Arkansas August 20, 2018
The One Incredible Trail That Spans Nearly The Entire State of Arkansas
The longest hike in Arkansas is along the Ozark Highlands Trail. This epic trail begins in the Lake Fort Smith State Park and currently ends around Lake Norfork. At over 230 miles, this trail is the ultimate backpacking experience. Fortunately the trail has been segmented into easier day trips so even casual hikers can enjoy its many splendors. Let’s see what fantastic sights await us along this epic trail.
The Ozark Highlands Trail is Arkansas' longest trail at 230 feet and counting.
Construction of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) began in 1977 and was officially designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1984. When it's finally finished, the OHT will stretch from Lake Fort Smith to connect to Missouri's Ozark Trail which will be nearly a thousand miles of hiking!
The trail begins at Lake Fort Smith State Park in Mountainburg.
The first six miles of the trail are within the state park. Casual hikers could easy create a getaway out of this first portion of the hike since the state park offers cabins, camping, and boat rentals. Explore the trail and then spend the night or continue along this epic trail.
The State Park is located at 15458 Shepard Springs Rd.,
Mountainburg, AR 72946.
The trail is absolutely filled with gorgeous spots.
It would be nearly impossible to list every single scenic spot along the trail, the entire hike captures the Natural State at its finest. For instance, within the first 20 miles of the OHT is the jaw-dropping White Rock Mountain. Head up to the overlook or spend the night at one of the nearby cabins.
Speaking of staying the night, you have quite a few options all along the OHT.
In addition to the state park at the beginning of the trail, the OHT travels through eight campgrounds and various cabin rentals. Primitive tent camping is fine along any part of the trail, just as long as you're at least 200 feet away from the trail or water sources. Try to stay in spots that have already been established and, as always, leave no trace.
The highest point along the OHT is at Hare Mountain.
Besides the fantastic views, the trail will also pass by numerous waterfalls. The Hare Mountain also has some interesting historic sites to visit.
About 67 miles into the trail is a beautiful area that's filled with waterfalls.
Known as the Eldridge Hollow Waterfall Area, this area is worth the stop. The trail zigzags through several streams and passes by about ten lovely waterfalls (depending on recent rains). For more details on this particular portion of the hike, click right
Another camping ground will be along Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area.
Around the 104-mile marker is the Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area. The 40-ft. wide waterfall is a perfect picnic spot or camping area. It wouldn’t hurt to take side trip to visit the nearby Pam’s Grotto and Pack Rat Falls. Read the full article right
You may want to spend some time at Hurricane Creek.
This is another area that could easily be its own little getaway. Hurricane Creek has plenty to explore, including an impressive natural bridge.
Perhaps one of the best stops along the trail is the Richland Creek Wilderness Area.
The OHT goes through the campground but there's so much more in the area to see! Countless waterfalls and scenic spots fill the area. For more details about this area, click right
Currently the OHT ends around Buffalo National River but we look forward to this trail continuing construction.
This was just a tiny collection of the magnificent sights to see along this Arkansas trail.
Be sure to research your OHT hike before setting off. A great resource to use is Tim Ernst’s
Ozark Highlands Trail Guide as well as the Ozark Highlands Trail Association website.
We would love to hear about your favorite spot along the OHT in the comments below! Share your photos with us in our Facebook Group,
Arkansas Nature Lovers. You should join for your chance to be featured and to discover why there’s nothing better than Arkansas’ stunning nature.
If you’re needing a smaller adventure, feel free to take the whole family along these