The popular four-mile Caddo Bend Trail is a loop trail located on a peninsula in Lake Ouachita State Park near Hot Springs. I enjoy hiking this route throughout the year with fall being a favorite time due to the weather and chance to see the changing leaves of the season. The route circles the entire peninsula back to its beginning. I enjoy the trail so much I usually end up hiking it twice during each visit, which not only ups the mileage, but also the time spent in the woods.
The trailhead is located a short distance from the park visitor center. Expansive views of Lake Ouachita, large boulder gardens, and an observation deck overlooking the lake are some of the highlights along the rolling terrain of this route. The observation deck, which is located at exactly 1.5 miles into the trail, is home to the Point 50 Overlook where one can get a nice view of the lake and also see Hickory Nut Mountain in the distance.
Some might remember when the trail was damaged by a tornado in 2011. The route 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. The trail is open for self-guided hiking or visitors can check the park’s schedule for guided interpretive hikes.
Lake Ouachita State Park is located in Mountain Pine at 5451 Mountain Pine Road. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita/.