Cecil Cove Trail Loop (Buffalo River) – 6 mi

Cecil Cove Trail Loop (Buffalo River) - 6 mi photo
Blue pool near Van Dyke Spring

The former community of Erbie (north Newton County, Buffalo National River) offers a variety of hiking trails that can be combined for larger or shorter loops. Because it was a community, many of the trails feature historical sites that tell a story of early settlers to the area.

The 6.4-mile Cecil Cove Trail Loop, much of which follows Cecil Creek, is one of these. It provides a wonderful assortment of spring-fed ponds, streams, historic stone walls, a historic cemetery, former home sites, and a spur trail that leads to a couple of awesome waterfalls.

This is a full day of nature and historic sites that is well worth the trip. The trail is also shared by horses.

The elevation change on the hike is about 850 feet

Cecil Cove Trail Loop (Buffalo River) - 6 mi photo
Cecil Cove Loop Trail – part of the trail follows an old road bed

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Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail + Twin Falls – 1 mi

Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail + Twin Falls - 1 mi photo
Twin Falls on the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail

The Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail (Devil’s Den State Park, southern Washington County, Ark.) is one of the coolest state park trails in Arkansas. The rock formations and the seasonal waterfall on this short trail are wonderful.

It’s not a difficult trail. It’s about 1.2 miles long, and there’s not much of an elevation change (about 100 feet).

(At present, the namesake Devil’s Den Cave is closed to the public due to white-nose syndrome.)

Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail + Twin Falls - 1 mi photo
Crevices on the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail. The trail is just over to the right.

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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.

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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
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