Ouachita Trail

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail, or simply Ouachita Trail, runs 223 miles across the Ouachita Mountains from Talimena State Park near Talihina Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park near Little Rock Ark.  See below for maps.  Note that all coordinates below are using the WGS84 datum.

Section information

  • Section 1 – Talimena St Pk to Winding Stair campground – 23.7 miles.  Apr ’15 trip (east of Deadman Gap)Apr ’15 trip (west of Deadman Gap).
  • Section 2 – Winding Stair campground to Queen Wilhelmina St Pk – 27.9 miles.  Apr ’15 trip.
  • Section 3 – Queen Wilhelmina St Pk to US-71 – 16.5 miles.  Apr ’15 trip.
  • Section 4 – US-71 to Big Brushy Rec Area – 26.4 miles.  Mar ’15 trip.
  • Section 5 – Big Brushy Rec Area to AR-27 – 27.2 miles.  Jan ’15 trip (east of Rainy Creek).  Feb ’15 trip – west of Rainy Creek.
  • Section 6 – AR-27 to AR-298 – 17.1 miles.  Jan ’15 trip.
  • Section 7 – AR-298 to AR-7 – 21.6 miles.  Dec ’14 trip and this too.
  • Section 8 – AR-7 to Lake Sylvia – 27 miles.  Nov ’14 trip.
  • Section 9 – Lake Sylvia to AR-10 – 14.6 miles.  Nov ’14 trip (west of AR 9).  Feb ’15 trip (east of AR 9).
  • Section 10 – AR-10 to Pinnacle Mtn St Pk – 20.5 miles.  The campsites at mile 206.8 and 212.3 do not exist any more.  There is now just one legal camp site between mile 192.5 and 222.5, at the end of a 0.9-mile spur from mile 208.4.  I visited this “camp site” in Apr ’16 and found it to be a complete waste of time.  Most of the area surrounding the spur was being actively logged – as in 98% of the trees gone.  The camp site itself is untouched in a fenced area between the near-clear-cut and a gas line cut.  It has several pad sites but watch out for the broken glass.  There is no fresh water available along the spur or anywhere near the camp.  Feb ’15 trip.

Major trail heads

  • Talimena State Park: 34.783486,-94.951080.  $5 day-use fee for parking.
  • Winding Stair Campground: about 34.714804, -94.679640.  $3/night at backpacker’s camp, $5/night at main campground.  There is no potable water at either campground despite the USFS website.  There is a small creek south of OK-1 near the east end of the Mountain Top Trail that might have water.
  • Queen Wilhelmina State Park: trail head parking in train depot lot at 34.685383,-94.372917.
  • US 71: 34.682077,-94.180821.  Big parking area on west side of road.  Eastbound: walk across highway.  Trail now runs parallel to and left of the forest road instead of on the road.
  • Big Brushy Rec Area: The campground is officially closed – this is a day-use area now.  Turn off US-270 onto FR-6 at 34.685893,-93.810028.  Parking area is 34.685176, -93.810326 (2 right turns after leaving highway).  Eastbound: walk on FR-6 back out toward the highway, look for a trail sign on the right about 30 feet from the highway.  Westbound: walk south on FR-6 about .25 miles, watch for a trail sign on the right (the second sign, I think.  The first just indicates the trail is on the road at that point).
  • AR 27: 34.758527,-93.494474.  A 100-yard driveway on the west side leads to a parking area.  The trail passes right by there.
  • AR 298: 34.689644,-93.336553.  A wide area on the north shoulder of the road.  West-bound: cross the river on the bridge then look for a trail sign on the right side.
  • AR 7: 34.774235,-93.088334.  A large parking area on the west side of the highway.  The trail runs along the other side of the creek – cross the wooden bridge and you’re there.  West-bound is to the right, east-bound to the left.
  • Lake Sylvia/FR 152: about 34.858512,-92.817276.  Very limited parking and not marked.  An alternative is to park in a large lot at 34.863319,-92.818478 near the Lake Sylvia Rec Area entrance and then take the spur trail across the road 0.4 miles to the OT.
  • AR 10: 34.872227,-92.653183.  There is a picnic area at the south end of the bridge on the east side of the road.  There is no water hydrant and there doesn’t appear to be a way to park there without occupying a picnic site.  There is also some parking at the north end of the bridge on both sides of the road where the trail crosses.  Westbound: the trail is directly across the highway from the picnic area.  Eastbound: walk along the east shoulder of the highway to the bridge, then over the rail onto the “sidewalk” at the edge of the bridge and across.  On the other side of the bridge is a path in the grass continuing north about 100 yards to the trail sign at the edge of the woods.
  • Pinnacle Mountain State Park (visitor center).  Trail head is in the lower parking lot at 34.844711,-92.463701.  If leaving a vehicle overnight you must register, or risk having it towed.  They are open 0800-1700 every day except some holidays (in that case register by phone in advance).  The park gates open at 0630 and close one hour after sunset.

Shelter Locations

34.7719, -94.8541 Rock Garden
34.7467, -94.7684 Holson Valley
34.7092, -94.6774 Winding Stair
34.6624, -94.6043 Pashubbe
34.6928, -94.4522 State Line
34.6907, -94.3103 Black Fork Mountain
34.6865, -94.1744 Foran Gap
34.6763, -94.0119 Turner Gap
34.6687, -93.8566 Brushy Mountain
34.6918, -93.7223 Fiddler Creek
34.7242, -93.6286 Suck Mountain
34.7266, -93.5405 Story Creek
34.7520, -93.4846 John Archer
34.7435, -93.4277 Bill Potter
34.7348, -93.3561 Big Branch
34.7164, -93.2895 Blue Mountain
34.7250, -93.1892 Big Bear
34.7654, -93.1063 Moonshine
34.8197, -93.0331 Oak Mountain
34.8742, -92.8688 Brown Creek
34.8522, -92.7955 Nancy Mountain
* Latitude & longitude are WGS84

Useful External Resources

Shuttle Services

Bluebell Country Store & Cafe, NE corner of AR-298 & AR-27, Story Ark, (870)867-3999.  They seem willing to cover at least the area between AR 9 and Big Brushy Creek Rec Area, maybe more.  Especially useful for hikers of Ouachita, Womble, and Lake Ouachita Vista trails.


My maps are in a 29-page PDF and will be 1:24000 scale when printed on 11×17″ paper.  I get this stuff printed at The UPS Store.  I think many Staples, Office Depot, etc locations can also do it.  Every time I update a map the file will have a different name so if you want to bookmark or share it, link to this page – not to the file.

Mar 10 2023 update (v7): A few more roads have been added and most roads now have labels.  Minor style tweaks.

Updated Dec 21 2018 (v6): A way-overdue style update.  Added more roads, especially in Oklahoma.  A thin orange line shows where adjacent maps overlap.  The coverage of some pages has changed slightly to even-out the overlap between maps.

Good places to eat after a hike

Jessieville: The Shack, closed Sunday, cash only, 7901 N Highway 7

Mena: Branding Iron BBQ & Steak House, open Sunday, 623 Sherwood Ave

Perryville: Mustang Sally’s, open Sunday, 303 W Main

Perryville: Jones Family Restaurant, open Sunday, 1542 Highway 9 South

Story: Bluebell Country Store & Cafe, open Sunday, NE corner of AR-298 & AR-27


1 Response to Ouachita Trail

  1. Latecia glover says:

    I shuttle section one to Big Brushy. Been doing this almost 3 years, love it. I have made a lot of friends. My cell is 479 216 8992 Latecia Glover. I do emergency pickups and water drops.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s