Guidebook

Thru-Hike Arkansas's Ozark Highlands Trail

The Ozark Highlands Trail is a 164-mile point-to-point trail through the wilds of Arkansas's Ozark Mountains.

Description

The Ozark Highlands Trail is a 164-mile, long distance point-to-point hiking trail running through Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains. "Located in the middle-South, it is well-known for its winter hiking opportunities when many other trails are impassable,” according to the Ozark Highlands Trail Association. "Fall through Spring are the peak seasons for this trail,” the OHTA continues.

Eventually, this trail will measure 320 miles in total. Construction is ongoing on some sections, and eventually the goal is to have them all connected. The section included in this guidebook is the longest continuous stretch of the trail.

Ozark Highlands Trail: Lake Fort Smith to White Rock Recreation Area
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Lake Fort Smith to White Rock Recreation Area

6 - 7 hrs
27.0 km
1,060 m
666 m
The Ozark Highlands Trail is an epic 164-mile long hiking trail across northern Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: White Rock Recreation Area to Cherry Bend Trailhead/Hwy 23
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Ozark Highlands Trail: White Rock Recreation Area to Cherry Bend Trailhead/Hwy 23

6 - 7 hrs
27.4 km
1,134 m
1,235 m
This section routes hikers over several mountains and past numerous streams.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Cherry Bend Trailhead to Lick Branch Trailhead
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Cherry Bend Trailhead to Lick Branch Trailhead

6 - 7 hrs
30.6 km
855 m
1,140 m
This section routes hikers across the tallest point on the OHT and also through a designated scenic area.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Lick Branch Trailhead to Ozone Campground on Highway 21
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Lick Branch Trailhead to Ozone Campground on Highway 21

1 day +
45.2 km
1,627 m
1,378 m
At 29.6 miles, this section is one of the longest and least used on the OHT. It also has one of the steepest climbs on the trail; however, it includes plenty of waterfalls and bluff views as payback.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Ozone Campground on Hwy 21 to Big Piney/Ft. Douglas Trailhead
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Ozone Campground on Hwy 21 to Big Piney/Ft. Douglas Trailhead

6 - 7 hrs
30.1 km
903 m
1,238 m
Good drinking water sources, scenic waterfalls, and inviting campsites, plus a tour of an old CCC camp.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Big Piney/Fort. Douglas Trailhead to Fairview Trailhead and Hwy 7
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Big Piney/Fort. Douglas Trailhead to Fairview Trailhead and Hwy 7

7 - 8 hrs
31.2 km
1,386 m
952 m
This section routes hikers through one of the most scenic areas in Arkansas and also past a huge natural bridge.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Fairview Trailhead/Hwy 7 to Richland Creek Campground
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Fairview Trailhead/Hwy 7 to Richland Creek Campground

6 - 7 hrs
30.0 km
783 m
1,137 m
This section contains the interesting remains of another CCC camp, several picturesque stream crossings, the steepest climb on the OHT, and a side trip at the end to a truly unique twin falls.
Moderate
Private
Ozark Highlands Trail: Richland Creek Campground to the Buffalo River (Woolum)
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Ozark Highlands Trail: Richland Creek Campground to the Buffalo River (Woolum)

7 - 8 hrs
33.2 km
690 m
796 m
The final section of the OHT offers giant boulders, tranquil stream crossings, elk, views into hollows, and “The Narrows.”
Moderate
Private