Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)

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"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
View from Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail

Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail is one of those trails that seemed much more difficult when I first hiked it a few years ago than it does to me now. Some weight loss and lots of day hikes have probably helped.

Even though it doesn’t seem all that difficult to me now, I’m still giving it a “5″ (out of 5) difficulty rating. I figure when a trail has a 600+ foot elevation increase, that’s enough to put it in the “most strenuous” category.

"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Sugar Creek and Bluffs at Jack Creek Recreation Area

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"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Approximate Elevations Based on GPS Data

Interactive Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail Map

Click here for large interactive trail map.

 

The trail starts at Jack Creek Recreation Area in the Ouachita National Forest, about 10 miles south of Booneville, Arkansas. This is a beautiful area to go for a picnic, a swim, or just to hang out.

Sometimes the main gate at the park is closed during the off-season. If it is, you can still park outside the gate and walk to the trailhead. Or you can enter the park through the secondary entrance a little further up the road.

The trailhead is toward the lower end of the park. The trail starts by first crossing Sugar Creek. It then proceeds straight (east) heading up Hole in the Ground Mountain. The uphill climbing starts pretty quickly.

The trail is well-marked with rectangular white blazes.

After about 1,000 feet, you should notice a giant horseshoe-shaped bend to your right. It is beautiful, but you should be very careful if you walk off the trail over to this area as it has dangerous bluffs.

"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Sugar Creek by Jack Creek Recreation Area
"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail

There are some very nice views of the surrounding mountains and countryside once you get near and at the summit area.

After the summit area, the rest of the hike is a long walk along a forested ridge.

There are some real advantages to wearing long pants rather than shorts on this trail due to some of the thorn vines you are likely to encounter.

The trail ends at the area where FR 51 and FR 141 intersect. Unless you have a second vehicle waiting for you, this is the point where you turn around and head back. It is about 7.4 miles to the end and back.

It is not unusual in the springtime for the water in Sugar Creek by Jack Creek Recreation Area to be too high to make a dry crossing. If that happens, you can park at the east end on FR 51 and then hike back towards Sugar Creek. That is not the preferred way to do the trail because then you will have the most difficult part of the hike (the climb up from Sugar Creek) right in the middle of your journey.

"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
View from Summit Area on Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail
"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Horshoe Bend Near Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail
"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo
Official USFS Trail Map

As usual, I have posted some of my photos and a gpx map made from my gps data. You can click the photos for a larger view.

Click here for gpx file download.

VITAL INFO
Trail Name and LocationHole in the Ground Mountain Trail - Jack Creek Recreation Area, Ouachita National Forest
County, StateLogan County, Arkansas
Date Hiked11-06-2010
Weather/Conditions40's/50's/60's
DirectionsThe trailhead (with parking) is at Jack Creek Recreation Area, about 10 miles south of Booneville. The end of the trail is at FR 51.
Hike Length/Type7.4 miles/out and back
Other Permitted UsageNone
Difficulty

(1=Easy; 5=Most Difficult)

5
ATT Cell Coverage?Yes.
Official Info - Phone/Links(501) 321-5202 Website. Trail Map.

Enter your location to get directions to this general area:

[Updated: 2011-05-09]

"Hole in the Ground Mountain Trail (Ouachita Forest) (7 mi)" photo

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