|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Being in the south, and at low elevations, the weather becomes too hot and dry for July and August overnight hikes, so plan to hike the ONRT in spring or fall for a more pleasant experience. Water sources can completely dry up during the summer months along this trail. On the plus side, if you like solitude, this trail is just for you. It is very lightly used and is rarely close to civilization along the entire route.
The best, and perhaps only, trail guide for the ONRT is by Tim Ernst. Check him out at cloudland.net.
Jana and I recently did a backpacking hike of the first 2 sections of the ONRT in May. It was a tough hike to cover 50+ plus miles in only 3 days, and we only saw six people (a group of 2 and a group of 4) on the entire trip.
The official mileage for our trip was 51.6 miles, but with reroutes and detours around downed trees, etc. our GPS track showed that our total mileage was 54.4 miles on these two sections of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. We made detailed notes of trail conditions, missing mile markers, and other issues along the trail. This will allow us to report to the ranger districts responsible for these trail sections as well as the Friends Of the Ouachita Trail organization that organizes volunteer trail maintenance.
We put a lot of equipment through some good testing on this trip. This trip was long and challenging due to the mileage, but the experience and information coming out of it will be very useful down the road. I hope that if you are near the ONRT sometime in the future, you will take the time to hike a section or two of this remote trail.
For a complete trip report, visit: