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

Caddo Gap, Arkansas Map
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hiking
1 day 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.

hiking
2 days ago

The first place to cross the river is close to the parking lot. Watch for red stripes hanging from the trees. Also, there is a tree with double white marking. Look on the opposite side of the river to see the trees with blue and white markings. After the first crossing follow the white markings. In difficult places like camping sites look for red stripes. The second river crossing is marked by red stripes and tree with double white markings.

great trail went from north end to the falls and back, took dog with us , plenty of water and camping spots

hiking
11 days ago

One of my favorites to hike. I start at the Little Missouri Falls rec area parking lot, and walk down to the falls. The falls tends to be busy on the weekends, and differs on appearance depending on whether the water is up or not. Either way, it's gorgeous scenery. You basically follow the river from there. Its easy to moderate, and great for beginners or people who want to do a light trek in the forest. Highly recommend!

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

Beautiful sights, however the ranger maps are very misleading and lack detail. The rangers themselves weren’t very knowledgeable about the trails. Got a little lost at first on the hike. The first Creek you come upon is Blaylock Creek. We mistook it for the little Missouri. Also, I’d recommend hiking early in the summer. That 95 degree sunny day had us melting. Not literally. Anyway, we weren’t able to finish the trail because once you cross Blaylock Creek it’s a pretty steep and rough hike uphill for a good while. Just keep going and it will eventually wind down to the Little Missouri River. Follow the white marks on the trees. They are old markings, but they are the correct ones. Pack plenty of water! It is very beautiful. Next time we will be prepared and it will be a memorable hike!

Overall this is a great trail for a day hike. We did come across one large group and two smaller groups that were camping. It is a little challenging in places, but the views and water make it worth while. Heading out we did lose the trail after we crossed the stream. It took some wandering and All Trails to get us back on course. The odd thing is that we were able to follow the trail all the way back to the stream with no difficulties.

This trail is extremely well shaded which was very nice for a summer hike. There are plenty of camp sites along the way. If you want to swim, wait until after you cross the Little Missouri River and go several hundred yards further. There are some really nice swimming holes.

Since it was summer and the temperature was in the mid 90sF, we carried a lot of water. We did not need to do that. You will be fine with just one bottle and a good filter.

In addition to the white rectangular blazes, there are a few places that have pink plastic markers hanging from the trees. These were helpful at the river crossing.

beautiful and challenging. well worth the trip.

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.

We had a blast on this hike! SO much to do... Always love going down here for the day. I also made a short blog about some diving we did! Please be sure to check it out

https://youtu.be/vVWvDsBg3NM

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful shaded trail along the river with great swim and fishing areas along the way. INCREDIBLE watering hole at the end! Absolutely wonderful! Crystal clear water with little waterfalls/slides. Not very well marked though. You will want to wear shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting wet (chacos and a swimsuit to change into or wear under clothes)

This is the way we went. Follow road according to the driving directions on All Trails. There is a parking/day camping area at the bottom before you go up, you loose cell signal soon after, but you will see a small sign for hiking trails pointing towards a fairly washed out road going up the hill. Take that road and go 2 miles (turns to gravel and is narrow but safe to drive cars). At the top there is a parking area on the left with a small bathroom. Signs will point to Eagle Loop (a 25 mile loop that is also on All Trails) follow the path and take a left at the fork, trail will follow the river (white blazes on trees). The path goes down to the river and you have to cross. There is a large boulder in the river with some steps leading up and a blue blaze on a nearby tree. Cross and follow the white blazes for the rest of the path. It is fairly well marked for the remainder of the trail.

About a mile and a half down the path there isn’t a good marking, but the trail again leads to the river (there’s a creek coming off the hill to the right, you turn left to cross the river) cross the river and continue following white blazes. We went to the large swimming area (we decided to name it “Bird Bath” Swimming Hole), had a great time, and turned around there and came back the same way.

hiking
1 month ago

This trails is very feature packed. Being interested in forest ecology and old growth, I have revisited this area a few times over the past 4 years. I have documented cut trees and radial growth estimates well over 150 years of age on the rugged edges of this trail. In particular, the Shortleaf pine trees on the ridge, before you drop to the creek, are doppled with a few gnarly trees well into maturity and oaks along the steep slopes appear to be about 120 years old at the oldest. With all that said this forest is a sight to behold. It represents a wonderful mixture of stream-edge hardwoods and xeric Shortleaf pine/ Bluestem. The Little Missouri is lined with Sycamores and Wild Hydrangeas that add a tasteful reflection to the waters below. My better-half enjoyed leisurely swimming here, in the heat of the day. I suggest taking this trail as an escape from the devilish summer heat. When you've finished counting growth rings on the stumps cleared for maintenance, head over to Brushheap mountain for a beautiful climb and some stunted oaks. Best of luck!

backpacking
1 month ago

A beautiful loop plenty of water great camping spots! If it your first time dont underestimate this trail it’s a tough one. I am definitely doing it again!!

backpacking
2 months ago

The reviews of this trail range wildly. But if you go no further than these two sentences the take home is that it’s not that difficult and the stream crossing are easy.

I went at the beginning of June and while it got warm in the afternoon most of the hike is shaded anyway so it didn’t matter much. I started at the trail head Little Missouri/Athens Fork junction at 8:00am. I hiked counter clockwise so I did the ridges first. While they weren’t easy the only one that’s challenging is Brush Heap.

First night I camped alongside the creek on the eastern portion (about 11.6 Miles from my start) of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. Arrived around 3:00pm.

I was going to camp a second night but the remaining sections of the trail were very straightforward and easy. I did lose the trail a couple of times at two of the stream crossings but found it quickly. I ended up hiking through this last day. Started at 9am and was back at the Missouri/Athens Fork trail head around 4:00pm.

backpacking
2 months ago

The reviews of this trail range wildly. But if you go no further than these two sentences the take home is that it’s not that difficult and the stream crossing are easy.

I went at the beginning of June and while it got warm in the afternoon most of the hike is shaded anyway so it didn’t matter much. I started at the trail head Little Missouri/Athens Fork junction at 8:00am. I hiked counter clockwise so I did the ridges first. While they weren’t easy the only one that’s challenging is Brush Heap.

First night I camped alongside the creek on the eastern portion (about 11.6 Miles from my start) of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. Arrived around 3:00pm.

I was going to camp a second night but the remaining sections of the trail were very straightforward and easy. I did lose the trail a couple of times at two of the stream crossings but found it quickly. I ended up hiking through this last day. Started at 9am and was back at the Missouri/Athens Fork trail head around 4:00pm.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous location. Not much of a hike. Just creek walking!

hiking
2 months ago

Sublime; the perfect trail in every way.

We did the full loop at a relaxed pace early summer. You don’t need to worry about drinking/carrying too much water, as you’re able to fill up very frequently. It’s worthwhile to camp by the river or a stream both nights.

backpacking
2 months ago

Loved it! It’s a good 2 nighter. Or if you want to run a marathon do it in one day!

Fun FIRST trail for my friends and I. We've been wanting to get our feet wet and this trail was perfect! It challenged our conditioning a bit and yet we still were able to enjoy the trail and scenic views. I would definitely recommend this trail/National Park to everyone! Can't wait to get back in October!! We saw several water moccasin snakes however as long as you respect them, keep your distance and go about your business all should be good. Happy Trails!

backpacking
2 months ago

This was my first time doing the ERL. Conditions were partly cloudy skies, light wind, and highs in the upper 80s. The river height at Langley read 3.27 ft. I hiked solo and my pack weight w/ 2 L of water was 27 lbs. I started around 8 am Friday and was back at my car around 6:30 pm Saturday.

I started at the Little Missouri Falls Trailhead and decided to do it clockwise as the elevation profile of Brush Heap Mountain is less intimidating going this way. The Little Missouri trail is beautiful and not terribly challenging other than needing good balance for stream crossings. Trekking poles are a must for balance unless you want to take a lot of unintentional dips in the river. There is a bit of a climb after the Albert Pike recreation area, but not too bad. The river crossing near the VB/LMR junction that is wet year-round has an island in the middle and is a great place to stop and take a dip in the river to cool off.

The Viles Branch horse trail was the least memorable part of the trail. It is fairly rocky at points and poorly blazed/difficult to follow. I saw just one snake the whole time, a water moccasin, near a creek crossing on this portion of the trail. I stopped and made camp at the SW corner of loop near the junction of the VB and ABF trails. There are a ton of camp sites along the trail and most appear to be frequently used and nice and flat. Most are within 25 ft of water. The amount of trash I saw at camp sites was disappointing though, and it was worse at campsites close to trailheads. I'll never understand hiking in with your heavy bud light, but being too lazy to carry the empty cans out.

I hiked out the next morning with fresh legs and hit the ridges on the ABF trail almost immediately. They are indeed pretty strenuous, but should be manageable for most people. Despite some areas with newly downed trees, this section of the trail was the easiest to follow. There is abundant water in all the valleys. Do the Vista trails on the two southern ridges. The views are awesome!

This is a great weekend trail and I may try to make a point of trying to do it once a year now. I'd do it with cooler weather next time though. By mid-May, the heat/humidity can really put a strain on you from about 1-4 pm. The trails are just starting to get overgrown in some sections and combined with poor blazing in some areas, it would be very easy to lose the trail frequently by early June. If you want isolation, try to do this trail in the middle of the week. I only saw a half dozen people on the trail Friday, but saw at least 3 dozen on Saturday, mostly large groups.

Do yourself a huge favor and download the Arkansas Hiker app and pay $5 for the ERL map. Keep your phone in airplane mode and it'll last forever. Every time you lose the trail, and you will several times, it'll help you get back on track.

backpacking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! From the Albert Pike Recreation Area, we drove about 6 miles of gravel roads to get to the Little Missouri Falls. We started at the Falls, backpacked for one night and came back out. The trail was fairly easy with some ups and downs. There were a few stream crossings, but the water was not super high in mid May. There was plenty of water for filtering, but not too high to make crossing difficult. This was our first time backpacking with our two large breed dogs, and it was the perfect trail. There were several great campsites along the trail that were easily accessible. Would highly recommend!

Trail has been popular on my visits. I meet 4 different sets of hikers on the last hike. This seems like a lot on trails in Arkansas.

Viles Branch isn’t clearly marked in some
spots and the trIal webs in a couple of places.

On Athens Big Fork most climbs are not bad. At 500 feet is when I start feeling a climb in my legs and most mountains are done at 500 (couple are not). Basically if you are climbing down or from a creek the climb will be longer and tougher.

General info: Take time hike the spurs. They offer good views. I would drop the hiking boots and go with trail runners since trail offers so many river and creek crossings. Plenty of campsites.

3 months ago

great trail with amazing views. there is a couple places along the trail that are poorly marked or not marked and have multiple trails which make it difficult to ensure your on the right trail with out walking down the trail a little ways

backpacking
3 months ago

27.3 miles. Started at Winding Stairs parking lot around 6:15 pm Friday, hiked clockwise and finished up at noon on Sunday. Climbs are strenuous which is made even worse by no switchbacks. Every ascent is straight uphill. I don't get it. WARNING: there are many side trails that aren't marked. Blazes can be spotty so it is very easy to go down the wrong trail. Viles Branch is the worst leg for not being well marked. Another difficult portion with few blazes is the leg between Albert Pike and Winding Stair. Water is plentiful. Ran into a Copperhead on Viles Branch and a couple rattlesnakes at Spirit Rock Vista. Watch your step! Eagle Rock Vista is the best view of the entire hike and not far off the main trail. When we went it was foggy but you won't want to miss it on a clear day!

3 months ago

One of my favorite backpacking loops. It's not an easy hike(I've seen grown Men cry on this loop) If you're up for a challenge the pay off is well worth it! Plenty of water crossings so you dont have to pack out a lot of water ♡ just pump as you go, stunning views, wildlife galore and it's a loop!
2 or 3 day hike depending on hiking experience/ability.
You should know that there is No phone service on this trail and I have only seen a Ranger two times out of the 14 times I've done this loop so once you're out there, you're on your own :) that's one of the many reasons I LOVE this Loop!

hiking
3 months ago

I parked at the forest service parking trailhead 2 miles sw of the Albert Pike rec area. (Off fs 106) and hiked clockwise from there. Definitely recommend this route. Not only do I think it’s the least strenuous route, it’s only 2 miles of gravel road to navigate your car on. I absolutely am terrified of gravel roads and destroying my car.
Anyway...on to the trail.

Did 8 miles trail hiking the first day (plus 4 miles for the parking, long story short. One cannot park overnight at the Albert pike rec area.) which included the little Missouri branch and eagle rock mountain, then 20 miles the second day, finishing up the other 5 and then it was kinda downhill back to the trailhead.
I’m not in shape, though I am not overweight, i do not regularly (or irregularly) work out. I “trained” by wearing 1.5 lb ankle weights everyday for a month beforehand. So this is challenging but I’d say just about any able bodied person can do it, if I can.
Also there is no cell signal anywhere on the trail. GPS works, thankfully. Without AllTrails I’d have really struggled with finding the trail again especially after water crossings (of which there are many) I consulted with 3 different misdirected hikers who were relying on compass and maps. (I have these items as backups — but have accepted the joy and ease that gps brings) It was indeed handy to be able to show them where we were. Just navigating the trails can be a little frustrating due to the signage. Especially, if like me you didn’t know the names of the trails “branches” of the eagle rock loop trail. These are available on the detailed section forest service maps.
Water is abundant. I had carried too much one 16 oz bottle on my shoulder, and a liter smart bottle in a side pocket (this I did not really need) but being a Texan it’s hard for me not to store extra water just in case.
There are rattlesnakes on the trail so beware. I ran into a little one right in the middle of the scenic trail up brush heap mountain. Just keep eyes peeled, they do blend in.
And, lastly, if you’re driving in the area at dawn or dusk beware the deer on/near the road. Definitely heed the posted speed limits, it’s for our safety and the local’s too.
Happy day and happy trails!

Awesome trail!!! Some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Makes me want to move to Arkansas. Countless water crossings, waterfalls and springs and allot of elevation on the western part of the loop. The southern part of the trail along the Viles branch and the southern part of the Little Missouri by winding stair I thought was the most beautiful. Lots of great camping sites. I can’t wait to return and do it again when it is warmer. We went in early April and a cold front had come in making it very cold especially because of all of the water crossings. I recommend wearing shoes that you don’t mind being wet.

3 months ago

Absolutely, my favorite hike in the area. Six Ridge Crossing’s on the north side of the loop are quite taxing. But the scenery and the beautiful forests make it all worthwhile. I plan on doing it again this fall just to experience the different colors.

hiking
3 months ago

It’s a strenuous one, but it’s beautiful! I do wish that they had the trails marked a little more… Sometimes it gets confusing. There are many incredible things to see on this trail though, So I think you’ll be pretty happy no matter what.

hiking
4 months ago

Went with two buddies. Added some extra stuff to make a total of 38 miles in 1.5 days. Was definitely a mental test. Numerous water crossings. Beautiful views. Very rocky terrain. If you aren’t experienced and/or want to enjoy it then take 2-3 days to do. Plenty of options for water refill/filtration. Bring water crossing shoes. Great weekend hike!!

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