I live in central Arkansas and did this loop in March. It's a beautiful trail with very unique scenery and rugged terrain, especially in the Winding Stair area.
We left the Albert Pike Rec. Area and headed clockwise (west) and it seemed to work well. Most of the wet crossings (Viles Branch) will be on your first day so you get that out of the way and are able to dally in the Winding Stair area if you'd like, Athen's Big Fork is the second and hardest day with up, up, and more up, and the last day is an easy hike back into Albert Pike.
If you're interested, we camped on top of Eagle Rock Vista (spur trail) the first night and just past the parking area on FR25 the second night. If you're going to overnight it, there are many nice spots around FR106.
Hope this helps.