Sunset Loop

 3 votes
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Featured Hike
Trail

9.3 Miles 14.9 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

1,155' 352 m

Ascent

-1,581' -482 m

Descent

1,350' 411 m

High

534' 163 m

Low

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

All Clear

69 days agoUpdate

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

Mikhaila Redovian

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.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Family Friendly: Great for kids!

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.

Contacts

Land Manager: NPS - Hot Springs

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3.7 from 3 votes


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Check-Ins

Aug 28, 2016
Nicky Py
9h 45m
Aug 12, 2013
Paul Morelli

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#2037

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
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#7

in Arkansas

#2,037

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223 Since Apr 28, 2016
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All Clear 69 days ago

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