Hiking at Lake Ouachita State Park

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Whether you’re on the lookout for a casual stroll or a vigorous workout, hiking in Arkansas is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the Natural State. Arkansas’s climate allows hiking year round and the state’s diverse topography offers a range of scenic territory to explore.

Among the parks offering great hiking options is Lake Ouachita State Park in Mountain Pine.

Caddo Bend Trail entrance sign. Photo by Z. Clift.

A highlight of the park is the 4-mile Caddo Bend Trail. As to details of the trail, nature lovers will enjoy the scenic beauty it provides. This popular four-mile loop trail is on a peninsula in Lake Ouachita State Park near Hot Springs. The trail, which has rolling terrain, begins near the park amphitheater and circles the entire peninsula back to its beginning. Expansive views of Lake Ouachita, quartz crystal outcroppings, large boulder gardens, and an observation deck overlooking the lake are some of the highlights one can see along the route. The trail was damaged by a tornado in 2011 and was completely rebuilt the following year with the help of AmeriCorp teams. Signs along the trail explain some of this history as well as information on what can be seen on the route. The trail is open for self-guided hiking or visitors can check the park’s schedule for guided interpretive hikes.

Arkansas’s ninth state park, Lake Ouachita, is located on the state’s largest manmade reservoir about 12 miles north of Hot Springs. Known for its clarity, the 48,000-acre lake is a water-sports mecca surrounded by undeveloped shorelines and the Ouachita mountains. Though the park was officially created on paper in 1955, it was not further established or staffed until ten years later. Lake Ouachita State Park is located in Mountain Pine at 5451 Mountain Pine Road.