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

All I have to say is breathtaking views!!

great trail. It was great for a family. I had a 12 and 15 year old with me. They enjoyed it. It had a lot of rocks and a few hills.

This was my first trail to backpack and stay over night on! Looking forward to going again. Well marked with great views.

Great hike! We started on Caney Creek trail and finished with the Buckeye trail. The Buckeye trail is more strenuous-moderate in some areas. It is also overgrown in some spots making it difficult to navigate, but luckily our dogs have great trail instincts so we didn’t get off track. The sites at the top of the mountain were beautiful. We started Caney Creek trail around noon and finished Buckeye trail right before 6 pm, clocking about 29,000 steps. I would definitely recommend this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

cool day but so worth the trip. only took an hour but we stopped an took pics. would easily bring the grandkids to enjoy

We parked at the Caney Creek East trailhead and started heading UP the road for the 1.1 mile hike to the Buckeye Mountain trailhead. It was raining the entire time we hiked although we had a nice evening by the fire to dry out our wet gear!
This trail is every bit as strenuous and beautiful as others have stated. I of course was not prepared physically and it truly kicked my fat butt! Plan on mostly uphill for the first couple hours or more!
Katy Falls was very nice and the water was nice and cold. We hiked in crocs via the stream from the falls back to the campground. We had planned to stay a 2nd night but the rain was relentless so we hiked back to the car via the creek east trail.
Very tall and thick underbrush in a few spots which made the trail a little hard to follow at times but if you pay attention you will see the path.
Overall a nice yet challenging trail.
Took us 5 hours to hike to the falls area with lots of breathing breaks!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with amazing views.

From the trailhead at 270 to about half mile past the pond, is good and open trail. Past that it was walking through the woods. About 2 miles worth. Briars everywhere, maybe cause it was the end of summer, but I haven’t cussed that much in forever. Dwarf oaks were cool though. I finally made it to the peak. If I ever go back, it’ll be when the forest is thinner. Like spring.

This was a butt kicker. Definitely take trekking poles as everything is up or down at 20 degrees +. Plenty of places to get water to filter and camp sites. Be prepared to traverse streams and get your feet wet. FYI - Forest Road 38 is also Polk 83. I drove past it several times before I saw this. There is also a Caney Creek Wildlife Mgmt. Area sign.

Good luck!

backpacking
2 months ago

Completed this trail as part of the Eagle Rock Loop trail. Did in clockwise so I did the Athens-Big Fork trail going south to north.

Both Eagle Rock Vista and Brush Heap have side trails to overlooks which I highly recommend. Gorgeous views. Camped on top of Leader Mountain. There was a nice open spot with a firepit right when you get to the peak.

This was a great, challenging hike. Going south to north, I would say going up Leader Mountain was the most challenging section. Pretty sure it is not the longest incline but it was UP all the way.

Trekking poles are a must here in my opinion!

Go down over the tracks and take a left from viewing area at the lodge. Awesome views and macro environment.

Go down over the tracks and take a let from viewing area at the lodge. Awesome views and macro environment.

backpacking
4 months 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.

As a beginner, the section of trail of I picked was all i wanted. The trail system is very well maintained with minimal obstacles to negotiate. I didn't find any senic overlooks on this ride, but that is not to say there aren't any. I highly recommend this ride for it's easy access right outside of Mena, AR. I will definitely ride it again! ✌

Great scenic views! Nice little hike around the lodge.

Good hike... the rocky terrain makes it a little more fun you have to be mindful of your steps.

Love this, been coming here since I was a kid doing the east caney Creek to Buckeye Loop, easy trail on the bottom and vigorous hike on the top.

hiking
6 months ago

Super short distance. Don't let that deter you from hiking this beautiful trail. Steeper decent than usual did this area. Climb out is really good for a work out. I ran the up hill part trying to make up for time (Rocky terrain will slow you down). I also did the Reservoir trail for kicks. Good work out on both trails. I really enjoyed this short trail.

I did the Buckeye trailhead to East Caney Creek trailhead and walked back up the road to Buckeye. This was an exhausting 8hr hike, I took many breaks and explored the sites.
This is also one of the best trails I have done, from the views, waterfall, creek crossings, wildlife, and solitude. I will say, all of the down trees on the path made the going tough sometimes, but provided excellent resting spots. I would start this trip well before noon if you want to make it out before dark.

this trail is not for the faint of heart.. but it truly is an amazing trail... like all the other comments...I suggest you take water as there is none from the trailhead to Katy falls... were asking the way you can see several breath taking views... VERY nice trail.. yes there is a couple of spots that have you walking threw under brush... but very worth it... I will be doing this trail again with better prep... underestimated this trail... so you should always read the reviews... LoL.. loved it..

Fun hike. Recommend having the Ouachita Trail map from Backcountry Maps. It shows the lookout locations and more detail on the trail.

The scenic view is about 2.5 miles in from the trailhead. There are very few blazes, but this part of the trail is pretty easy to follow. There is a vertical post (sign missing) just before the overlook. You will see some tumbled rocks on the left that lead to boulders you can climb on. Worth the view even if this is as far as you get.

The remaining trail can be hard to see in some places. Periodic rock tumbles require you pick your way and find the trail on the other side. Helpful hikers have stacked rock piles to ease the way, but it’s still easy to miss the trail in places.

After the big U in the trail (looks like a V in AllTrails), you descend to a lower trail on the ridge. This also continues to the east (not shown on the map) so mark where you join the trail after the U. This will keep you from continuing on the lower trail upon your return.

Nice trail, well marked.

Like a few others i did the Buckeye Trail down to Caney Creek and then east on the Caney Creek trail over one night. This was toward the end of march, high 60;s outside which was perfect. Make sure you have plenty of water because after the Buckeye trailhaid there is no water till you get to caney creek. I parked at the Caney Creek Trailhead and walked the extra mile back up the road to the Buckeye trailhead. once you get to caney creek and you want to camp stay right at the fork and keep the river to your left for about .15 miles or so and you will find a clearing to camp at. There were plenty of other campsites to stay at as well that people made themselves but they werent in a designated camping area. The hike out of Caney Creek was amazing and super relaxing. Most of it following next to the creek and pretty easy going. Lots of water along the way and a easy 4 miles out.

We paired this trail with the caney creek trail for a nice one night backpacking loop. We parked our car at the east caney trailhead and walked about a mile up the gravel road to the buckeye trailhead. Both trailheads are well marked and have plenty of parking. The buckeye is rated as moderate and I believe that is an accurate description. It’s has some decent climbs but nothing too taxing or that lasts for too terribly long. I read where others had some issues following the trail but we didn’t experience any of this. This may be due to the time of year we went which had decreased underbrush. The views along the ridge of the buckeye were vast and the rock formations along this and the caney were impressive. There’s a few good areas to stop and rest or have a snack. Be sure to pack all the water you will need as there is no water for filtering along the ridge. We hiked about 4.5 miles on the trail (not including the 1 mike hike to the trailhead) and arrived at Katy falls. We ended up camping at a spot above the falls and up the stream a bit. It was secluded and peaceful with a nice fire ring and the stream near by for a water source. The falls were a great place for our dog to swim in the pool below and a great place to hang out for lunch. After a good nights rest we joined up with the caney creek trail and headed east. We passed several nice campsites, both near the stream, where the trails merge. The caney creek trail passed through a beautiful forest area and was near the stream for the majority of the hike. There were several campsites along this portion of the trail as well. As with the buckeye, there were a few areas with some elevation gain but nothing too severe. It’s a shady area for the most part unlike the ridge of the buckeye which could also get a bit breezy. After about 4 miles we were at the east caney trail head and at the end of our hike. This was our first time to this area and we can’t wait to go back again.

In my opinion, this is the best one night loop trail in Arkansas. Big views, great campsites, water features, light traffic. I would warn any prospective hikers that there are no blazes on the trail. If you aren't a competent navigator, you will struggle. Also, getting to Katy Falls is challenging if you don't want to get wet. It's approximately 0.25 miles off trail, up Katy Creek.

Nice hike. Not marked well. Several trees on trail and some that are hanging that needs to be removed. Beautiful views

backpacking
9 months ago

I did this trail on 1/26-1/27 and at the first switchback on the map the trail disappears. I don’t know if it’s the season and the leaves, limbs, etc had covered the trail but I stayed on the map trail 5 miles in and never saw a sign of a path. Finally set up camp at the nearest stream because water is scarce. Very rocky and slick (rained during the evening and throughout the night) with briars all over the mountain. Anyway, I don’t recommend this trail during the winter months due to path visibility.

Nice paved trail with interpretative signs along the way. There are also several benches for resting. There is an old homestead site halfway down, with a cellar, cistern, and stone well. The well is capped with a metal grate, but the cistern and cellar are open (though not terribly deep), with a simple chicken wire fence. Keep a hand on your younger wanderers there. Otherwise, it's a nice refreshing walk, especially if you've been driving the Talimena. If you'd like something a wee bit more challenging, the Settler's Trail branches off of this one.

This is an awesome trail, but it is most definitely not easy, and Queen Wihelmina rates it as moderate. There are several rockfalls and boulders to climb over. The end of the trail is also quite steep, so I would echo another reviewer and suggest doing it backward. This is not a trail for anyone with joint issues or anything that affects your endurance. I have stress-induced heart palpitations, and my heart rate was in the 150s by the time we reached the end. It is a very beautiful and interesting trail for those without these issues, though. My four little girls absolutely loved it!

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