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Sunset Loop

Intermediate
  4.3 ( 10 ) Favorite

Trail

9.3 mile 14.9 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,155' 352 m
Descent: -1,581' -482 m
High: 1,350' 411 m
Low: 534' 163 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Mikhaila Redovian

One of the most popular ways to enjoy the Sunset Trails.

Mikhaila Redovian

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This longer route combines the Sunset Trail and Sunset Trail (Stonebridge Section) in the most popular usage of these two scenic trails into one long, meandering route around the park.

Need to Know

The starting and ending points of this route make a shuttle necessary. Leave a car at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, or arrange to be dropped off at the Sunset trailhead on W. Mountain Summit Drive.

Description

If you're looking to escape from the crowds and urban areas of Hot Springs, this hike is the one for you! Covering a relatively long distance of nearly 10 miles, this trail traverses some of the most varied terrain in the park.

Visitors can choose to begin the route at either the north or the south end, though the proximity to parking makes the southwestern extent the more popular option, and the southern trailhead is where this guide begins. As visitors first leave town, the trail is somewhat rolling, though any elevation change will be gradual. The first few miles of the trail are also more likely to have other visitors, but don't worry, the crowds thin after the two-mile mark. You'll enjoy traversing West Mountain, and there are multiple great overlooks to be had on this portion of the trail.

Moving into the middle section of the trail is where the feeling of solitude will begin, and where you're most likely to see wildlife. Deer and wild turkey can be found in these quiet places, and are always a treat to catch sight of. There are also plenty of outcrops of novaculite, a mineral found in the Hot Springs Area that produces beautiful white outcrops. Take a moment to gaze at Balanced Rock, and the short jaunt down the Balanced Rock Trail is well worth your time.

As you continue northeast, you'll enjoy the mixed forest and scenic glades that present themselves near the trail. The trail will eventually come to a T, where the most popular route heads east to the Sunset Trail (Stonebridge Section).

Take this branch to the east, as the trail continues to descend. You'll soon find yourself near Stonebridge Rd, where you'll want to use caution crossing. On the other side of the road, you'll find Ricks Pond. Here is a great place to look for beaver or heron, and take in the sights around the pond. As the trail continues to Hwy 7, you'll have the opportunity to look at the ruins of an old generator mill. Enjoy looking through the ruins, but don't climb them!

After carefully crossing Hwy 7, you'll find yourself climbing the gentle slope that used to be Old Gorge Road. As the trail moves back into the forest and away from the road, keep an eye out for the remnants of the original stone retaining wall.

Continue on your way until you reach the Gulpha Gorge campground, where your journey will come to an end.

Flora & Fauna

On this less populated trail, look for deer and turkey, and beaver near Ricks Pond.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Hot Springs

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Check-Ins

Sep 28, 2018
Matt Cook
Sep 4, 2018
Mobolaji Laja-Akintayo
W/ best friend Jarett!
May 26, 2018
Brian Bowen
Nov 25, 2017
Marissa Stuart
Apr 8, 2017
Rebecca Smith
Mar 12, 2017
Ryan Barbe
9.3mi
Aug 28, 2016
Nicky Py
9h 45m
Aug 17, 2016
Brent Nelson

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 10 votes

#1910

Overall
  4.3 from 10 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

#7

in Arkansas

#1,910

Overall
154 Views Last Month
3,814 Since Apr 28, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Stone remnants of an old generator mill at Rick's Pond
May 13, 2016 near Hot Spr…, AR
Ricks Pond Waterfall
Sep 5, 2015 near Hot Spr…, AR
A view from the start of the Sunset Trail. The views from West Mountain are great.
May 27, 2019 near Hot Spr…, AR
The old stone dam creates Ricks Pond.
Apr 28, 2016 near Hot Spr…, AR
Trailhead coming up from Whittington Park.
Apr 2, 2016 near Hot Spr…, AR

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