Tagged: Caney Creek Wilderness

Buckeye Trail Hike Photos (Ouachita Forest)

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East-facing evening view of Ouachita National Forest from one of the great vistas on the Buckeye Trail (7-13-2013)

In mid-July I got the opportunity to hike the Buckeye Trail in the Ouachita National Forest’s Caney Creek Wilderness Area. It is a cool trail, but it was a bit of a challenge for me when I hiked it.

As you can see on the official trail map here, the Buckeye Trail itself is about 5 miles long. You can make a loop by coming back on (or starting out on) the east part of the Caney Creek Trail. The total loop hike, including a 1-mile walk along a gravel road connecting the Buckeye trailhead and the east Caney Creek trailhead, is around 10 miles. (The trailheads are a few miles north of the Shady Lake Recreation Area.)

The elevation change is about 1,000 feet.

"Buckeye Trail Hike Photos (Ouachita Forest)" photo
Katy Falls and Katy Creek. It is accessible from a short (unmarked) spur trail near the west end of the Buckeye Trail. (7-13-2013)

There are some beautiful views on the Buckeye Trail. Most of the trail stays along a ridge on Buckeye Mountain. Along the trail, there are some stunning views of the Caney Creek Wilderness and other areas of the Ouachita Forest.

Another treat on this hike is Katy Falls. This 12-foot waterfall is on a short spur trail near the west end of the Buckeye Trail.

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Tall Peak Trail (Ouachita Forest) (6 mi)

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One of the Tall Peak Trail crossings at the Saline River

Tall Peak Trail is one of the cool trails near Shady Lake in the Ouachita National Forest, southeast of Mena, Arkansas. The trail is just 3.1 miles each way (for a total hike of 6.2 miles), but it is a challenging climb. The elevation difference between the high and low points is nearly 1,200 feet.

The trail begins at Shady Lake Campground and heads to the top of the aptly named Tall Peak Mountain. Most of it lies in the Caney Creek Wilderness Area.

This was my second attempt to do the Tall Peak Trail. When I first attempted it in January, I aborted the hike about half-way through because I had gotten such a late start. (I also had underestimated the elevation challenge of the trail.)

"Tall Peak Trail (Ouachita Forest) (6 mi)" photo
Panoramic shot of the view from one of the vistas on Tall Peak Mountain

During the off-season, the Shady Lake campground gate will probably be closed, but I am told that it is still okay to walk to the trailhead and walk the trail during that time (as I did).

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Tall Peak Trail Photos February 2013 (Ouachita Forest)

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View from near top of Tall Peak Mountain (panoramic)

As I mentioned here, I had aborted my first attempt at the Tall Peak Trail after hiking less than halfway. I decided to try it another day after I realized how challenging the hike is (the elevation increase is over 1,000 feet) and that I should have gotten an earlier start.

The Tall Peak Trail, running from Shady Lake to the top of Tall Peak Mountain in the Ouachita National Forest, near Mena, Arkansas, is a little more than 3 miles, each way.

My February 24 visit went better. I made it to the top of Tall Peak Mountain and then made it all the way back. Yes, it was after dark when I finished, but I did finish it.

"Tall Peak Trail Photos February 2013 (Ouachita Forest)" photo
Tall Peak Trail along the Saline River (panoramic)

These are some photos I took of my hike that day. (Click photo for larger view. More after the jump.)

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Tall Peak Trail (Ouachita Forest) Photos January 2013

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Panoramic shot from vista on Tall Peak Trail, Ouachita National Forest

As I mentioned here, last weekend I went to the Tall Peak Trail which starts at Shady Lake, in the Ouachita National Forest, southeast of Mena, Arkansas.

Due to getting a late start, I only did about half of the trail that day.

"Tall Peak Trail (Ouachita Forest) Photos January 2013 " photo
Saline River, Tall Peak Trail (panoramic)

These are some photos I took that day. Most are of the very scenic first part of the trail along the Saline River. (Click for larger photo.)

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