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Level: Expert
Length: 137 mi (220.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,375/1 ft
Total: 36 riders

Mountain Biking Ouachita Trail

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#29 of 165 mountain bike trails in Arkansas
#1,994 in the world

Trail Highlights:
In May, 2001 the Ouachita National Forest Supervisor opened 137 miles of the Ouachita Trail to use by mountain bikes. Elevations range from 600 to 2,600 feet as the trail passes through forested mountains, across sweeping valleys and near clear-running streams. Spur trails connect to various recreation areas and points of interest. Numerous road crossings and access points provide opportunities for point to point mountain bike rides of various distances. For more information, you may purchase a detailed map at all Ouachita National Forest offices.

Check out the Ouachita Challenge 60 mile Tour at

Local User Input

We now have 137 miles of the Ouachita Trail open for Mountain Bike use. For rider that are interested in riding the Ouachita Trail, I would caution that in comparison to lets say the Womble Trail, the Ouachita Trail presents a more challenging trail. If you have never ridden the Ouachita Trail, I would suggest that you first ride the areas that were open for study in 1998. This would be from Hwy 71 to Hwy 27. This 58 mile section served as the test area, and has benefited from the increased usage and increased trail maintenance by local cycling clubs. The rest of the new trail that has been opened is best to be left for the more adventurous riders willing to encounter unimproved trail conditions. These new sections will improve with time, and use and maintenance.

Best Ouachita Trail Rides at this Time ( The study Section)
1. Big Brushy Trail Complex heading East
2. Big Brushy Trail Complex heading West
3. Hwy 27 Trailhead heading West
4. Hwy 71 heading East
5. Hwy 71 heading West

Ouachita Trail Rides for the adventurous at heart. (New Trail Opened in 2001)
1. Talihina State Park heading East. (Provides access to the Military Road Trail which is very nice trail)
2. Emerald Springs at the Talimena Scenic Drive heading East to the Big Cedar Trailhead.
3. Mountain Fork Trailhead on Hwy 270 to Highway 72.
4. Hwy 27 heading East
5. Hwy 7 heading West

First added by nbouse on Jun 16, 2007. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Access the Ouachita Trail at the Talihina State Park in Talihina, Oklahoma, or at the Horse Thief Springs trailhead on the Talimena Scenic Drive, or at the Big Cedar Trailhead on Highway 259. Further east you can access the Ouachita Trail again from the Talimena Scenic drive west of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Access also from the Mountain Fork Trailhead in the Rich Mountain Community on Hwy 270 or from the Hwy 71 Trailhead South of Mena, Arkansas. Continuing west a very popular access point is the Big Brushy Recreation Area. Trailhead access also at Hwy 27 and finally at Hwy 7.
System trails (3)
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Ouachita Trail Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail conditions

Poor (on Jun 25, 2020)
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Camping & Lodging

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Ouachita Trail videos

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Ouachita Challenge 2009 1
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Rider questions

Q: are the huts/yurts available to use? what is the cost? where can I find this information

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  • mongwolf

    I haven't ridden any portion of the trail yet, so I will not give it a rating. I'm looking forward to riding the entire trail some early winter in the future. I just wanted to point out here that the Ouachita has been given IMBA Epic status as of this year 2015. 108 mi of Ozark Mountain ST should be quite a challenge. And the great thing is that the trail was completed long before various land agencies went crazy with machine cutting trails. This should be a classic epic and backpacking epic for a longtime. Plus you can add Womble to it and some other trails to extend the epic if you like. Here is an excellent .pdf file about the trail prepared by the Forest Service

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  • CFM   ✓ supporter

    Extremely remote cross country trail. Many areas of very technical rock features and insanely steep tread. Crosses several roads that can be used as bailouts or pickup points.

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  • AKArky

    Fantastic riding experience, grunt climbs, fast downhills tight singletrack, 5 star views. Do not bring beginners on any section of the Ouachita trail , they will puke , bleed or both

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  • AKArky

    I love this trail, 100% singletrack! This trail is really under appreciated. I have spent 100s of hours riding this trail particularly Hwy 7 (west)and Hwy 27 (E&W).

    This is a "put on your big boy pants" kind of ride. If you want a true backcountry bike experience this is it. Due to remoteness in sections the trail is like a ghost as it reveals its self to your front wheel 15 yards at a time. Super tech rock gardens ,flow, and climbs that are miles long and 2000 ft gains. You will not see another biker, so you never have to stop for anybody. :D You may see a hunter or backpacker but rarely.
    This trail is raw, If you don't like trails that are covered in leafs and animal sh!t you better stay in the park.

    There is a 3 side hut system on the 137 mile gem so you can pack light and camp on your bike.

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  • GTXC4

    You get to the trail head on HWY 71, between Y City and Mena. You can't miss the huge sign. (Pic posted) This place is like remote forest, when you get out on the trail its like mile 68 or something like that. Nice trail, just part of the large network and like I said, remote. No cell signal, so I couldn't check in to Singletracks. Rocky, sticks, some pine needles, and creeks to cross. Nice relaxing, getaway ride. Would love to and will do much more when I stay in Hot Springs.

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  • bmariani2

    This trail is fantastic but get ready to do some climbing to get to the fantastic views and ridge line. There is a huge variety of terrain from smooth dirt, to rocks, to roots, to tight switchbacks. There are some spots that are rough technical uphills but nothing you can't walk your bike up if you have to. There are many four wheel road bailouts but if you think the four wheel paths would be easier than going back up the severe switchback you just came down, think again because they go straight up. The views on this trail are to die for. I would NOT recommend this to beginners.

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