Winding Stairs Trail

MODERATE 52 reviews
#3 of 23 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.

4.8 miles
446 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash








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.

1 month ago

Great Hike! Beautiful views of mountains and river. Need river shoes to get to the end.

2 months ago

Took the dogs, great trail. The winding stairs at the end of the trail are worth the hike. The trail is a little confusing at first, but after you cross the creek just follow the white blazes and it's straightforward.

2 months ago

Our first true hike. Beautiful picture ops at the stream. We found we prefer a loop trail, as this is trail is an out and back. We reached the road at about the 3 mile mark, and wasn't sure where the trail continued from there.

4 months ago

Beautiful day hike!

4 months ago

Great place, wilderness camping. Several sites you can walk from car to, and lots along the trail, as well.

5 months ago

Headed out on a Monday afternoon. Only two other cars in the parking lot. If you've crossed the bridge into the Albert pile recreation area- head straight up the road with the amazing pot holes. The trailhead is 2.1 miles up that road. The trail itself is easy to follow if you have a keen eye and some route finding ability. It's clearly not used much. The white trail marks are the ones you want to follow. Turn left at the first fork from the parking lot and cross the river on your right. There are ample camp sites down this trail. Lots of bugs. We checked for ticks and got lucky. Lots of DEET :)

6 months 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

7 months 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!

7 months 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.

7 months 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.

8 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.

9 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.

11 months ago

God's creation

11 months ago

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

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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!

Monday, October 10, 2016

wonderful trail! the first time we def didn't take enough water and it seemed strenuous but then I did it 3 more times and it got easier each time! you've gotta cross the river twice but it's not that bad.... amazing scenery!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Was a great trail. Not marked well though. Relied on others at the beginning to show us where to cross the water to start. Walk along the path until you see the two markings on the tree with a log in the water. That's the first crossing.
When you come to the island in the water and the trail looks like it dumps right into the water and where you can see stair like rock formations, that's the second water crossing. Overall it was a gorgeous day to be outside and the hike was perfect.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The hike was great but difficult to find the trail head and definitely bring water shoes. You have to cross the river to start the trail and then again about 2.5 miles in. To find the trail head from the parking lot follow the trail down to the river and then look across the river for a tree with a blue marker and another with a white marker and that's where you want to cross.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Great hike! There are a few great stops in the river! Not to hard, not to long...great day hike!!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

As Ryan said the trail head is a bit off. Finding the trail can be a little difficult at times, we walked the river the first few miles and caught up to the trail after the first big bend. Definitely need water shoes, a must cuz bare feet on these rocks are brutal.

We talked to a few hikers that know the trail well, it is a part of a 27 mile trail that is a loop. I might be off on the miles, as I heard 25 as well. we spent the night about 3.5 miles in, and it was incredible. camp sites are plentiful and accessible. many right on the water the first 5 miles or so.

leaving we hiked up the mountain and left the river to the right, it's a steep clip at some points but is worth the time, the views are incredible.

we will be back on this one. And for some, there is some idiot that kept writing his initials all over the trail "JP" is NOT me.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Awesome trail. If you want to continue going after the first 3.5 miles or so (which I highly recommend... that part of the Eagle Rock Loop trail is beautiful), make sure to bring sandals to cross the river!

The trail head was down about another .5 miles from where its listed on AllTrails. After you park, walk past the sign, turn left at the intersection, then in a couple hundred feet turn right and walk across the fallen trees/rocks to get to the other side of the river. The trail doesn't seem to be clearly marked in the beginning...

Monday, March 07, 2016

Gorgeous trail! The beginning of the trail was terribly marked when I went, but it was well worth the time to pick the trail up. Beautiful scenery, with plenty of awesome deep swimming holes all along the way. There is a great place to camp for hammock campers against a bluff just off of a huge swimming hole. Has decent cover, close to water, place for a fire when permitted, and wonderful views. Make sure to take dry bags for anything you don't want wet. We crossed the river 4 times and one crossing was chest high for about 20 feet. Had a wonderful time on this trail, I definitely suggest backpacking this trail for a few days if you can!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A great day hiking.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

This trail was hit by high winds and a possible tornado on Memorial day. There are multiple trees down. The forest service and volunteers will hopefully start working on getting things cleaned up soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Please note that this trail is not open. We drove all the way out to it (a pretty good stretch of dirt roads) and it is not available. It looks like much of the area has not been taken care of since the flood.

Friday, April 24, 2015

i did this trail several times in my youth, and it is a great place for a group or single outing

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Moderately strenuous day hike with a great place for swimming, exploring, and relaxing at the end. Have done this trail 3-4 times a year for nearly 20 years.

Monday, September 30, 2013

We actually arrived at Winding Stairs from the south end of the Little Missouri Trail. Great day hike. A couple of primitive camping spots (there are more up and down the river). Lots of exploring to do, but I'll have to leave that for another day. Will definitely be back to that spot soon!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Great piece of the Eagle Rock Loop. Great if you only have 1 day and can't complete the entire Loop.

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