View Full Version : Mid-West AT Proving Ground?

05-10-2005, 13:37
I am in Dallas, Texas and not near any good forested trails. A posting on Whiteblaze brought my attention to the Ouachita Trail in the Ouachita Nation Forest. It is about 4 to 5 hours from Dallas. It runs 225 mile from Southwest Oklahoma to just west of Little Rock Arkansas. I have been up and over several small sections of this trail. It is very nice and offers some interesting challenges. It runs through fairly typical Eastern Harwood Forest and crosses a number of Wilderness Areas. Parts are mixed use with mountain bikers sharing some of the trail but generally it is little used. It does not have the altitude of the AT but does have more re-supply issues and opportunities for long distance solitude. Mental challenges I guess would be the biggest thing.

Warren Doyle has promoted the idea for sometime that if you can complete Vermontís Long Trail, then you can be successful with an AT thru-hike. The LT is a bit out of the way for me. If you are looking for a long distance trail and a proving ground for the AT you might want to check out the Ouachita Trail. Tim Ernst has a trail guide available which you can get through the Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT) website, www.friendsot.org. Other Whiteblaze members are far more familiar with this trail than I am but I thought I would pass it along.

05-10-2005, 13:51
In Oct 04, 3 of us did a thru hike of the Ouachita Trail starting in Oklahoma. Sections of the trail were in pretty bad shape. Since our hike the trail has been cleaned up and is in great shape. Two hikers did a thru hike last month with no problem. I would recommend it to anyone. Water supply is the only problem with this trail.