Ouachita National Recreation Trail

The longest mountain bike trail in Arkansas!

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
170 km
Ascent
4.3 km
Descent
4.8 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
183 m
High Point
795 m
Gradient
Ouachita National Recreation Trail Map

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail “is the longest trail in the Ouachita National Forest spanning 192 miles across its entire length,” according to the USFS. An additional ~32 miles of trail on private land brings the entire trail length up to about 223 miles in total. However, only certain portions of the trail are open to mountain bikes. This 105-mile section is continuously open to bikes, and is almost all entirely on singletrack!

Description

This massive expanse of singletrack makes for a perfect bikepacking objective or, if you’re a true badass, perhaps an epic day ride. You could opt to bikepack this section point-to-point or, by using other trails in the area such as the Womble and the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, create a lollipop or a loop route.

Despite being the longest mountain bike trail in the state, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail still flies well under the radar. “Over 100 miles of the trail is open to mountain bikes and I very rarely run into riders that have been on any of the trail,” said Jake Meredith on Arkansas.com. “It is very challenging in places though. Hike-a-bike is just part of it. It is one of the most rewarding trails though.”

Sources: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ouachita/recreation/recarea/?recid=10804&actid=50 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OuachitaNationalRecreationTrail https://www.arkansas.com/articles/biking-ouachitas

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Technical
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Guidebooks in this area