Click on photos for larger images. Sometimes you have to refresh the page to re-activate this feature. Hide Slide Show (you will have to refresh the page to see it again)

Hot Springs / Ouachita Trail, AR

Oct 30 - Nov 6, 2016 -- $1275 ★★, Only 2 Spots Left

For over 200 years, people have come to Hot Springs, AR to bathe in its legendary healing waters to relax and treat illnesses. Many people still drink the hot waters, believing them to be theraputic and delicious. (Note: the Hot Springs no longer run wild and we will soak in them in one of the local bathhouses. What to expect at the bathhouse)

We will hike over 40 miles along the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, a beautiful and seldom hiked trail that goes between Little Rock, AR and Talimena, OK. The trail is inhabited by deer, wild turkeys, barred owls, hummingbirds, and if we're lucky, bald eagles and bears. But mostly, there are walking sticks, armadillos and interesting spiders such as tarantulas.

This itinerary is a continuation of the 2011-2013 & 2014-2015 itineraries, although we will hike the opposite direction. Our journey will begin at Queen Wilhelmina State Park near the border Oklahoma. The trail will stay high along a few ridges which means not that much up and down, but also not much water. We end the trip at Big Brushy, home of what must be the longest picnic table ever built, where the 2014 & 2015 trips ended. From there, we'll shuttle to the Hot Springs for a relaxing soak.

It's still fall in Arkansas and there are remnants of Fall Foliage, so why not join us, soak in the hot springs, see a part of the country few ever see, and get in shape in anticipation of the holiday season?


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures to be ideal -- in the 60s and nighttime temperatures in the 30s and 40s. However, be prepared for the possibility of overnight temperatures as low as the 20s and the possibility of rain or even snow. It poured one day on the 2014 trip, but we were fortunate to arrive at our shelter just as the rain started and stay inside until the next morning when it cleared up.

View historic weather for this area.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Dan Shattuck (First time Fatpacking guide)


$1275 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Little Rock, AR (LIT), personal equipment and any restaurant meals eaten off the trail.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, fees, permits, hot springs mineral bath (private services such as massage are extra), insurance, and 2 awesome guides.


Although we have run 5 previous trips on the Ouachita Trail, this is considered a "new" trip because we will be hiking a different section than before.

Much of the terrain on the Ouachita Trail is mellow and well graded, but there are sections where contours can be steep. The an 800' ascent and a 1000' descent, which can be a challenge but not a long-lasting one. Water can be scarce so we will have to carry more than 1 day's water on 2 separate occasions.

Back to top


Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
Sign up Now!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fly or drive into Little Rock (LIT). The best arrival time is between 12PM - 3PM, but if you can save a significant amount of money by arriving a little before or after, you should do so.

Take free airport shuttle to Comfort Inn & Suites Airport (AR099), 4301 East Roosevelt Rd., Little Rock, AR, 72206, (501) 376-2466

Equipment shakedown. We go through your pack and examine everything you brought.

Go to Ozark Outdoor Supply 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, AR to pick up any equipment participants forgot or still need. Open until 6PM

Trail mix distribution

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out for opening dinner, review trip orientation. Dinner not included in trip cost.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.

Go out for breakfast or hotel breakfast

Shuttle to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, elevation 2500'

Begin hiking at QWSP, elevation 2500'

Hike 5.1 mostly downhill miles to Highway 270, elevation 1700'

Hike 1.8 downhill miles to Eagle Gap, elevation 1400'

Camp near Eagle Gap at Clear Fork (reliable water here), elevation 1400'

Miles today: 6.9. Total miles: 6.9

Possible bailout: Highway 270

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hike 9.2 miles up (as high as 2300') and down a ridge to an unnamed creek, elevation 1400'

There are some small waterfalls we pass on the way here

Miles today: 9.2. Total miles: 16.1

Possible bailout: Highway 270

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hike 0.4 miles to highway 71

Hike 6.1 miles to Tan-a-Hill Gap, elevation 1700'

Dispersed Camp at Tan-a-Hill Gap practicing Leave No Trace, elevation 1700'

This is our last reliable water until the final night.

Miles today: 6.5. Total miles: 22.6

Possible bailout: Highway 71

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Today and tomorrow comprise a long, high and dry section which the guidebook says has "views everywhere"

There is no water along the trail today or at camp tonight, so fill up all 2 gallons of the containers and prepare to dry camp tonight. Though our packs are heavy, the terrain is reasonably good.

Hike 10.8 miles to Forest Rd. 76

Dispersed camp near FR 76 practicing Leave No Trace, elevation 1950'. No water here.

Miles today: 10.8. Total miles: 33.4

Possible bailout: FR 76 (not a good option though)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hike 9.5 ridge miles to Big Brushy Campground, elevation 850'. Reliable treatable water is here.

End of hiking

Camp at Big Brushy Campground which has big flat areas, picnic tables, and fire grates. The campground used to be a frontcountry car campground, but the car camping portion is now closed.

Miles today: 9.5. Total miles: 42.9

Possible bailout: Highway 270

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The shuttle comes to pick us up

Go for a mineral bath at Quapaw Historic Bathhouse, for a relaxing soak in the main bath area (included). Other services such as massage and private baths available at your own expense.

Shuttle to Comfort Inn & Suites Airport (AR099), 4301 East Roosevelt Rd., Little Rock, AR, 72206, (501) 376-2466

"After" measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Free breakfast in Hotel

Take Free Airport Shuttle

Back to top