Ouachita Trail 01 Pics: FR 6014 to Winding Stair TH (21.7 to 23.7)

Ouachita Trail 01 Pics: FR 6014 to Winding Stair TH (21.7 to 23.7) photo
Fall foliage on the Ouachita Trail between FR 6014 and the Winding Stair Trailhead.

The 1.8-mile stretch of Section 1 of the Ouachita Trail from Forest Road 6014 (west end) to the Winding Stair Trailhead is an enjoyable walk. Along with the rest of Section 1, it is on Winding Stair Mountain (Ouachita National Forest, LeFlore County, Oklahoma) one of my favorite places to hike.

This stretch covers the last part of Section 1. The easiest way to reach it as a standalone hike is to start at the Winding Stair Trailhead. (Google Maps directions.) From there you would head west for a little under 2 miles. (Across the highway is the start of Section 2.)

The elevation change on this stretch is about 300 feet, so be prepared for a bit of climbing. It is all on the north side of the mountain. The trail in this part is usually in good condition and not difficult to follow.

Ouachita Trail 01 Pics: FR 6014 to Winding Stair TH (21.7 to 23.7) photo
The rocky area in the vicinity of Mile Marker 22 is the coolest part of this stretch of the trail.

Continue reading Ouachita Trail 01 Pics: FR 6014 to Winding Stair TH (21.7 to 23.7)

Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) – 4 mi

Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) - 4 mi photo
The view from the Short Mountain vista.

One of my favorite day hikes around Hot Springs is the Hunt’s Loop Trail in the Ouachita National Forest (north Garland County/south Perry County).

The 4.3-mile-hike takes you straight up Short Mountain to a gorgeous vista and then through some of the most beautiful woods along the ridge of the mountain before returning to the narrow valley of the Middle Fork of the Saline River.

It is a moderate trail overall. The only difficult part is at the beginning (going clockwise) up Short Mountain. The elevation change is about 500 feet.

Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) - 4 mi photo
Heading north on Hunt’s Loop Trail on top of Short Mountain, Ouachita National Forest
Continue reading Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) – 4 mi

Alum Cove Natural Bridge Trail (Ozark Forest) – 1 mi

Alum Cove Natural Bridge Trail (Ozark Forest) - 1 mi photo
The Natural Bridge at Alum Cove from below

The Alum Cove Natural Bridge Trail (near Deer, Newton County, Arkansas, Ozark National Forest) is a relatively short  1.2-mile hike that provides a lot of great features including a couple of waterfalls, a cave, a small stream, and the highlight, the Alum Cove Natural Bridge.

This is a family-friendly destination with a lot of bang for your hiking effort.

I first hiked Alum Cove several years ago, and the area was not in great condition due to some winter storm damage at the time.

At our recent visit in May 2016, it was in much better condition.

Alum Cove Natural Bridge Trail (Ozark Forest) - 1 mi photo
The top of the Natural Bridge

Continue reading Alum Cove Natural Bridge Trail (Ozark Forest) – 1 mi