Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail – 4 mi

Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Caddo Bend Trail, on south side of peninsula (and facing south), Lake Ouachita State Park

Back in mid-November, I had my first visit to Lake Ouachita State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas, and I hiked the 4-mile Caddo Bend Trail. It was a great hike. Perfect weather, beautiful fall foliage, great lake views, and a nice variety of terrain from hilly to relatively level.

The trail mostly follows the perimeter of a peninsula on the east side of the lake. It was severely damaged by the April 25, 2011 tornado which struck the park. The tornado knocked down nearly all the trees on about one-third of the peninsula. It was nearly a year before the trail was reopened.

Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Panoramic shot of Lake Ouachita (facing west) from the west end of the peninsula

When you walk the trail, it’s obvious that a lot of work had to be done to make it accessible in the tornado-cleared areas. (See story at this link.)

Lake Ouachita Caddo Bend Trail Map

 


Click here for full-screen trail map.

Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Approximate elevation profile based on gps data.

The trail is not very difficult, but it does have plenty of up-and-down climbing. There is only about a 150-foot difference between the highest and lowest elevations, but the “total elevation gain” (a calculation that adds up all the uphill climbing) is about 790 feet.

There are a lot of scenic views of the lake, the best being along the western end of the peninsula, particularly at the observation platform.

The day I went, there was still some pretty fall foliage. I also appreciated that there was almost no boat noise.

Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Trailhead for Caddo Bend Trail, near the amphitheater
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Caddo Bend Trail, Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
One of the large areas “clear cut” by the 2011 tornado, making clear view of Lake Ouachita
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Panoramic shot of Lake Ouachita, via the observation deck

The approximately 4-mile trail is well-blazed (yellow) and has mileage posts and a few benches. The trailhead is next to the amphitheater where there is ample parking. If you follow the recommended direction, as I did, you will go clockwise, walking the south side of the peninsula first, then the short west end, then back on the north side.

Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Caddo Bend Trail, facing northeast, Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
On north side of Caddo Bend Trail (facing west), Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
North side of Caddo Bend Trail
Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail - 4 mi photo
Some tornado damage on north side of trail

Some additional photos I took of the trail are at this post.

Photo Gallery

Click here or below for full-screen photo gallery.

Lake Ouachita S.P. - Caddo Bend Trail

LocationGarland County, Arkansas
Length/Type3.8 mi./Loop
DifficultyStrenuous (4 of 5)
DirectionsThe trailhead is next to the amphitheater, about 300 feet up the road from the visitor center. Parking is available. Yellow blazes. I followed the signed route going counterclockwise.
Other permitted usage?Pets on leash.
ATT Cell Coverage?About 50%.
Official Info - Phone/Links(501) 767-9366
Official map.

Official website.
Weather/Conditions50's & low 60's.
Date HikedNov. 18, 2012

Enter your location to get Google directions to the trail head in Lake Ouachita State Park:

Click here for gpx file download.

3 thoughts on “Lake Ouachita: Caddo Bend Trail – 4 mi”

  1. Great post and photos! I’m from Garland Co., and I remember hiking the old dirt road that runs down the center of the peninsula long before Caddo Bend Trail was constructed. (Crawdad Island Rd. on your map above.) This old road has been closed to traffic for many years now, and provides a shorter and less-strenuous hike to the overlook and back. It can be just as pleasant and easier on the feet if you’d like a nice walk in this area without all the up-and-down of the trail. You can also use it as a shortcut there-or-back to the West end of the trail and vary the way you hike the Caddo Bend Trail that way.

    Hope to see you back soon!

  2. I really enjoyed all the pictures in this post. This was one of my favorite trails. Hiked it a number of times when I lived in Arkansas back in the 1990’s. On this trail I occasionally spotted clear quartzite crystals, which made it fun. Keep your eyes open, maybe you’ll see one.

What do you think? (Leave a comment.)