Redding-Spy Rock Loop
This loop and side trip to Spy Rock is a 8.3 mile round trip and is a easy to moderate day hike. It also can make a quick overnighter if the weather is just to nice to waste inside. We were able to leave Tulsa Saturday morning for a relaxing backpacking trip and get back early Sunday with plenty of time to get all the honey-dos done.
The Map: The map provided here is a free download that is ready to print on 8.5 x 11 paper (click on the images). It is 1:24,000 scale based on USGS 7.5 minute quads. The loop was mapped with a WAAS enabled GPS in January 2005. The GPS track for the Spy Rock spur trail was gathered by Bob Miller (Green Country Outdoor Club) in November 2007. The loop and spur are in blue. Also shown is the approximate location of the connector trail to the Ozark Highland Trail.
The Hike. This narrative will start at the Redding Campground and go clockwise along the loop. The mileages shown are for the 6.6 mile loop, only. The side trip to Spy Rock is another 1.7 miles.
The campground is a fee site with camping, flush toilets, no showers and access to the Mulberry River. Park at the Mulberry River Canoe Access and trailhead parking lot (RS-01, UTM 428808 3948744). The trail is marked with blue blazes.
The trail heads in a northeast direction and quickly turns east through the campground. As evident by the Google Earth image, it is on level river bottom populated by pine trees. There is a trail sign at 0.6 miles indicating the junction of the West and East trails (RS-02, UTM 429583 3948326). Since this trail description is clockwise, turn north and follow the West trail.
Cross State Highway 215 (paved) at 0.8 mile (RS-03, UTM 429696 3948518) and head up hill through the mixed pine and hardwood forest. At 1.5 miles (RS-04, UTM 429470 3949490) the trail breaks out of the woods and begins to follow the edge of the bluff. There are some nice views of Bowden Hollow (below) and Spy Rock (north).
At 2.7 miles the trail crosses Forest Road 1504 (improved gravel) and reenters the woods directly across the road (RS-05 , UTM 431117 3950175). This road connects Redding Campground and a short spur trail to Spy Rock. RS-06 (3.0 miles, UTM431439 3950457) is another trail junction. Turn left (north) for a side trip to Spy Rock (1.7 mile round trip) or to connect with Ozark Highland Trail (about 1 mile). Turn right and follow the East Junction back to the campground.
There is a creek with waterfall below the trail at 3.4 miles (RS-07, UTM 431558 3950050). Water is generally available late fall through spring. You could get lucky and find water after a summer storm, but don't count on it. There is another creek at RS-08 (4.4 miles, UTM 431184 3949513) with a similar water situation. There is also a little camp site nearby.
Cross State Highway 215 (paved) again at 5.5 miles (RS-09, UTM 430194 3948337). The trail is across the road slightly to the right (west). In another 0.1 miles is another trailhead parking lot (5.6 miles RS-10, UTM 430064 3948303). Trail heads southwest into the pine forest of the river bottom. Return the loop junction at 6.0 miles (RS-02) and finish the last is 0.6 miles back to the parking lot (RS-01).
Info: Featured in Waypoints, Backpacker Magazine, May 2005, Midwest Edition. USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle topographic map: Cass AR (trails not shown). Contact Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Russellville, AR, (479) 964-7200, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Pleasant Hill Ranger District, Clarksville, AR, (479) 754-2864.
Directions: I 40 to Ozark AR. Go 14 miles north on Hwy 23 and right (east) on Hwy 215 to the Redding Campground. The trailhead is in the south west corner near the Mulberry River.
To Buy Map: This map is FREE. Click on image to access full size map and download it.
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