The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million wooded and wild acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

The Ouachita National Forest is located primarily in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Outstanding mountain views coupled with picturesque streams, rivers and lakes provide a unique and highly valued setting for camping and other types of outdoor recreation.

The Forest offers spectacular sightseeing and scenic driving as well as hunting, fishing and dispersed camping. Learn about the areas rich history at wayside exhibits along one of the scenic drives or experience unique botanical, mineral and prehistoric resources featured in information and educational programs.

An extensive trail system provides for all types of uses including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and off-highway vehicles (OHV).

A variety of services can be found at developed campgrounds ranging from rustic tent pads to full-service RV hookups. Enjoy exceptional water-based recreation opportunities including fishing, non-motorized boating and passive enjoyment of streams, rivers and lakes.

The forest also showcases the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area located in LeFlore County, Oklahoma. This congressionally designated area is recognized for outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities, especially horseback riding, scenic driving, wildlife viewing and hiking. The Talimena Scenic Byway traverses the national recreation area as it winds along the top of Winding Stair and Rich Mountains on its way into Arkansas. The Kerr Arboretum and Nature Center, a self-guided environmental education area is located here. Developed picnic areas, scenic overlooks, and historical interpretive exhibits can also be found along the drive.

Other special areas on the Ouachita National Forest include the Womble Trail, several wilderness areas and the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.


Ouachita statistics

Arkansas, Oklahoma

Nearest large Urban Area:
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Notes & Conditions:
Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Permits, passes, fees:
Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.

First-timer's adventure:
Ever hike without a trail?
It's possible in the Dry Creek Wilderness. Here, rock formations, wildlife and scenic vistas are a few of the treasures. This steep and rugged area is protected and managed to preserve the natural conditions.

To get there from Bonneville, take Hwy 23 south to County road 19. Head south on 19 to Forest Service road 141 and then take that to Forest Service road 51. To learn more, click here. (PDF)

Contact Info:
100 Reserve Street
P.O. Box 1270
Federal Building
Hot Springs, AR 71902

(501) 321-5202

Forest Service website >>

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Share a specific hike, paddle, bike, or other activity in this forest.

May 19 2008 6:06 PM | Ed & Shirley said…

We have been exploring the Ouachita Mountains in Perry County for several years now, and still have many more places we will be visiting in the future.

The Ouachita National Forest is truly a must preserve forest for the enjoyment of future generations.

May 15 2008 8:08 AM | Kristean Thompson said…

Lots of folks miss the best part of the Ouchita National forest.... Mount Ida Arkansas. Home to many crystal mines, antique shops and the world famous CAMP OZARK. The town hosts several events during the summer. Good Ole Days will be held the weekend of memorial day with an antique car show, music and dance, and of course FOOD... In October you can attend the Quartz, Quilts, and Crafts festival. The three-day festival is a real happening at Mount Ida. All the action is at the Montgomery County Fair Grounds just east of town. Between the crafts and the gem and mineral show, you’re sure to find a treasure. One might also enjoy seeing the quartz crystals the Championship Diggers are bringing in. Each day the best cluster and point, as picked by the judges, will be on display.
Every saturday evening , May thru October, you can enjoy some wonderful music at the Mount Ida Front Porch. Located on the courthouse square, the Front Porch hosts many national known musicians and dancers. Bring a lawnchair and enjoy the show.... music starts at 4.
Stop by and see what Mount Ida has to offer, adventure, wonder, and of course Fun !!

May 15 2008 7:07 AM | Maureen Didion said…

I have hiked, backpacked and camped in this park for almost forty years. We here in Arkansas are fortunate to have such a special area in the state.
We need to preserve it's beauty for suceeding generations - including my grandchildren.

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