Best Hikes in Ouachita National Forest (AR)

Overview

The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, including most of the scenic Ouachita Mountain Range. Ouachita is the French spelling of the Indian word ‘Washita’, which means “good hunting grounds”. Outstanding mountain views coupled with picturesque streams, rivers, and lakes provide a unique and highly valued setting for outdoor recreation. The forest offers high quality nature related-sightseeing, scenic driving, hunting, fishing, and dispersed camping. More on the best hikes in Ouachita National Forest can be found below. Official Website.

StateArkansas; Oklahoma
Nearest Metro AreaLittle Rock, AR
Area Size1,784,457 acres
EstablishedDecember 18, 1907
Hiking Trails750 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Ouachita National Forest

(*** = Best Hikes in Ouachita National Forest)

Eagle Rock Loop*** – 26.8 miles loop

This trail offers the longest loop trail in Arkansas. A combination of the Little Missouri, the Athens-Big Fork and part of the Viles Branch Horse Trail, this trail travels through the southwestern portion of the Ouachita National Forest. Trail difficulty ranges from easy to most difficult. The trail has numerous river, stream and creek crossings and travels over nine mountains.

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail – 38.5 miles one-way

The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) travels up, down and along mountain slopes through a mixed hardwood and pine forest, opening up at several places to spectacular views of the lake before you. Beautiful displays of wildflowers await hikers and bikers during the spring and summer months. Along the trail, pits left by quartz speculators and the remains of a moonshiner’ still are evidence of the area’s colorful history.

Little Missouri Trail – 16.0 miles one-way

This trail winds along a portion of the Little Missouri River, a designated wild and scenic river. Cascading waterfalls, stately hardwoods, old-growth pine stands, wildlife, and seasonal leaf colors are just a few of the natural delights awaiting hikers. One of the most scenic areas, the Winding Stair area, offers breathtaking views of the forest, river, and large novaculite rock outcrops. This trail is fairly level with a few steep inclines. It crosses the Little Missouri River eight times and Crooked, Brier, Long, and Blaylock creeks once. Hikers should be careful when crossing streams. Rocks in streams can be slick and high water is dangerous after rain storms.

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