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.
|Nearest Metro Area||Little Rock, AR|
|Area Size||1,784,457 acres|
|Established||December 18, 1907|
|Hiking Trails||750 miles|
HEY YOU, reading this page! Help me, help you – we make a small commission every time an item or piece of gear is purchased after clicking on the links on our GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS pages. If you are in need of some new BOOTS, a new TENT or SLEEPING BAG, TREK POLES, etc. please consider buying after clicking on one of the links on our site! At no additional cost to you, it helps us keep posting more great hiking recommendations for our readers! Happy Hiking!
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.
Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on:
And more! Just click HERE