The Earthquake Ridge Trail, including the adjacent Southern Loop, is an enjoyable 3-mile hike at the east end of the Talimena Scenic Drive (Highway 88) near Mena, Arkansas. This Ouachita National Forest hike is easy to locate, starting at the Visitor Information Center.
My profile of this trail with pics from my June 6, 2015 hike is in this post.
The Earthquake Ridge Trail is a short moderately challenging loop trail in the Ouachita National Forest, just north of Mena, Arkansas. It has one main loop and several additional loops, all at the southeast end of Rich Mountain.
On this hike, we are doing the main loop plus the Southern Loop. By my measurements, the entire walk is just under 3 miles.
The 2 loops together basically make one long loop that goes around a 1-mile stretch of the Talimena Scenic Drive.
This 2.6-mile Ouachita Trail Section 3 segment is a pretty vigorous hike if you do it as an out-and-back as I did starting (east to west) at the Highway 270 (Black Fork Mountain Wilderness) Trailhead (Polk County, Arkansas). There is an elevation increase of about 1,000 feet, almost all of it in the first 1.5 miles.
If you are doing it as a through-hike from west to east, it shouldn’t be a difficult stretch.
This stretch climbs interesting terrain and has some cool views, especially during leaf-off.
The Reservoir Trail at Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a short but vigorous hillside walk that starts right behind the lodge.
It makes a .4-mile (each way) downhill zigzag on the south side of Rich Mountain leading to a historic reservoir.
Getting to Queen Wilhelmina State Park
If you are coming from the north on Highway 71, at Acorn, take a right (heading east) on Highway 59/270. After 9 miles, take a left onto Highway 272. (Follow the signs to Queen Wilhelmina State Park.) This takes you up Rich Mountain to Highway 88 (Talimena Scenic Drive). Take a right on Highway 88. After about a half-mile. Turn left into Queen Wilhelmina.
If you are coming from the south on Highway 71, turn left onto Highway 88 in Mena. Stay on 88 for about 12 miles. Queen Wilhelmina will be on your left.