“Low hills, bluffs, river bottomlands and 16 miles around a beautiful lake, very different from the rest of the ONRT.”
— John Carroll
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This segment of the OT can be accessed at multiple points, for short day hikes, and is relatively easy.
Need to Know
The Ouachita Trail in this segment is not all in the national forest. Heading west-to-east, the Ouachita National Forest eastern boundary is at mile 192.5. From this point to ~ mile 198.5 the trail is on private timber land. From mile 198.5 to the end of the trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, mile 223.5, the trail traverses Central Arkansas Water Authority land. In this entire section there is only one designated campsite called the Penny Campsite, accessible via a spur trail at mile 208.5. The spur to Penny Campsite is about 1 mile and there is no water at the campsite. Central Arkansas Water Authority rules do not allow backcountry camping on the portion of the trail within Lake Maumelle Watershed land.
Segment 12 of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail
starts at the Highway 9 trailhead, at approximately mile 191.8. The OT crosses the highway and climbs back into the low mountains through pine, hickory, and oak forests, reaching the eastern Ouachita National Forest boundary at ~ mile 192.5, where there is a sign and the trail enters privately-held timber land. The Ouachita Trail (OT) continues along mountain ridges for another 1.5-2 miles before descending to a pipeline right-of-way along Patterson Branch (AKA "Pipeline Creek") where the trail turns north to follow the creek for several miles along an abandoned road.
After the trail leaves Patterson Branch, it turns east and at approximately mile 196 begins to follow the Big Maumelle River along it's south bank. There are a few bluffs and ups and downs over low hills in this area, but soon the trail follows the river on relatively flat terrain until reaching mile marker 202 at AR highway 10.
At mile 202, the trail turns north to cross the Lake Maumelle highway bridge. Immediately after the highway bridge, the trail re-enters the forest and follows the northern edge of Lake Maumelle until reaching Highway 300 in Little Rock near Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
The OT then follows Hwy 300, crossing an historic iron bridge over the Maumelle River, and reaches the southwest corner of Pinnacle Mountain State Park. From here, the OT enters the forest and joins the Base Trail
of Pinnacle Mountain State Park to the East Summit Trail
parking lot, where the OT begins its final 1.5 miles to Pinnacle Mountain Visitors Center, the eastern end of the Ouachita Trail (mile 223.5).