Hike this Trail from Arkansas to Oklahoma

Are you an avid hiker seeking a challenging yet rewarding adventure? Look only as far as the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, which runs 224 miles from Arkansas to Oklahoma. 

This in-and-out trail covers two states and offers a unique hiking experience, with scenic views of pine and oak-covered mountains, valleys, and clear streams. During this trip, you may face challenges, including scarce water sources, poison ivy, and ticks. 

With adequate preparation and caution, this trail will surely provide an unforgettable experience for any nature enthusiast.

Hike the Ouachita National Recreational Trail

Facts:

  • 224 Mile Trail 
  • Time: 11-14 Days 
  • In-and-Out Trail 
  • Covers Two States 
  • Open Year Round

Features:

  • Scenic Views

About Ouachita National Recreational Trail

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a challenging yet rewarding hiking trail that spans approximately 224 miles from Arkansas to Oklahoma. 

 

The in-and-out trail has a total elevation gain of about 2,600 feet. Of the 224 miles, 192 are part of the Ouachita National Forest, and 31 are part of Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

 

The trail covers two states, with 177 miles in Arkansas and 46 miles in Oklahoma, meaning hikers will start their journey in one state and end it in another. 

 

The trailhead for Arkansas is at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, while Oklahoma’s trailhead is at Talimena State Park. 

 

The trail is well-maintained, although some areas may be overgrown during summer. Hiking the entire 224-mile route is best during early spring or fall, as the summer heat can make walking difficult, especially with the lack of water access throughout the trail. Streams tend to dry out from July to August, making finding reliable water sources challenging.

 

The Ouachita Trail has blue markings every 50 to 100 feet to indicate the path, and the trail is very well-marked throughout, making it easy to follow. If you decide to hike the trail during hunting season, ensure everyone in your group wears hunter orange.

 

During the hike, you will experience stunning scenic views of pine and oak-covered mountains, valleys, and clear streams. The trail takes an average of 11-14 days, providing ample time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the forest and woods. 

The trail has challenges, including scarce water sources, poison ivy, and ticks. Therefore, it’s crucial to be adequately prepared and cautious while hiking. Bringing plenty of water, bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit is necessary. Hikers should also have a mini handheld GPS satellite messenger to send SOS messages from anywhere globally. 

Therefore, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail offers a unique and rewarding hiking experience for those up for the challenge. 

With stunning scenic views, well-maintained trail markers, and essential mile markers, this trail is an excellent choice for those seeking a multi-day adventure. 

If you’re ready for a challenging yet rewarding adventure, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail awaits you.

Important Mile Markers

Mile markers are only for the 192.5 miles that are part of the Ouachita National Forest. The additional 31 miles are part of Pinnacle Mountain State Park and are not included in the following. 

  • 7.3 Miles: Bohannon Creek (water source) 
  • 8.0 Miles: Deadman’s Gap 
  • 13.4 Miles: Cedar Branch 
  • 23.7 Miles: Winding Stair Trailhead/Campground (Closed in winter)(no water) 
  • 29.9 Miles: Big Cedar Creek 
  • 36.7 Miles: Wilton Mountain; Campsites (no water) 
  • 39.2 Miles: Kiamichi River (water/campsites) 
  • 40.9 Miles: Kiamichi River Crossing (Use your best judgment when crossing water) 
  • 43.1 Miles: Final Kiamichi River Crossing (Fill up on water) 
  • 48.4 Miles: Microwave Tower (Scenic Outlook) 
  • 51.6 Miles: Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge (Restaurant and Rooms) 
  • 51.8 Miles: Lover’s Leap Overlook 
  • 58.5 Miles: Eagle Gap (water) 
  • 67.2 Miles: Waterfall (scenic) 
  • 94.5 Miles: Big Brushy Campground with Water 
  • 101.1 Miles: Fiddler’s Creek (Reliable Water) 
  • 105.6 Miles: Rainy Creek (Reliable Water) 
  • 116.7 Miles: Story Creek (Reliable Water) 
  • 122.6 Miles: Go Left to John Archer Trail Shelter
  • 127.5 Miles: Bill Potter Trail Shelter (Steep Climbing coming back) 
  • 128.8 Miles: Irons Fork Creek (Water) 
  • 134.0 Miles: Big Branch Trail Shelter (Steep Climb coming back) Reliable Water) 
  • 143.2 Miles: Blue Mountain Shelter 
  • 158.4 Miles: Moonshine Shelter
  • 163.9 Miles: Sugar Creek (Unreliable water source) 
  • 167.4 Miles: Oak Mountain Trail Shelter
  • 170.6 Miles: Green Thumb Spring (Reliable water) 
  • 182.5 Miles: Brown Creek Trail Shelter
  • 187.3 Miles: Lake Sylvia Campground 
  • 192.5 Miles: End of Trail 

Trail Rules:

  • Horses, pack animals, and vehicles are not allowed on the trail. 
  • According to the trail rules, camping must set up at least 100 feet away from the trail.
  • Wash clothes and dishes 100 feet from trails, lakes, or streams.
  • Dig a 6-8 inch hole at least 100 feet from the trail, water, or campsite to bury human waste. 
  • Bathing must be at least 100 feet from the lake or stream to prevent water pollution from soap.

In conclusion, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail offers a unique and rewarding hiking experience for those up for the challenge. 

With stunning scenic views, well-maintained trail markers, and essential mile markers, this trail is an excellent choice for those seeking a multi-day adventure. 

If you’re ready for a challenging yet rewarding adventure, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail awaits you.

Backpacking Safety Tips

  • Register with a park ranger so they don’t tow your car isn’t abandoned. 
  • Let a friend or family know you are going on this trip so they can contact the local authorities to search for you if you don’t return. 
  • Print any maps needed and bring a compass if your cell phone dies or you don’t get service.
  • Bring a Mini Handheld GPS Satellite Messenger, allowing you to trigger an SOS message from anywhere globally.
  • Bring plenty of water. Depending on the time of year you take this trip, there may be little water.

What to Bring on a Backpacking Trip:

  1. Headlamp & Flashlight
  2. Extra Batteries
  3. Whistle 
  4. Navigation
  5. Portable Phone Charger 
  6. Camera
  7. Mini Handheld GPS Satellite Messenger
  8. Knife
  9. Sunglasses 
  10. Sunscreen 
  11. Lots of Food
  12. Bug Spray
  13. Waterproof Matches 
  14. Water Canteen 
  15. Clothes 
  16. Rain Poncho
  17. First-Aid Kit 
  18. Sleeping Bag 
  19. Tent 
  20. Toilet Paper
  21. Water Filter

Important Information to Know Before You Go

Water is scarce throughout the trail. Water sources are not guaranteed and are known to evaporate completely during hot summer. Ensure you have plenty of water. Bring more than you think you need! Poison Ivy is throughout the route. The path has lots of ticks. 

Sara Elizabeth

About Author, Sara Elizabeth
Writer, Amora V Lifestyle
Co-Owner of AmoraVBoutique.com

Sara is a writer for Amora V Lifestyle and is Co-Owner of Amora V Boutique. Sara previously worked as a Marketing Manager and has her Master’s from Lindenwood University.

Sara studies everything of interest, from psychology, recipes, finances, mental health, and travel, thriving to find happiness and to live a good life.

When not learning, Sara loves all things outdoors, food, and hanging around great company. Furthermore, Sara loves spending time with family, who she is blessed to have in her life.

Note from the author: Through my articles, I hope to bring you joy and peace and that you enjoy it!

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