Tag - Counties: Montgomery + Polk (Ark)

Trails in Montgomery and Polk Counties in Arkansas, including Queen Wilhelmina State Park and the Shady Lake Recreation Area of the Ouachita National Forest.

Ouachita Trail 03: Talimena Drive to Hwy 270 (Black Fork Mtn) TH (54.1 to 56.7)

Ouachita Trail 03: Talimena Drive to Hwy 270 (Black Fork Mtn) TH (54.1 to 56.7) photo
View (panoramic) of Black Fork Mountain from north side of Rich Mountain on Ouachita Trail

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.

Ouachita Trail 03: Talimena Drive to Hwy 270 (Black Fork Mtn) TH (54.1 to 56.7) photo
Ouachita Trail connection at mile point 54.1, behind the Highway 270 Trailhead

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Queen Wilhelmina: Reservoir Trail – 1 mi

Queen Wilhelmina: Reservoir Trail - 1 mi photo
Wooden walkway south of lodge leading to trailhead for Reservoir Trail and Lovers Leap Trail (panoramic)

The Reservoir Trail at Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a short but vigorous hillside walk. It makes a .4-mile (each way) downhill zigzag on the south side of Rich Mountain leading to a historic reservoir.

The trail starts at the wooden walkway at the south end of Queen Wilhelmina Lodge. This spot is also the south trailhead for the Lovers Leap Trail.

From here, the trail heads to the right (west). Pretty quickly, the trail begins its downhill descent.

By its end, the trail descends 200 feet in elevation.

Queen Wilhelmina: Reservoir Trail - 1 mi photo
Stone steps on the Reservoir Trail, Queen Wilhelmina State Park

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Queen Wilhelmina: Lovers Leap Trail – 1 mi

Queen Wilhelmina: Lovers Leap Trail - 1 mi photo
Southeast facing view from the Lovers Leap overlook, Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Queen Wilhelmina is a wonderful state park that sits on top of Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest mountain in the Ouachita National Forest.

The Ouachita Trail, a 223-mile hiking trail that runs from LeFlore County, Oklahoma, to Pulaski County, Arkansas, runs through the middle of the park.

There also are a couple of short trails in the park. My favorite is the Lovers Leap Trail. It’s a cool wooded 1-mile loop trail at the east end of the park. The trail has some climbing, but it is not very difficult with only about a 250-foot net elevation change.

Queen Wilhelmina: Lovers Leap Trail - 1 mi photo
Lovers Leap Trail (panoramic), Queen Wilhelmina State Park

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Caney Creek Trail – West (Ouachita Forest) – 11 mi

Caney Creek Trail - West (Ouachita Forest) - 11 mi photo
Cascade (Mini-waterfall) on the Caney Creek Trail, Ouachita National Forest

The western part of the Caney Creek Trail is a wonderfully scenic hike through the Ouachita National Forests’s Caney Creek Wilderness. It is a hike of 11.4 miles (5.7 miles each way) and has 22 wet crossings (11 miles each way), but it is well worth the effort.

The Caney Creek Trail runs 9 miles from west to east, mostly following Caney Creek. You can use of the eastern part of the trail to make a 9.4-mile loop hike with the Buckeye Trail. (See this post.)

This hike is an out-and-back one that just covers the western 5.7 miles of the Caney Creek Trail. It goes from the west trailhead to the Buckeye Trail junction.

Caney Creek Trail - West (Ouachita Forest) - 11 mi photo
Cossatot River crossing on the Caney Creek Trail

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