A Comprehensive Guide to Scenic Trails Camping in Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita Mountains, which is considered a treasure trove of natural beauty, is a prime spot for scenic trails camping seekers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned camper or setting out for your first adventure, get ready to be amazed.

Just a sneak peek: there will be an array of trails that weave through lush forests, sparkling rivers, and majestic peaks. Our guide is here to equip you with top tips and essential knowledge for an unforgettable experience camping along the pristine trails of these magnificent mountains.

Getting to Know the Ouachitas

Before you pack your bags, let’s get acquainted with the Ouachita Mountains. This region is a wonderland of unspoiled wilderness, teeming with wildlife, natural hot springs, and clear lakes, all set against a backdrop of rugged terrain.

On top of that, thanks to the diverse ecosystem and microclimate within the Ouachitas, you can enjoy a new experience on every trip. Whether it’s a quiet retreat, an adrenaline-packed adventure, or simply want to soak in the natural beauty, the Ouachitas makes a perfect setting.

The Ouachita Mountains make a perfect setting for your scenic trails camping

The Ouachita Mountains make a perfect setting for your scenic trails camping

Top Tips for Scenic Trails Camping in the Ouachita Mountains

Choose the Right Trail

All adventures start with choosing the right trail. For unforgettable scenic trails camping in the Ouachitas, you can opt for the Ouachita National Recreation Trail and the Eagle Rock Loop. With varied landscapes, these two are among the favorites among campers. Also, consider your hiking level and what you want from your trip before letting go.

Pack Wisely

You’re going to set camp amidst the wild, so to make sure you and your team can enjoy a comfortable stay, don’t forget to pack wisely. Essential items include a sturdy tent, a sleeping bag suited for the season, navigation tools like a map or GPS, water purification tools, and a first-aid kit. Remember, the weather can change quickly, so layer up!

Leave No Trace

Respect the natural beauty of the Ouachitas by following Leave No Trace principles. This includes packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and being considerate of wildlife and other campers.

Explore more: The Complete Guide to Camping

Keep an Eye on Water Sources

Another tip to pick up is all about water! Yes, we all know how important water is. Therefore, before venturing out, you should do a little research to know the location of water sources along your chosen trail. While many streams and rivers are clean, always treat water before drinking to avoid possible contaminants.

Check Weather and Trail Conditions

A quick check of the weather and trail conditions before heading out can save you from surprises. This region can experience sudden weather changes, which might impact your camping experience.

Must-Know for First-Timers

If it’s your first time camping in the Ouachitas, prepare for a genuine back-to-nature experience. Firstly, you should inform someone of your itinerary and when you’ll be back in advance. The cell service in the trails camping can be spotty, so it’s better safe than sorry.

It’s also necessary to get familiarized with the local wildlife because you’ll be out with nature for a couple of days. And remember, many camping spots are true to the backcountry spirit, with no facilities, so leave your site as pristine as you found it.

Top 3 Scenic Trails for Camping in the Ouachita Mountains

Now that you’re equipped with the necessary trail camping tips, let’s find out the 3 most scenic trails camping spots in the Ouachita area and see which one suits your activities level and camping purposes the most.

Ouachita National Recreation Trail

For those who love scenic trails camping, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail will be their dream come true. Spanning 223 miles across the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, this long trail lets campers and hikers wind through breathtaking forests and rocky areas.

Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous scenic points that are perfect for setting up camp, such as the serene Lake Ouachita Vista and the panoramic views from Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

A tent pitched near a lake in Ouachita National Recreation Trail

A tent pitched near a lake in Ouachita National Recreation Trail

The trail is easy to follow and has special spots just for camping. Therefore, it’s perfect for both experienced backpackers and those just wanting to enjoy a bit of peace in the outdoors. Whether you’re up for a long backpacking trip or just a night under the stars, be prepared to immerse yourself in endless natural beauty and quiet moments.

Little Missouri Trail

The second ideal scenic trails camping recommended for you is the Little Missouri Trail. Tucked away in the Ouachita National Forest, this camping trail is a gem, boasting beautiful waterfalls, clear streams, and green valleys. Stretching 16 miles long, so it’s more manageable than the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, but it’s just as full of wonders.

Little Missouri Trail is another must-visit for your scenic trails camping time

Little Missouri Trail is another must-visit for your scenic trails camping time

Key highlights of this trail include the stunning Little Missouri Falls and the tranquil Winding Stairs area. There, you can find idyllic spots alongside the river to pitch your tents. Don’t forget to spare some time to cool off in the natural pools, or just simply listen to the sound of running water. Such a healing therapy for a getaway from busy daily life.

The trail is pretty easy to walk, making it a great option for families or anyone new to hiking.

Eagle Rock Loop

Eagle Rock Loop stands out as one of the most challenging yet rewarding hikes in the Ouachita Mountains. Being the longest loop trail in Arkansas, stretching 26.8 miles, Eagle Rock Loop will bring adventure lovers a thrilling time with its steep climbs, river crossings, and tough paths.

The views, especially from Eagle Rock Vista, are incredible. You can take your eyes on the vast mountains and valleys as a rewarding achievement.

Eagle Rock Loop is a challenging trail among the scenic trails camping options

Eagle Rock Loop is a challenging trail among the scenic trails camping options

While trailing through the Eagle Rock Loop, your group can stop by the Albert Pike Recreation Area, which is a lovely spot for camping and swimming.

Despite its difficulty, or maybe because of it, Eagle Rock Loop draws campers who are looking for an adventure deep in the beauty of the Ouachitas. With a bit of planning, this trail promises a camping experience full of breathtaking sights and a proud sense of achievement.

How to Make the Most of Your Scenic Trails Camping Experience?

To fully enjoy your scenic trails camping trip in the Ouachitas, allow yourself to disconnect and dive into nature. Plan to explore, whether it’s hiking, checking out nearby hot springs, or simply enjoying quiet moments by the campfire under a star-lit sky. It’ll be very relaxing and give you energy for the rest of the hike.

If you’re a photo lover, you will find endless inspiration during your trail camping time thanks to the untouched beauty of nature. So, enjoy!


Camping along the scenic trails camping of the Ouachita Mountains is a chance to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and find peace away from everyday life. By following these tips and insights, you’re all set for a memorable journey through one of America’s most beautiful natural landscapes.

Remember to respect nature, plan well, and be open to the amazing Ouachita adventures that await.

Explore more: Things to do In Hot Springs in the Ouachita Mountain

Rate this post

Related Posts