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AR OHT in march
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Phil Brown

Locale: Traverse City MI
AR OHT in march on 02/05/2009 08:52:57 MST Print View

I'm planning a one week trip on the Ozark Highlands Trail (5-6 days) during my break the second week of March.
Thinking about starting at the western terminus at Ft. Smith state park. I am bringing 3 friends with me, some who have backpacking experience and one with very little, so I was going to take it easy and plan on doing around 10-13 miles a day max.
Can anyone who has experience with this trail recommend a five day hike here? Obviously I will also need to either hire a shuttle back to the starting trailhead or leave another car somewhere on the route.
Also concerned about the weather... I know the low temps won't be too bad, but is this a rainy area? I have never been to arkansas so I'm not sure what to expect.
Any help on this would be appreciated. I'm sure I will have more questions since I just started planning this trip. I ordered the OHT guidebook which was recommended by BPL members but I haven't received it yet.


Edited by pbrown19 on 02/05/2009 08:54:14 MST.

Luke Ochsenbein
(LukeOchsen) - F

Locale: Ozarks
OHT on 02/05/2009 15:33:36 MST Print View

Rain is definitely possible in march on the OHT. In arkansas the weather reports are usually accurate for a few days at least. March is one of the better months for hiking in arkansas. Have Fun!

James Ennis
(JimEnnis) - F

Locale: South
OHT in March on 02/15/2009 06:59:54 MST Print View

If you have Tim Ernst's OHT Guide, then you could plan to hike Sections 1-3 for a total of approximately 57 miles, starting at Lake Ft. Smith and ending at Lick's Branch TH. Sections 2 and 3 have some of the most awesome views of the entire OHT.
Now for the bad news. Northern Arkansas recently experienced some of the worse ice storms in recent years. This has caused massive amounts of downed trees and limbs. The OHT has experienced its fair share of this type of damage. The Forest Service has closed all designated campsites until further notice.
The OHT is opened, but it will be extremely difficult going in places. Check out the OHTA website and for the latest information.
Good Luck,

(strong806) - F
Re: OHT on 02/17/2009 17:54:15 MST Print View

E-mail from Tim Ernst:

"No telling. We hope to have most of the trail open by then but it is really bad in some spots and the going is slow. I just came back from about 6 hours of chainsaw work and I only made it .6 mile. The trail from Fairview to Woolum may be entirely devastated - we don't really know since no one has hiked it. The eastern end of the trail still has many bad sections we think - no one has hiked it. The middle sections appear to be OK for the most part but no one has hiked them. What we need is a lot of folks to get out and hike these sections and let us know the conditions. I'll continue to post updates to the web page as we get hard information. March is a great time to be out for sure!"

Phil Brown

Locale: Traverse City MI
OHT on 02/18/2009 14:19:29 MST Print View

Thank you all for your insight.
I do have Tim's book and I checked the trail updates. I am not overly worried since I plan to only hike on the western part of the trail. The sections I plan on hiking are at worst listed as having "some heavy damage on ridgetops". I plan to go ahead with it anyways and persevere regardless. As long as I can still roughly follow the trail I don't think there should be much of a problem.

I am very excited about this trip:-)


Edited by pbrown19 on 02/18/2009 14:20:02 MST.

Cali Terrasas
(cal429258) - F

Locale: So Cal
OHT on 02/18/2009 20:03:17 MST Print View

Hi Phil
I am very jealous of you right now and then again Im notJ
I though hiked the trail a few years ago and loved it except for the painfully thick blackberry bush’s on section 2,They where bad enough to get me to make an ultra light brush blade.
I will never forget OZONE ether, I can still hear the banjos playing!?!?!?!
Great burgers though!
Good luck and have a great time.

(strong806) - F
Re: OHT in March on 02/19/2009 16:19:29 MST Print View


After going back and forth, I have decided to thru-hike the OHT starting March 6th. If I can't make my daily mileage I will just turn around.

If you want PM me with details of your trip maybe we can combine shuttling or something.

Let me know if you get any quotes or info regarding the shuttle companies in the guidebook.

Likewise I will share anything I learn in this thread.