This stretch of the Ouachita Trail (which I call “01-B”) is about 3.5 miles long (7.0 miles out and back). It is close to the beginning of the Ouachita Trail. It is on Winding Stair Mountain in LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
I hiked it back on October 10, 2009. For some reason, I cannot find any photos I took at that time.
But I wanted to go ahead and do a post with the gpx map and elevation profile.
You may remember from this post that last May I tried hiking on the Ouachita Trail from Deadman’s Gap east to Cedar Branch on Winding Stair Mountain in LeFlore County, Oklahoma. The segment I was trying to do is about 5.5 miles, but I wasn’t able to make it much past mile marker 13.
I think my being on antibiotics played a role in my not making it to Cedar Branch that day. I got very overheated and queasy. It seemed like heat exhaustion.
I climbed my way through the brush up to Highway 1 (Talimena Highway), and my girlfriend thankfully came and took me to my car. (I refer to the parts I completed as “01D” and “01E1.”)
This past Saturday, my goal was to finish Section 1. The only part I had not yet hiked was the part from Horsethief Springs west to MM 13 (a little past Cedar Branch). (I refer to this as “01E2,” “01F,” “01G”, and “01H.”)
The authors of Oklahoma Hiking Trails, Kent F. Frates and Larry Floyd, say that the east part of the Ouachita National Forest’s Billy Creek Trail is not recommended because it is “uninteresting” and “does not meet any real hiking criteria.”
I disagree with that view. I think skipping the east branch of the trail would mean missing much of the best scenery.
The Billy Creek Trail is made up of a north loop and a south loop. The north loop crosses the Talimena Scenic Drive and overlaps with the Ouachita Trail. These directions follow the way I did it – hiking the south loop clockwise beginning near the Billy Creek campground. [My review of the north loop is here.]
To get there, get on Forest Road 6020 off of Highway 63, a few miles west of the Highway 259/Highway 63 intersection. Take 6020 north for about a mile, follow the signs, and you will come upon a large sign for the Billy Creek Trailhead.