November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
New Discoveries Along Eagle Rock Loop
Display Avatars Sort By:
Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Eagle Rock Loop Modified with Cousins on 04/24/2013 11:38:35 MDT Print View

My Christmas present to my Boy Scout cousins was and "I owe you" note for a backpacking trip on the Eagle Rock Loop in Arkansas.
In typical obnoxious cousin fashion I used a diabolical wrapping scheme. They unwrapped their package and inside was another, and inside that another, and another and another. The final package contained a note that told them to find another box under the tree and their present was inside it. After unwrapping five more packages inside packages they got their note.


Because of my work we couldn't leave until late. We drove to the Winding Stair Trailhead and camped about a quarter mile into the woods.


We were up early the next morning. The guys were not going super light but I'd helped them eliminate most of their excess stuff. Their packs were probably about 25 pounds.



On this trip I was testing and Exped Lighting 60 pack. It was really more space then I needed and the compression straps weren't doing enough so I'd added two more strap in the center and at the bottom.



We hiked down from the ridge and began following the Little Missouri River.


Most creek crossings were like this one, but one required wading. For my cousins this was a new experience. Most of their trips have been in Texas were the water (if there is any) is nasty and you have to carry all your drinking water.



At a ford we were pleasantly surprised to see BPL member Leigh Baker. She and I chatted for a while about packs, shoes and other gear geek topics before she continued on ahead of us.



We continued west toward Little Missouri Falls.


The guys tried pretty hard to stay on rocks and keep their feet dry. I wasn't as worried since I had already got my feet wet.


Little Missouri Falls was a lot more attractive then my previous trip it had been much smaller before.


After the falls we kept following more or less along the Little Missouri. There was plenty of poison ivy in the woods so we tried to be careful where we stepped.


The dogwoods were beginning to come out. I forgotten how pretty they could be.


After passing the Upper Little Missouri Trailhead the trail began to climb up steeply.


From the top we could see Humpback Knob.


I took the guys down a sidetrail that led to nice views of the mountains to the west.



While the cousins enjoyed the scenery I fiddle with the compression system on my pack. I ran a strap around the bottom and tightened it down to compress it better there. This covered the pockets but I'd been drinking from a shoulder mounted water bottle so it wasn't a huge deal. The pack was big but it carried very nicely. Notice my ridiculously big shirt. That is a $5 wool shirt scored at an REI garage sale. It may be huge but it was much less stinky then a synthetic t-shirt.


We quickly hiked down and up the next ridge. Our goal was too hike far enough that the following day would be shorter. G had a test to study for on Monday.


As we hiked over Brier Creek Mountain we quickly said hello to Leigh again.


We cowboy camped again by Brier Creek. Our total milage was about 16 miles. The guys were beat, they had no interest in starting a fire or cooking dinner on the stove. We ate a cold dinner and crashed.


In the morning we started hiking down and abandoned road bed that followed the creek. I knew there was a closed down road at the other end of Brier Creek where it joined the Little Missouri. I figured it was reasonable to assume that this would lead us out to the other side and make our route about 5 miles shorter plus all downhill.

feed plots

We passed about five open meadows along the way. Whether they are old homesteads or clear cuts I have no idea. Apparently they are now kept open as feed plots by the FS.



The road was nice but apparently never used. We called it the "Ghost Road." It was actually more secluded then hiking along the popular trails.


Eventually we returned to the Little Missouri Trail and quickly hiked back south toward the Albert Pike Trailhead.

At the trailhead I had an idea. I left the guys with my pack and headed across the ridge to the Winding Stair Trailhead where our car was. I ended up running most of the way which won the the official "Bad Boy" award for the hike.


We quickly drove out to the nearest town for some fast food before heading home to Texas.

Highlights of the trip where
-Exped Pack
-Wearing a mostly wool t-shirt and NOT smelling myself
-Exploring a new place
-Fun with cousins
-Hiking my cousins into the ground then running two miles while they took a nap "Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm!"

Edited by Cameron on 04/24/2013 11:55:42 MDT.

casey hardin
Wside ERL rpt on 04/24/2013 19:28:59 MDT Print View

Luke, nice report; I missed the date?

Those road traces are 'way better' than most trails, so keep at it. Many of them (on the quads) are worth exploring...

Good fotos. Thx.

You're a Bro for taking ur buddies and letting them off the hook when they got tired.

I mean, 'too tired to eat' --we all remember that, OUCH !


SO, iff U don't get outta bigD soon enuff, -continue north and check the Ozarks. Good stuff!

Both are awesome Oct/Nov for foliage.
Thank you 4 rpt.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Wside Loop ERL report on 04/24/2013 23:46:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for the kind words Casey. The date was this past weekend (April 20-21).

If you knew my cousins you'd know how impressive it was for them to be too tired to eat! Actually what they ate was a loaf of poppyseed bread my aunt sent. It was great but Steven decided to carry it in a metal ammo can to keep it from getting squashed! As you can see I have some work to do on their packing!

I saw some other old road traces that were much fainter then the one we followed. There was one going down from the ridge north of Brier Creek that was really old. It had trees growing in the middle of it but you could still see the flattened area on the mountainside. I would love to follow some of those really old road but I think I'll save that for winter when there isn't so much poison ivy. I also thought just following a ridgeline in winter might be a cool thing to try.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re:"New Discoveries Along Eagle Rock Loop" on 04/25/2013 05:20:09 MDT Print View

Luke, great report. It was great seeing you on the trail and meeting your cousins. Thanks again for letting me try out the pack. I'm really intrigued now about that old road. I'm looking forward to exploring it sometime early next spring before things get grown up, and after hunting season ends.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Other hikes in the Ouachitas? on 03/30/2014 09:12:12 MDT Print View

My wife and I are looking for a hike the weekend of May 16-19. We have some friends that may not be able to complete the 26-27 mile hike. Are there other options or is Eagle Rock Loop the one to go to?

We live in Houston so we are looking for something 7 hrs or less.

Stinson 108
Arkansas Hikes on 04/01/2014 09:36:07 MDT Print View

Tim Ernst has a great book on Arkansas Hiking trails. Lots of other options in the Ouchitas, also along the Buffalo River near Ponca. The book is available on Amazon. Has an obvious title, not sure what it is.