we and our dogs were hot and tired (last week in August). Decided to cool off in the river and end our hike "early." Although technically we didn't end early we just didn't do the whole trail. We plan on going back again soon.

Stephanie Madsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 22 2019
Hiking

We had a great time on this hike. Me, my husband and our two kids 10 and under did great. We went to the Albert pile recreation area and then went up the gravel road (106) for 2 miles to get to the parking area. It was one lane part of the way, so you might have to back up to move for another car. You will cross the river about five minutes into the hike, so I recommend starting with your water shoes. Beautiful scenery all along. You will cross the river one more time before you reach the turnaround point where there is a beautiful swimming hole and a cool cave to check out. This is where we had lunch and headed back towards the car. The elevation is up and down both ways. There was quite a few hike in camping spots along the way if your an overnight hiker. I would definitely do this hike again.

Jeff Judkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 11 2019
Hiking

Got off trail early. Was easy to do since the view of the trail was blocked by a fallen tree. Got back on eventually and enjoyed the views. The water was great. Will go back.

Sarah Vanness
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 04 2019
HikingBugsMuddyOff trailOver grownRocky

So I read some reviews on this site before venturing out to do it and I don’t think some of the reviews do it justice. I followed the directions on AllTrails, easy enough to find. It will lead you to a parking lot, then a sign where there is a list of trails. Winding stairs is not listed but keep going, you’re going the right way. Go up the steep road, we were in a mini van and this was a MISTAKE. I would say do not go in a mini van or anything that probably couldn’t go on gravel and rocky roads because it was bad. The directions lead you to a parking lot that has absolutely no markings of where this parking lot leads, however you are still going the right way. There is a bulletin board with absolutely nothing useful, but keep going. Like another review said, take a left at the fork and cross the river where you see a tree with a blue marking, it is next to a huge rock in the river. MAKE SURE TO BRING ANOTHER PAIR OF SHOES OR PREPARED TO HIKE IN WET SHOES! I wore waterproof hiking boots but the water was high and went over my boot and into my shoes. My father crossed barefoot and he said it felt like stepping on legos. Then follow the white marked signs for the rest of the trail. It’s really not as hard as the reviews are making it out to be. The only time we had to go off trail is due to mud and a fallen tree we couldn’t go over. This trail does say dogs allowed, HOWEVER, it is very rocky and the rocks may scratch your dogs paws. We carried the dog for most of the way. Now the absolute worst part for us, was the amount of bugs on this hike. I didn’t believe the reviews about how many spiders there were, but they were EVERYWHERE. I don’t know what kind they almost looked like daddy long legs. This is the only hike my family and I have given up on and we have been to 7 national parks. My brother was walking when he felt something crawling on his ankle, and as he touched it hundreds of baby spiders covered his ankle and hand because he had stepped on spider eggs or a pregnant spider. The same thing then happened to my dad. It was so unpleasant we turned back. Now getting out of this park was equally as bad, we decided to not go out the way we came because the roads were very narrow and there was a lot of traffic and we felt it would’ve been stressful to go down steep hills on mud and rocks in a minivan. If you decide to leave this trail and go all the way around instead, I advise you to just go back the way you came. Going around was terrible as it’s just gravel and huge rocks and hills, and you go this way for around 9 miles. It takes forever, at least in a minivan. We did see people in four wheel drives and four wheelers so I recommend maybe renting one. We did pull up to a sign which pointed a way to the highway in 6 miles, and this was so much easier once we got to it because it turned into s regular road after about 3 miles. The trail was ok, not many views but I did only go halfway before turning around due to the bugs and mud and wet shoes. The river you cross is nice. So it’s up to you but I wouldn’t do this again.

John Goff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 27 2019
Hiking

This trail is great and despite being a little confusing on some spots, I’d definitely recommend it. The trail is marked but there are some places that could be better. When you leave the parking lot and pass the trash cans and bathrooms just head down until you’re close to the river and go left. A few hundred yards and you’ll cross the river to some stairs/steps leading up the hill on the other side of the river. Go left and follow pretty close to the river until the trail is more obvious. Luckily the trail is very well worn but there are trees down in multiple areas. Some of them you really have to detour around then find the trail again. There’s a few great swimming spots along the way and the water is pretty cool. Great for a hot day!

Ryan Newell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 04 2019
Hiking

We tried to hike this trail over the weekend. Unfortunately we were unable to complete the trail. It was very poorly marked. Wound up hiking a portion of the Eagle Loop Trail. The whole area is very nice and the water was a perfect temperature. Even with the mishaps we had a good time!

Fred Meisenheimer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 20 2019
Hiking

Did this trail today with wife, friends, and 4 boys under 8 yr old. We had a great time. Like others said, trail markers were difficult at times, and we got off trail a little, but we found our way and had a ball. Water was super cold. We stopped our hike at the Little Missouri crossing because it was just too deep and fast for the kiddos. We’ll definitely do this again soon!

Tonya Nix
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Apr 09 2019
Hiking

Really nice trail. Markings can be a little sketchy. Thankfully, I ran into two nice guys who gave me markers. Walk a little past the 1st marked creek crossing for an easier cross. After the equestrian trail hits the winding stairs trail, you will see several camping spots. Keep going along and the river will be on your left. When the river makes a hard left, the path will go down to the water. You should cross just above the rapids. You will travel through a little wooded area after the crossing and then see the river again on the right. The bluff and curves of the river are amazing. After you get to winding stairs, walk the trail until you see a creek coming into the river from the left. Walk along the rocks there for additional beauty. It’s awesome.

View Tonya's Recording
Brittney Jimmy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jan 04 2019
Backpacking

beautiful scenery and challenges that were fun. We highly enjoyed our stay here. https://youtu.be/SurUVq9Gfgk click the link to see :)

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