Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Eagle Rock Loop - Ouachita National Forest

As a lover and avid-explorer of the Ozark mountains, I was surprised to find myself in personally-uncharted Arkansas territory. Just four hours south of northwest Arkansas sit the Ouachita mountains, a must-experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Distinct from the Ozarks in their shaping through plate collision rather than water carving, the Ouachitas offer a unique magic and array of trails of their own.

The first time I visited the Ouachitas was last summer for a leisurely weekend of camping. While heading to swim in the river we bumped into a couple, carrying hefty packs on their back. They were in the middle of backpacking a 26.8 mile loop. Inspired, we vowed to make it back during the colder months.

A weekend trip in late January finally brought myself and two others back to tackle the multi-day hike we’d been dreaming of. The Eagle Rock Loop is a connection of three trails-- Little Missouri, Athens-Big Fork, and Viles Branch Trail-- each with its own unique challenges and jewels. For those looking for an alternative to the Buffalo River Valley, or other Ozark Mountain classics, I’d highly recommend this trek. Close enough for a weekend trip, this mountainous loop offers a fresh perspective on our state, closely resembling the ecosystem of the lower Rockies.

The Eagle Rock Loop is one of thick evergreens and recurrent river crossings. It is one of steep climbs and spacious views, of physical challenge yet mental freedom, and offers those who take on the feat a rich reward around every corner. Trails carved into the faces of six different mountains, the loop leads its visitors to six unique panoramic views...

Click here to read the rest of the article over at the Fayetteville Flyer!

-Ashleigh Rose (@aroseprice) is an Arkansas native, yoga instructor, adventure-addict, and blog producer for Fayettechill Outdoors Co.

Sunrise at Eagle Rock Vista. Photo by Rush Urschel

Map and additional details  at:

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