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Charlton Recreation Area - Day Hike Trails

Charlton Trail (F-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 4.5 miles one way
Time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Brochure: Available from Ranger District address

Location: West of Hot Springs on U.S. 270 for 20 miles

Description: This trail is moderately strenuous where it ascends and descends the ridgetop; otherwise, it is easily traveled. The trailhead lies directly behind the park’s amphitheater. The trail begins as a steep climb among large pines and hardwoods to the ridgeline above Walnut Creek. It then follows the ridgetop for about one mile, where it turns north and drops down the north slope of the mountain and through several hollows for approximately 3/4 of a mile. The next 1/4 mile lies within a stand of pine seedlings and saplings. Upon emerging from the young pine stand, the trail intersects Forest Road 47 and Walnut Fork Spring. This intersection is the midpoint of the trail and can serve as a drop-off/pickup point for hikers. From Walnut Fork Spring, the trail ascends a south slope to near the ridgeline, where it turns westward, skirting the ridgetop to an upland flat above Walnut Creek. It then rounds the point, crossing the ridge to descend a cool north slope to the trail’s terminus at a Corps of Engineers pavilion in Crystal Springs Recreation Area. The distance from Walnut Fork Spring to the pavilion is 2 miles. This trail is also quite popular with mountain bikers.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: The trail is under development and will eventually include around 40 miles when completed.
Time: Can be hiked in one go or sectored off into day hikes via various trailheads.
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate - Strenuous
Difficulty Comments: Varies; Easy- Strenuous

Location: The trail begins at Denby Bay where US 270 crosses the southern end of Lake Ouachita’s Denby Bay Recreation Area.

Description: When completed, The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) will include over 40 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the shores of Lake Ouachita. The trail is being built in sections and is a joint effort of many groups in the area to link the resorts and campgrounds around Lake Ouachita together via a trail system. The trail meanders through the Ouachita National Forest with spurs providing lake vistas. The LOViT Trail is sanctioned by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). For updated trail details visit www.lakeouachitavistatrail.com.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail -- Hickory Nut Mountain (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Difficulty Comments: Easy to Moderate

Location: This phase is 3.6-miles of downhill grades beginning at the picnic area atop Hickory Nut Mountain.

Description: The trail follows the south side of the mountain along the top of a large rock bluff before dropping onto an old logging road that parallels Hickory Nut Creek. This portion of the trail offers beautiful views of the valley south of the mountain as well as multiple waterfalls and cascades all along the creek. The trail termination and take out spot is at the junction of FS Roads 47 and 47A.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail -- Homestead Trailhead (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 2.75 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Difficulty Comments: Moderate

Location: The trailhead is located near the midpoint of the first section of the trail just off Shangri La Road.

Description: From this trailhead you can hike a 2.75-mile loop that will bring you back to your vehicle. This loop is a very moderate grade with almost no hills. There are multiple views of the west end of the lake and an interesting historical site just east across the road from the parking area of the old homestead’s root cellar and the old hand dug well.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail -- Joplin Trailhead (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Difficulty Comments: Strenuous

Location: This phase extends four miles from the trailhead just off Mountain Harbor Road to the picnic area on Hickory Nut Mountain.

Description: This is a challenging hike or ride with five bridgeless creek crossings and a mile of steep climbing with two sets of switchbacks. Once at the picnic trailhead, a short 1.1-mile hike on the mountaintop access road brings users to Hickory Nut Mountain Vista, which offers views on both the western half of the lake and the deep valley south on the Vista.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail -- Shangri-La Trailhead (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Difficulty Comments: Easy to Moderate

Location: Winding trail from the Shangri La (Tompkins Bend campground) trailhead parking area to the Joplin trailhead parking area on Mountain Harbor Road.

Description: The trail crosses many 400-hundred-year-old short leaf pines. There is a spur trail off this leg of the trail that is a 1.5-mile loop out to Eagle Vista that provides a view of the lake that, during the winter months, is home to several bald eagles.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail- -Denby Bay Trailhead (E-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Difficulty Comments: Easy to Moderate

Location: Begins at Denby Bay where U.S. 270 crosses the southern end of Lake Ouachita's Denby Bay Recreation Area and terminates at the Tompkins Ben Campground entrance near Shangri La Resort.

Description: The trail is light to medium grade as it meanders through several miles of high-canopy, old growth forest with multiple views of the lake. For a shorter hike option, the Homestead trailhead and parking area located on Shangri La road about 1.5 miles north of the U.S. 270 turn off. From this trailhead you can hike 2.9 miles south to Trail's End Road (Denby Bay) trailhead or 1.75 miles north to the Shangri La trailhead parking (adjacent to the entrance to the Tompkins Bend Campground).

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm

Prayer of the Woods Trail (F-3)

Park/Rec Area: Charlton Recreation Area
Region: Ouachitas
Length: 3/4 mile
Time: 1 hour
Brochure: Available from Ranger District address

Location: West of Hot Springs on U.S. 270 for 20 miles

Description: An easy one-hour hike along this interpretive trail allows visitors to see many of the 55 species of plants native to the area. Interpretive signs are located at key interest points. This loop trail was developed by the Forest Service as a cooperative project with the Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.

For Information: Womble Ranger District, 1523 U.S. 270 East, Mount Ida, AR, 71957, (870) 867-2101 www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm