Tag - Difficulty: Very Strenuous

Very Strenuous hikes, the ones we consider the most challenging (difficulty level: 5 of 5).

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop – 3 mi

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop - 3 mi photo
Pinnacle Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain State Park

This 2.6-mile loop at Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Pulaski County near west Little Rock) takes you to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain. It includes the West Summit Trail, East Summit Trail, and the north half of the Base Trail (connecting the two summit trails).

The summit of Pinnacle Mountain is one of Arkansas’s must-see hiking destinations. It is challenging, but it is a scenic and interesting hike with amazing views.

The Pinnacle Mountain summit trails are not the hardest trails in Arkansas since they are short, but they are definitely among the steepest. (Check out Mike’s elevation profile below.) In fact, guidebook writer Tim Ernst says that the East Summit Trail is the steepest trail in the state.

The elevation change from the base to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain is about 725 feet.

There is a trailhead at the base of the west side (West Summit Trail) and one at the east side (East Summit Trail). They both have parking.

The Base Trail makes a relatively level loop around the bottom of the mountain going through both trailheads.

When I recently hiked this loop, I began at the West Summit Trail trailhead and turned left onto the Base Trail. From there I hiked around the base of the mountain to the East Summit Trail. I then climbed East Summit Trail (not easily!) to the summit, and I hiked down back to my car via the West Summit Trail.

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop - 3 mi photo
West-facing view looking toward Lake Maumelle from the Pinnacle Mountain summit.

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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)

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Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Pashubbe TH to Kiamichi River TH (Wilton Mtn.) (34.3 – 39.2)

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Pashubbe TH to Kiamichi River TH (Wilton Mtn.) (34.3 - 39.2) photo
Facing southeast, near the summit on Wilton Mountain. Kiamichi Mountains in the distance.

Back in early December, I hiked the 4.8 mile Ouachita Trail Section 2 segment that climbs over Wilton Mountain (LeFlore County, Oklahoma), an offshoot of Rich Mountain.

It goes from the Pashubbe Trailhead (mile point 34.3) to the Kiamichi River Trailhead (mile point 39.2). I did it as a 9.6-mile out-and-back hike.

Ouachita Trail 02: Pics of Pashubbe TH to Kiamichi River TH (Wilton Mtn.) (34.3 - 39.2) photo
There are some trees growing in parts of the road trace part of the trail on the east side of Wilton Mountain.

It’s a vigorous out-and-back hike with 2,100 feet of total ascent. There are some very nice views on Wilton Mountain, especially during leaf-off.

My trail profile for this segment is at this link. These are some additional photos from my December 5, 2015 hike.
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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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