Athens Big Fork Trail
The northern trailhead of this linear trail is located on Forest Road 25, approximately 3 1/2 miles northwest of Little Missouri Falls Recreation Area. This is also the northern trailhead for the Little Missouri Trail. The southern trailhead is located off Forest Road B23F. From State 246, 2 1/4 miles west of Athens, take Forest Road 38 toward Shady Lake. At about 1 mile, turn right on Forest Road 53800. Travel 7/10 of a mile on 53800 until reaching B23F on the left. The trail is about 1 mile on the left down this road.
This trail is a century-old mail route which originally ran uninterrupted from Athens to Big Fork. The trail is unique in this area, and strenuous, because it runs north-south across three mountains rather than east-west with the ridges and valleys. The views from the top of Big Tom Mountain, Brush Heap Mountain, and Eagle Rock Vista on Brushy Mountain offer fantastic Ouachita Mountain scenery. This trail, combined with the Little Missouri Trail and Viles Branch Equestrian Trail, forms loop of approximately 27 miles (See Eagle Rock Loop in the Backpacking and Wilderness Hiking section.)