Ouachita National Forest: Little Missouri Trail - Backpacker

Ouachita National Forest: Little Missouri Trail

This 8-mile stroll through the Winding Stair area offers dayhikers some of the most scenic viewpoints in the Ouachita Mountains.

Follow the Little Missouri Trail into the hills and along the river's edge on this 8-mile out-and-back to the popular Winding Stair area. Beginning at the Albert Pike Recreation Area, head west on the Little Missouri Trail. Within the first 0.5 mile, the route climbs nearly 300 feet to an overlook with views to the northeast.
From there, enjoy a gradual descent over the next 1.5 miles, crossing FR 106 and passing a cemetery along the way. Continue on the Little Missouri Trail, toward a wet river crossing of the Little Missouri River at mile 3.6. At the junction of Raven Branch and Little Missouri trails, drop your pack and take in picturesque views of emerald pools and towering rock formations before returning to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Charlie Williams

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.9



Location: 34.375413, -93.87795

The hike begins at the Albert Pike Recreation Area. Head west from Camp B and prepare for a steep, 300-foot climb at 0.25 mile.


Location: 34.373638, -93.888581

At 0.75 mile, continue straight across FR 106. From there, begin a gradual descent for the next mile, passing an old cemetery on the way.


Location: 34.364135, -93.901631

At the junction, continue south on the Little Missouri Trail. In about 1.5 miles, the trail crosses the Little Missouri River.


Location: 34.354932, -93.910746

Take your shoes off at this wet crossing of the Little Missouri, traversing a gravel bar mid-river.


Location: 34.349483, -93.909538

Drop your pack and relax at the junction of Raven Branch and the Little Missouri. This popular area is home to rocky outcroppings, vibrant wildflowers, and emerald pools. Spend the night here, or backtrack to the trailhead.

Winding Stair

Location: 34.354951, -93.910532

© Charlie Williams

Winding Stair

Location: 34.349619, -93.909223

© Charlie Williams