As I mentioned here, I had aborted my first attempt at the Tall Peak Trail after hiking less than halfway. I decided to try it another day after I realized how challenging the hike is (the elevation increase is over 1,000 feet) and that I should have gotten an earlier start.
The Tall Peak Trail, running from Shady Lake to the top of Tall Peak Mountain in the Ouachita National Forest, near Mena, Arkansas, is a little more than 3 miles, each way.
My February 24 visit went better. I made it to the top of Tall Peak Mountain and then made it all the way back. Yes, it was after dark when I finished, but I did finish it.
These are some photos I took of my hike that day. (Click photo for larger view. More after the jump.)
This past weekend I hiked part of the Tall Peak Trail in the Ouachita National Forest, Polk County, Arkansas. The trailhead is at the Shady Lake Recreation Area campground, near the Caney Creek Wilderness Area, about an hour’s drive southeast of Mena. (I started too late in the day to finish the trail.)
The campground is closed now for winter, but the trails are open. (You may have to park outside the gate.)
While there, I saw this map posted showing the Shady Lake Trail as well as the Tall Peak trailhead. (The trailhead is at the south end of the campground’s C Loop.)
Yesterday, I wanted to take some snow pictures so I headed toward Queen Wilhelmina State Park. It is up on Rich Mountain, near Mena, Arkansas.
It turned out that there was so much snow and ice at the park that the trails were closed, but I was able to get some pictures on the nearby Ouachita Trail section just west of the park. (This is the part I called 02-J, between the park and the pioneer cemetery. It is between Mile 50 and 51.)
The snow seemed a foot or more deep, but I didn’t bring a ruler. (Officially, Mena got 9 inches of snow.)
Hiking through snow that deep is kind of like hiking through a giant sandbox. Good exercise, but hard to move very fast.
The Earthquake Ridge Trail is a moderately challenging but short loop trail in the Ouachita National Forest, just north of Mena, Arkansas. It has a main loop and a few additional loops, one called the “Southern Loop.” Back in October, I hiked the main loop and the Southern Loop. It’s a nice little hike — under 3 miles by my measurements.
My gps measurement of the two loops is shorter than what is shown on the official Forest Service trail map. It shows the two loops (including an initial spur) having a total length of about 3.8 miles. My gps-based calculation for those 2 loops comes to about 2.8 miles.