Ouachita National Recreation Trail System
52175 Hwy 59
The Ouachita National Recreation Trail System boasts a healthy mix of beginner, intermediate and expert level trails that will take you over the river and through the woods, plus much more. Nearly 50 miles of trails are offered in this beautiful section of southeast Oklahoma, which is the home of the majestic Ouachita Mountains and Talimena Scenic Byway. Strap on your hiking boots, pack a picnic and hit the trails.
Talimena State Park to Deadman Gap (GPS N 34 47.007, W 94 57.062): Whether you're a hiker or mountain biker, there is something to love about this eight mile long trail that stretches from the Talimena State Park headquarters to Deadman's Gap. More than half of the heavily shaded trail is covered with rocks, so novice mountain bikers need to be wary. Be sure to keep an eye out for the blue trail markers, otherwise you may get turned around on one of several intersecting trails. Old legend has it that several horse thieves were captured and hanged at Deadman's Gap, so be on the lookout for the notorious hanging tree, which features a curved overhanging branch.
Deadman Gap to Horsethief Spring (GPS N 34 46.332, W 94 52.308): It's easy to get lost on this overgrown, rocky trail, so keep on the lookout for the blue trail markers. If winding up and down mountainsides, climbing over rocks and generally forging your own path doesn't appeal to you, steer clear of this strenuous strip. If you go on this 12 mile trail, be sure to dress appropriately and bring a compass to help guide you in the right direction.
Horsethief Spring to Winding Stair Trailhead (GPS N 34 44.270, W 94 43.582): The area around Horsethief Spring is so beautiful you may never want to leave. While you're standing at the spring, peer over the side of Winding Stair Mountain to take in the amazing panoramic view. This easy trek winds you through a heavily wooded area rich with the smell of pine trees and across a bubbling creek. At four miles, this trail is perfect for a day trip or bring along a tent and set up camp at the Winding Stair Campground.
Winding Stair Campground to Hwy 259 (GPS N 34 42.867, W 94 40.786): From the Winding Stair Campground, you'll cut back to the west for a short jaunt before winding your way steadily south and east to Highway 259. This intermediate to expert level hiking trail runs nearly seven miles and is packed with beautiful scenery including a hardwood forest and a walk across Cedar Creek. The blue trail markers are not difficult to see, but the trail poses a challenge for its steep inclines and declines.
Hwy 259 to Pashubbe Trailhead (GPS N 34 40.011, W 94 38.922): This four mile hike is a relatively easy one, but make sure you don't get sidetracked at the beginning. Like the other trails in this system, the route from Highway 259 to Pashubbe Trailhead is marked with blue signs; however, part of this trail's entry runs concurrent with another, so keep an eye out for a sharp left turn. This trail does have a handful of rocky patches, but overall this makes for an easy, yet scenic, trek.
Pashubbe Trailhead to Kiamichi River Trailhead (GPS N 34 39.610, W 94 36.089): This tricky trail measures five miles, and most of those are lined with rocks, steep inclines and obscure markers. Despite that, the hike is worth it for the amazing southern view you'll see from atop Wilton Mountain. This trail concludes at the Kiamichi River, so go ahead and dip your hands in to cool off.
Kiamichi River Trailhead to Oklahoma border (GPS N 34 39.594, W 94 32.498): As one of the most advanced trails in the Ouachita National Recreation Trail System, the nearly seven mile route from the Kiamichi River to the Oklahoma-Arkansas border begins with an easy to navigate trail scattered with primitive tent sites. After about two miles hikers will come across a stream to cross via stepping stones. The next obstacle comes in the form of Rich Mountain, and you'll have to navigate the ascension over rocky surfaces. The trail will finally begin to descend just before it ends near the highway.