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Albert Pike Recreation Area - Day Hike Trails

Athens Big Fork Trail (F-2)

Park/Rec Area: Albert Pike Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 10.1 miles one way
Time: Allow at least 10 hours total hiking time
Difficulty: Strenuous
Brochure: Available from the Ranger District address

Location: Turn north off Ark. 84 at Langley onto Ark. 369 for six miles.

Description: 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 one 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 one mile on the left. This trail is a century-old mail route which originally ran uninterrupted from Athens to Big Fork. It 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. Combined with the Little Missouri Trail and Viles Branch Equestrian Trail, it forms a loop of approximately 27 miles (See Eagle Rock Loop in the Backpacking and Wilderness Hiking section.)

For Information: Caddo Ranger District, 101 Smokey Bear Lane, Glenwood, AR, 71943, (870) 356-4186 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Little Missouri Trail (Albert Pike Rec Area) (F-2)

Park/Rec Area: Albert Pike Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 16 miles
Time: 15 hours
Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous
Difficulty Comments: (depending on water crossings)

Brochure: Available from Ranger District address.

Location: Turn north off Hwy. 84 at Langley onto Hwy. 369 for six miles

Description: Beginning in Albert Pike Recreation Area, this trail follows the Little Missouri River upstream to Little Missouri Falls Recreation Area and beyond. The trail can be accessed at Little Missouri Falls or at a trailhead on Forest Road 25, approximately 3 1/2 miles northwest of Little Missouri Falls. This terrific trail winds along the banks of the Little Missouri River, an area long known for its scenic beauty. It offers outstanding views of waterfalls, wildlife, and hardwood and old growth pine stands. It also offers access to the river for some great fishing opportunities. The trail is popular with both day and overnight hikers. The trail is fairly level, but it does cross the river three times (including the dam at Little Missouri Falls) and three major stream tributaries. Bridges are planned for these water crossings; but, at the time of this printing, there are no bridges. There are times during excessive runoff when these streams are not fordable.

For Information: Caddo Ranger District, 101 Smokey Bear Lane, Glenwood, AR, 71943, (870) 356-4186 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Winding Stairs Trail (F-2)

Park/Rec Area: Albert Pike Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 4.8 miles one way
Time: 4-5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Turn north off Hwy. 84 at Langley onto Hwy. 369 for 6 miles.

Description: Beginning at the Little Missouri trailhead in Camp Area B, or the Winding Stairs trailhead approximately 2 miles west of Albert Pike on Forest Road 106, the trail follows the Little Missouri River downstream to the National Forest boundary. The southern trailhead can be accessed by gravel roads off State 84. Take the first gravel road 2.7 miles west of Langley and head north. The road forks at an intersection after approximately 1.1 miles. The road at the intersection (adjacent to a large chicken farm) either turns left or goes straight. Take this left turn and follow it 2.2 miles to the trailhead on the river at Musgrove Hole. These intersections should be signed in the near future. This road is currently very rough near the end. This trail follows the Little Missouri River and allows access to an area known for its scenic beauty, popular swimming holes and challenging fishing opportunities. There are cascading waterfalls, abundant wildflowers and impressive spring and fall colors which contribute to the popularity of this trail. The trail provides several spectacular overlooks of the river. The most scenic spot on the trail is where Raven Branch flows into the river. There are large novaculite outcroppings overlooking the river which make this a popular spot for photographers. This trail is popular with both day and overnight hikers. This trail, combined with the Little Missouri Trail, provides about 16 miles of trail along the Little Missouri River.

For Information: Caddo Ranger District, 101 Smokey Bear Lane, Glenwood, AR, 71943, (870) 356-4186 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm