OK, with that out of the way, I'm not a thru-hiker and prefer to day or short section hike this trail. At the time of this writing, I've covered mile marker 0-8 Talimena State Park to Deadmans Gap and MM 50.9 - 57.8 Queen Wilhemina State Park to Black Fork Mountain Shelter, which means I've barely scratched the surface of this amazing hiking trail only covering ~15 miles out of the total 222.5 miles that stretch from Oklahoma to halfway across Arkansas.
With an upcoming trip in March 2020 planned with a couple friends of ours where we will be staying at Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge and embarking out for a couple of day hikes, I thought it would be a great idea to pull together a few awesome spots on the Ouachita Trail that I've not yet hiked as candidates for us to explore. I've scoured the internet and read all the comments and watched all the YouTube videos and here's what I've come up with. In no particular order and please let me know if we got this all wrong or you agree with our bucket list choices in the comments.
Start: Dirt Road MM 105.8
End: Gravel Road 116.9
Total OT Miles: 11.1
This section actually hits 2 on my bucket list. Suck Mountain shelter and Story Creek shelters are very close together along the Ouachita Trail and can be accessed by unpaved roads on either side. Both shelters offer a picnic table and a fire ring along with breezy mountain views nestled in the forest.
Let me know if there are easier ways to access these shelters in the comments. I understand the Womble Trail runs through here near Story Creek Shelter but I'm not familiar with the lay of the land just yet.
Oh and if you are anywhere near Story, AR you have to hit the BlueBell Cafe and Country Store for a burger. That place is also on my bucket list and I hear they also do a shuttle service.
#2 Big Bear Shelter
Start: FS Road 107 MM 147.8
End: FS Road 107 MM 152.9
Total OT Miles: 5.1
A picnic table, a fire ring, a great water source, the sound of a real creek flowing by in a picturesque spot! YES PLEASE!!
#3 Flatside Pinnacle
Start: Grindstone Gap/FS Road 132 MM 173.7
End: FS Road 805 Parking MM 179.9
Total OT Miles: 6.2
This is one of those views you will remember for a while, sitting on the edge of a cliff with views for miles! There's actually a road with parking 0.2 from the view, but where the fun in that hike? You got to earn that view right? I'd like to start further out at the Parking area at Grindstone Gap to make it a decent hike.
What About You?
Have you been to these spots on the Ouachita Trail? What are some of your favorite locations on the OT?