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.
This is a great 2.5-mile strip of the Ouachita Trail on Winding Stair Mountain (Ouachita National Forest, LeFlore County, Oklahoma). It’s easy to get to, has some wonderful views and very interesting terrain.
The highlight of this segment is the Winding Stair Mountain highpoint at about MM25. The elevation here is about 2,450 feet. At one time, there was a fire tower here (called “Winding Stair Fire Tower” or “Billy Fire Tower”).
This is the beginning of Section 02. It starts at the Winding Stair Trailhead and heads west climbing up to the Winding Stair Highpoint and then heads downhill to a saddle.
When I did the segment a couple of months ago, I turned around at that point, and headed back for a 5-mile hike. If you do it that way, it’s a pretty vigorous hike with nearly 1,200 feet of total elevation gain.
In all my years of going down to the Buffalo River area, I’ve never met anyone who has been to Magnolia Falls, or for that matter, ever heard of anyone even mention this falls. Thus, this waterfall may be the best kept secret in the Buffalo River area.
The falls is in southwest Newton County in the part of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness that is in the Ozark National Forest. There is very easy vehicle access to the trail head and a well-defined trail that is relatively easy to follow.
To get to the parking area, head on Highway 21 to the area between Mossville to the north and Edwards Junction to the south. About 2.5 miles south of the Mossville Church (or 1.8 miles north of Edwards Junction), take County Road 6 (aka Forest Road 1462) to the west.
There is no sign here, but it is a pretty significant gravel road. If you follow your odometer, you should know it when you see it. (For approximate Google Maps directions to this area, follow this link.)
Once you turn west onto CR 6, about .3 miles down the road is a pull-off area for parking. There is a sign on the left side of the road noting “Wilderness Access.” Park here on your right, and enter on the trailhead to your right.