New: A 29 map set of the entire Ouachita Trail.
The Ouachita Trail begins north of Talihina, Oklahoma on the west edge of the Ouachita National Forest and ends 223 east on Pinnacle Mountain in central Arkansas. On this web page you will find topographic maps with high quality trail renditions for the first 21 miles of the trail. These are the same maps listed individually under Ouachita Trail Loops on the home page of OuachitaMaps.com. At the junction of the East Billy Creek Trail, map coverage continues with free full scale maps found on the Winding Stair to US 259 page and the US 259 to Queen Wilhelmina page. My coverage ends at Queen Wilhelmina State Park but you can find links to maps to most of the remaining Ouachita Trail on the Queen Wilhelmina to Pinnacle Mt page.
The Maps: All of the maps on this page are nominal 1:24,000 based on USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle topographic maps. They are printed in color on 11x17, "Rite in the Rain” all weather writing paper. The hiking trails were mapped with a WAAS enabled GPS and each is drawn in different colors. Also shown are other trails and forest roads not shown on the standard quads. Other features include trailheads, segment mileage, general directions, waypoints and waypoint coordinates.
Although there are four maps that cover the Ouachita Trail from Talimena State Park to the East Billy Creek Trail junction, only 3 are needed. The first section, from the State Park to the Gap is covered by either the Boardstand-Old Military Loop or the Talimena Bohannon Loop. While both show the Ouachita Trail, the former includes the two named trail that cross Holson Valley to the north and the latter shows a loop in the Kiamichi Valley to the south that uses the Indian Nations Trail. In order to fit the loop on one sheet, the Boardstand map was reduced to a true scale of 1:28,420. The Talimena Bohannon loop was also shrunk-to-fit and has a true scale of 1:26,800.
The Holson Valley Loop picks up the Ouachita Trail at Deadman Gap and traces it to Horse Thief Spring. To fit on one map, the scale was reduced to 1:33,000. The last map is the Horse Thief Spring-Billy Creek Trails. It overlaps with the Holson Valley Loop and picks up the Ouachita Trail west of the West Horse Thief Trail junction. On the east side, it extends past the East Billy Creek Trail and overlaps with the Winding Stair-US 259 map. Since it is a vertical map it only covers about 4.5 miles of the Ouachita Trail. To fit both the Horse Thief Springs and Billy Creek trail networks on one sheet, the scale was reduced to 1:25,400. More information on each loop map is available on their respective pages.
Talimena State Park to Deadman Gap: The Ouachita Trail begins at Talimena State Park, just off of US Highway 271 northeast of Talihina Oklahoma. The trailhead for the Ouachita Trail is well marked and on the east side of the park. Camping, showers and restrooms are available. Tent camping $12 per night. Overnight parking while hiking is $5 per night payable at the envelope drop at the trailhead.
The trail leaves the trailhead heading east following blue blazes, then curves to north and follows the east side of a small ridge. At 0.7 miles is the junction with Old Military Road Trail (white blaze). Going straight will put you on the Boardstand-Old Military Loop. Instead, turn right and climb the back of Winding Stair Mt, a thrust-faulted mountain formed from Pennsylvanian-aged Jackfork Sandstone. Watch for the spring at 0.9 miles.
At 1.1 miles, the Indian Nation Trail crosses the Ouachita Trail for the first time. It will cross 2 more times by mile 1.4. At 2.4 miles is the spur trail to Potato Hills Vista and easy access to Talimena Scenic Drive. While this can serve as an alternate access for a short trip, there are no facilities. The Frazier Creek campsite, a spacious, wooded one tent site (you could force more) with abundant rock furniture and a big fire ring is at 3.5 miles. Though water is often available, this campsite is dry until the fall rains come. Cache water up the draw on Talimena Drive.
The Panorama Vista campsite is at 4.8 miles. It has room for several tents but is dry. Cache water at Panorama Vista on Talimena Drive (no facilities). The junction of the Panorama Vista Spur is 0.2 miles past the campsite.
At Forest Road 6010 (5.8 miles), go straight across the road and bear southwest following blue blazes. If you are not paying attention, you might end up on the prominent unblazed trail that goes downhill to the southeast.
At 7.1 is the junction of the Bohannon Trail. Following it south and downhill will connect you to Indian Nation Trail and return you to Talimena State Park (the Talimena-Bohannon Loop). Instead go straight, round a bend, cross Bohannon Creek and pass the Bohannon Creek camp site (7.3 miles). This is a single-tent site with lots of rock furniture and a fire ring. There is usually flowing water, but if the creek is dry, you will likely find water in a rock basin below the tent pad.
The Ouachita Trail crosses Talimena Drive at 7.9 miles. If this is the end of your hike, turn left leaving trail and walk along the drive for 0.2 miles to Deadman Vista.
Deadman Gap to Horse Thief Spring: This section is covered by the Holson Valley Loop map. It is so named because the map offers several different loop trail options allowing you to do sections of the Ouachita Trail without needing a shuttle. From Deadman Gap, head down the north flank of Winding Stair Mt for 0.6 miles to the junction of the Boardstand Trial. The Boardstand offers two opportunities. First, you can follow it all the way back to the west and pick up the Old Military Road Trail. It, in turn will lead you south back over Winding Stair at Old Military Road Vista and back to the Ouachita Trail at mile 0.7. Alternatively, at the bottom of the mountain, the Boardstand also intersects with the Indian Nation Trail, which if taken east can be used to make some of the aforementioned loops.
Since this narrative is about the Ouachita Trail, stay on it and keep going east. The next 3.6 miles follows a series of benches about half way down the north side of the Winding Stair Mt. The only difficulty in this section of trail is it can be very rocky. We dubbed a couple sections "Ankle Break Pass". (Not a pass, no breaks or sprains, but it felt right). At 12.1 miles is the Dozer Road that leads down to Forest Road 8553 and Holson Valley Road. The Dozer Road has a berm at the bottom and cannot be accessed by vehicle. However, it can be used to connect with the Indian Nation Trail. Go west on the INT and close the loop with the Boardstand. Go east and make a loop that will ultimately join the Horse Thief Springs Trails and, finally, the Ouachita Trail.
Still staying with the Ouachita Trial, continue an eastward hike along terrain similar to the previous section. At 17.2 mile, the West Horse Thief Trail will intersect from the north. This is one of the places you can rejoin the Ouachita Trail if you are on one of the Holson Valley loops. At 18.4 and 18.5 you'll hit the west and east spur trails to Horse Thief Spring. The East Horse Thief Spring Trail joins the Ouachita Trail near the east spur trail.
Horse Thief Spring to Winding Stair.The Horse Thief-Billy Creek map started covering the Ouachita Trail almost a mile before the West Horse Thief Spring Trail.
From the east spur trail of the Spring (mentioned above), it is 2.2 miles to the junction of the East Billy Creek Trail. The Ouachita Trail runs near the top of the Mountain over this section, just below Talimena Drive. The Winding Stair-US 259 map picks up the Ouachita Trail at the West Billy Creek Trail junction (20.7 miles).
Shuttles: Hiker shuttles are available from D&W Store (also known as Big Cedar Store, 918-651-3230), Big Cedar RV Park (918-651-3271) and Talking Talking Trees Campground (918-653-2187). Be sure to call ahead and make arrangement as neither is set up for drop in business.
Directions to Talimena State Park: Take US Hwy. 271 seven miles north east of Talihina OK. Turn right.
To Buy Map: These maps are available at Backwoods in Tulsa ($5) and by emailing Charlie@OuachitaMaps.com ($5 plus S&H).
Weatherproof Topographic Maps at
OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks