Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Arkansas with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

Hiked this clockwise from winding stairs last week with my brother and his son. What we loved about the trail: there was a lovely stream along the trail at almost every point along the way, the campsites were plentiful and well-maintained, there were beautiful wildflowers blooming, and for the most part the All Trails app was incredibly helpful. Some downsides: the trail is pretty poorly marked, the peaks are below tree line (so no rewarding views after the pretty challenging climbs), the footing is tricky in multiple areas due to small sharp loose rocks. It was a great workout and we had a great time. We chose it after scratching our plans to hike in NC due to less chance of rain. None of us had cell signal for the three days we were on the trail, but that is a plus to me. We hiked Sunday to Tuesday, only seeing three people early Sunday, and no one else the rest of our hike. Loved getting to cool off in the stream at the end of each day, and grateful for the - very basic but functional - showers in the bathrooms at the entrance to Alber Pike Park.

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.

Long hike to get to the Goat trail, but it’s worth the trip. We arrived at 6:30am to beat the heat. Being the first ones on the trail there were tons of spider webs, just like many others have mentioned. We also saw a small snake.

Round trip: 7.3miles
Elevation gain: 2,014ft
Time: 4hours

decent trail beginner level, plenty of water and campsites
good for a day hike

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.

The hike there and back is not easy but the falls!!!! What a spectacular bluff. So much larger than I’d imagined. It was like walking into a cathedral, it creates a magical space to be in. There was only a trickle, but it was still beautiful. There is poison ivy around on most of the trail, but also so many lizards and butterflies. The way back up is serious with large rock steps and large rocks to climb on the way.

Beautiful fall !!

My husband and I hiked this loop in two days. We got the summits knocked out the first day. The 5th summit is by far the hardest depending on which direction you start. If you have the time you should camp out on top of one of the mountains. They each have a campsite set up and the views are amazing (and the only part of the entire loop where you get some cell service). We hiked the first part of August and there was always a great breeze....never too hot. The Little Missouri trail had some areas we got turned around and was not marked very well but beautiful views. You definitely need water shoes!! Make sure you have great shoes...the majority of the trail is over rocks so your feet will be sore! Beautiful hike and highly recommend

backpacking
16 days ago

My wife and I along with another couple backpacked Sneed's Creek and then back to the Compton trailhead by way of Hemmed in Hollow. Very beautiful! Even though the waterfall was merely just a sprinkling of water it was still amazing to see the size of the wall! Hiking back to the trailhead with our backpacks on was extremely difficult, but exceptionally beautiful. Definitely a hard trail on the uphill hike to the trailhead. Would love to see the waterfall during the wet season. Next time may use this trail as a starting point and not an ending point.

backpacking
16 days ago

Very beautiful even during the dry season. My wife and I, along with another couple backpacked Sneed's Creek from the Compton trailhead and then looped back by way of Hemmed in Hollow. Sneed's Creek was somewhat overgrown and hard to see the trail, but was very beautiful nonetheless. We camped north of the old homestead near where Sneed's Creek feeds into the Buffalo River. Many primitive campsites were along the trail. We filtered all of our water from the Buffalo, however, I wouldn't recommend drinking straight from the source. Definitely a hard hike with a backpack but very well worth it.

Attempted to make a 2 mike hike in and set up for the night but had to get hundreds of deer ticks off immediately after stopping to set up. Not exactly the trails fault but I don’t think it is traveled enough for there to not be a problem with ticks. Had good hills right away which seemed very promising!

backpacking
23 days ago

Me and a friend recently hiking the BHT on the hottest day of the summer so far and besides the heat and ridiculous amount of seed ticks, it was a pretty good hike. We hiked it in a day and a half, camping at Junction Camp overnight. The camp areas are well maintained and a lot of them include rock furniture. There are a couple of swimming holes that you can veer off the main trail to see that are a great way to stay cool. There's quite a bit of hiking up hill and down hill on loose rocks, some parts of the trails are better kept than others. From miles 8-11 it was very overgrown when we hiked, almost to the point where we had to guess where the trail was. This hike has some good overlooks, and rock overhangs to check out. I just suggest bringing plenty of water in the summer and covering up. It's not enough to just treat your clothes with tick repellant. Also lots of spier webs when we hiked but if it's a busy time of year then they should be cleared out you :)

"Moderate Hike" only applies to the trail down, and should be rated "HARD" on the way back, as it's all uphill over rocky terrain. We love the hike down the river, as not many people make it to this part of the river in the middle of summer (not enough water to float), so it can be very private. Watch out for SNAKES. We saw a fully grown Timber Rattler slither across the trail around 2pm on 7/22/18 roughly 8 foot ahead of us. When i say fully grown, I mean 4 foot long and 10-12 inch around.

beautiful and challenging. well worth the trip.

Definitely not my favorite trail to go hiking on. Take tons of water with you. My friend and I arrived at the trail at 10:00 am, it was about 77 degrees out. Getting to the bluff was not too bad besides walking through thousands of spiders. (If you are the first one on the trail, take something with you so you can get the spiders out of the way.) On the way back we almost died (somewhat being dramatic but not really.) It was 95 out when we began our hike back. So stay hydrated!!

The end result is absolutely beautiful. However, what some people fail to mention is the amount of spiderwebs you have to hit down. My friend and I were the first hikers of the day—we had to knock down (not exaggerating) about 100 spiderwebs WITH spiders on them.

We got to the (beautiful) bluff, hung out for awhile, and went back. The hike back nearly killed us. It was pushing 100 degrees and the hike up the mountain was horrid with all of the bugs buzzing around.

I would advise doing this trail when it’s cooler out because of the amount of bugs, spiders, and hills you’ll have to go up.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike isn't too difficult and the view is AMAZING. There is a place in the bluff where you need to crawl through a small opening, which may be difficult for dogs and some people. One of the most beautiful views I've ever seen.

hiking
1 month ago

There were numerous spots where we had to cross streams. At one point near the end, we were staring across a river at the spot where the trail continued... on the other side.

backpacking
1 month ago

At the beginning of the trail, it's pretty straight forward and easy to follow, but once you make the turn off to go on to the actual Black Fork trail, there are no more blazes to mark the trail. Not far past this turn, you come up to a shelter, but it's not technically on the trail. Just before you make it to the shelter, someone has marked the path with red ribbon on a few trees. This was the only way we were able to find the path from here. The path is easy to follow from there until you get to the end of the "U" (its the "V" on AllTrails). We completely lost the trail there even after heavily relying on the Ouachita National Forest Map I got on Avenza Maps.

The trail is heavily overgrown in parts with thorny vines that were not fun to get through. I don't know if we were more focused on trying to stick to the trail, but we also never found the vistas that were the main reason we planned to do this hike. Maybe we just missed something, I don't know...

I do not recommend this trail at all because of the vines and the trail being so hard to follow. Definitely more of a frustrating hike than we were wanting.

Hiked this trail today. We ended up going close to 7 miles round trip. The trip down to the bluffs is pretty rocky so you .definitely need good shoes and some poles would be good too. It is mostly downhill in and mostly uphill out. But so worth it! We didn’t go the whole way in the goat trail but the part we did see was pretty amazing and we saw some amazing rock formation in the bluffs. One part looked like some kind of cave dwelling the view of the buffalo river was also pretty spectacular as well. I would like to come back in the fall when there aren’t as many trees blocking the view on the way to the bluffs.

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Spent the weekend here at the beginning of June. The trail is clearly marked, but very overgrown and sometimes hard to see past the overgrowth. There's a beautiful campsite near a creek and one right past a dirt road. Plenty of camping spots near the waterfalls. It was strenuous. The climbs can be rough. A lot of loose rocks and larger rocks and roots. Wear very comfortable shoes that are water resistant. You have to cross some creeks.

Nicely kept. Well marked and easy to follow. Gets muddy fast and there are tons of different rock sizes throughout the path. Be sure to wear supportive shoes. We went in summer so the hike was pretty much just through tree canopies without much of a view but he bluff has a great view for a lunch time stop. Overall a pretty hike with a challenging hike back the the trailhead.

Tough Trail but we really enjoyed it. It rained 2 days before we started so there were 2, shin high, water crossings before getting to Barkshed campsite the first night. You can filter water from those locations and also at Barkshed. Ticks we're in abundance! We lost count how many were on our bodies and inside our tent.

backpacking
1 month 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.

A must hike if you are in the area. It’s worth driving down from KC, as did a couple I met on the trail. Not a solitude hike - I met 10+ people and two horses on the trail, and more at the trailhead. If you need to cool off after, hop in the Buffalo at Ponca.

Beautiful geology...took my 7 and 8 YO niece and nephew...they did great...planning on coming back in the Fall

3.5/5
The views from the outcropping are one of a kind. You can see the river and surrounding terrain for a great distance, and everything looks kind of stereoscopic from that height. There are some cool formations and paths in the outcropping itself, too.
The views along the way, however, aren’t good. In fact, you’ll spend most of your time looking down to find sure footing on the chunky/rocky path. The view is definitely worth the hike, but you’re looking at ~2hrs of sort of boring travel in order to see it.

This trail was intense. Pretty difficult. I did it as an overnight. It has some very beautiful spots along the way but the rocky terrain chewed my feet up. Make you have good boots that fit well. Junction camp is not easy to find. Stay at rock hole. It’s nice there in the evening. I shared part of the creek that night with a beaver. He was chill, though. It’s pretty dry out there right now, which was a bummer. Looking forward to doing this trail again in the fall.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hiking trail! It's well kept, and marked good enough to reach the end and back with no issue. Waterfall is AMAZING, but more for its structure than anything else. Highly recommended if you can appreciate an aggressive hike from the Compton Trailhead. River was dry so no human traffic from river. We saw more wildlife than humans which is the kind of trail we like. Ran across 2 primitive camp sites, but no camping near the fall. A few pointers...remember, it's down and back (which is up) from the Compton Trailhead. If you can't walk or run 5k on flat ground, then this trail is not for you. Watch for rattlesnakes. We saw 3-4 ft rattler on the rock steps. If you use the post office as a landmark to find the trailhead, it's gone...looks burned down. Overall, a fantastic hiking experience!

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