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Arkansas Backpacking - multi-night

My wife and I are looking for some multi-day backpacking trips in Arkansas. We'd be doing the trip in mid-September. Any suggested trips would be greatly appreciated, as well as recommendations on water supply options.

We are experienced backpackers on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and have good equipment including water filtration systems. We are not overly aggressive. We like to stop and enjoy the scenery and typically do about 10 miles/day 5-6 nights on the SHT, which has relatively short (<1 mile) inclines interspersed along the trail. Elevation doesn't scare us, but we may move a little slower.

Recommendations on where to get any permits would be helpful.

Thanks!

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4 Replies

@MnC Thanks for reaching out!

We've got a small but mighty contingent of folks here who are familiar with outdoor recreation in Arkansas, we'll tag them at the end of this post and hopefully they can get you some good local info. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out a couple of these posts where they have weighed in:

Hopefully this helps!

@KenBrenner (aka 'PoppaHiker') @NatStateExp @Adventuremike @ARHiker @Rae @EthanG @Skern26 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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I know the Buffalo River area is beautiful for taking horses and riding trails and camping.  Since I prefer to do my backpacking where I don't have to deal with so much humidity I don't know, but it might be worth checking out.

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Hi. 

I have one for you, the Ouachita Trail.

This trail is 223 miles long, running from in the west, Talimena State Park (Oklahoma) to Pinnacle Mountain State Park (near Little Rock, Arkansas).  Most of the trail (192 miles) is within the Ouachita National Forest.  The remaining 30+ miles are on private or state-owned lands in central Arkansas.  

There are various side trails to view points, camp sites, water, and intersecting trails.  The 37-mile Womble Trail is the longest of the "side" trails, and is open to hikers and bikers.

The trail is marked with traditional 2x6 inch blue paint blazes using the standard blazing conventions.  There are 21 trail shelters, which were built and maintained by the trail club "Friends of the Ouachita Trail - FoOT".  Here is a link to their web site: https://friendsoftheouachita.org/wp/ 

Here is a link to the US Forest Service page for the trail: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_039448.pdf 

Finally, here is a link to general information for the Ouachita Trail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouachita_National_Recreation_Trail 

There are several video series on YouTube about this trail.

If I wasn't so involved with trying to finish the remaining 1165 miles of the AT, I'd love to try this.  Based on all I've read, it is well marked and maintained, and is lightly used.  

There's also the Ozark Highlands Trail.
Do a search for that one.

Reply is you have more questions, will be interested to hear how this goes for you!

God Bless...

PoppaHiker
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The Buffalo River Trail is highly recommended! I went there in the Spring of 2019 and it was an abnormal winter wonderland.  We hiked Ponca to Boxley...I'd recommend taking the other rout for more scenic views of the river.  Due to weather, we had to make camp at Devil's Den State Park.  This was also not a disappointment.  Happy Trails!

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