Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8)

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Sunset view from near the Winding Stair highpoint, Ouachita National Forest (OK)

The 2.5-mile segment of the Ouachita Trail from Winding Stair Trailhead to the saddle around mile point 25.8 is a cool one. It’s on Winding Stair Mountain (Ouachita National Forest, LeFlore County, Oklahoma) and goes to the highpoint (at 2,450 feet) before heading downhill to the saddle.

Most of the climb to the highpoint is on a road trace, but it was a really cool walk on December 30 with the snow-covered trees.

The trek down to the saddle was also pretty cool. It’s a long series of switchbacks with really interesting topography and some pretty views during leaf-off.

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
On the switchbacks between the highpoint and the saddle, Ouachita Trail, Ouachita National Forest (OK)

If you do it as an out-and-back as I did, it’s pretty vigorous 5-mile hike with 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
This is where the road trace starts, shortly after crossing the highway after the Winding Stair Trailhead.

You can see my trail profile in this post. These are additional pics from my December 30, 2015 hike.

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Ouachita Trail, Winding Stair Mountain, Ouachita National Forest
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Winter walk on the road trace between Winding Stair Trailhead and the highpoint.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Snow-covered pine trees on the relatively flat area that approaches the highpoint.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Winding Stair Shelter, built by Friends of the Ouachita Trail, near the highpoint.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Cool vista area just past the highpoint (panoramic).
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Another panoramic shot from the vista area.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
South-facing view.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Heading downhill just past the vista area.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
Cool rocky area heading downhill toward the saddle.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
There are some great south-facing views in this part during leaf-off.
Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Winding Stair TH to Highpoint to Saddle (23.7 to 25.8) photo
The sun was heading down toward the end of my December 30 hike.
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