It was my second time around this 22-mile loop. The first trip 7 years ago was also New Year’s weekend and was my first time in the Ouachitas. I remembered some things but was surprised at some of the nice scenery I forgot. Accompanying me were RC – back for his second time as well – and CC & TC, both visiting the Ouachitas for the first time. We started at the Holson Valley Road trail head Friday afternoon and went counter-clockwise – along the Old Military Road trail up and over Winding Stair Mountain, then along the ridge on the Ouachita Trail, then back on the Boardstand Trail, arriving back at the trail head late Monday morning.
We had several inches of rain a couple days before the trip so all the creeks were flowing well. The weather was decent, with the first night just below freezing and the others warmer. Skies were generally overcast and it rained all through our final night.
This loop is a great introduction to the Ouachitas, with a good mix of elevation and topography, and was fun the second time around as well.