Ouachita National Forest, nestled in the heartland of Arkansas and Oklahoma, is a hidden gem for horseback riding enthusiasts. With over 1.8 million acres of pristine land, this sprawling forest offers some of the best horse trails in the country. From scenic overlooks to peaceful valleys, Ouachita National Forest has a trail for every rider, regardless of skill level or experience.
One of the most popular trails in Ouachita National Forest is the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area Trail. This 28-mile loop trail takes riders through dense forests, across babbling creeks, and up to breathtaking vistas. The trail follows the ridge of the Winding Stair Mountains, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness. Riders often spot wildlife such as deer and foxes along the way, making this trail a nature lover's paradise.
For those seeking a more challenging adventure, the Horsethief Springs Trail is a must-visit. This 11-mile trail winds through rugged terrain, leading riders to the stunning Horsethief Springs. The trail is known for its steep climbs, rocky sections, and stream crossings, providing an exhilarating experience for advanced riders. As you make your way through the forest, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking scenery and a sense of accomplishment.
If you're looking for a family-friendly trail, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is an excellent choice. Stretching over 223 miles, this trail offers ample opportunities for day rides or overnight camping trips. The trail meanders through the forest, with gentle gradients and well-maintained paths. Along the way, riders can enjoy wildflower meadows, trickling streams, and peaceful camping spots. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a fantastic way to explore the beauty of the forest at your own pace.
Another notable trail within Ouachita National Forest is the Eagle Rock Loop. While primarily a hiking trail, it is also horse-friendly and offers astonishing views of the Cossatot River. This 25-mile loop trail is a favorite among riders who enjoy a mix of challenging terrain and serene landscapes. From climbing steep ascents to navigating rocky creek crossings, the Eagle Rock Loop provides an unforgettable horseback riding adventure.
Before embarking on any of these trails, it's essential to be well-prepared. Always pack plenty of water for both yourself and your horse, as well as food, a first aid kit, and maps of the area. Additionally, it is crucial to be aware of any permit requirements or trail regulations. Ouachita National Forest offers horse-friendly campsites and riding areas, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience for riders and their horses.
Ouachita National Forest is a paradise for horseback riding enthusiasts. Whether you seek thrilling adventures, relaxing rides, or scenic trails, this forest has it all. From the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area Trail to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail and the Eagle Rock Loop, there is a trail to suit every rider's preferences. So saddle up, explore the beauty of Ouachita National Forest, and create memories that will last a lifetime.