Arkansas boasts some of the finest off-road trails in the country, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty and heart-pounding excitement. From the rugged terrains of the Ouachita Mountains to the serene forests of the Ozark National Forest, there’s something for every off-road riders. Let’s dive into the best 9 off-road trails in Arkansas that have garnered a significant following. And don’t forget to grab all your gear, including Tozalazz 12v air compressor of course.
Superlift Off Road Vehicle Park – Hot Springs
Located in the picturesque city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Superlift Off Road Vehicle Park is a gem nestled in the Ouachita Mountains. This park is a heaven for adventurers seeking a diverse landscape of dense forests, rocky terrains, and awe-inspiring scenic overlooks. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, the park caters to all skill levels. Trails range from leisurely strolls to pulse-pounding challenges, ensuring an unforgettable experience for everyone.
The park is typically open year-round, providing ample opportunities for you to explore its wonders. As for costs, an admission fee is typically required, which may vary based on factors like the number of days you plan to visit, the type of vehicle you bring, and any additional amenities you may require.
Wolf Pen Gap ATV Trails – Mena
In the heart of Mena, the Wolf Pen Gap ATV Trails offer an adventure set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Ouachita National Forest.There are approximately 41 miles of ATV trails in the area, ranging from easy flat paths to challenging trails with steep vertical climbs. The landscape is stunning, with abundant trees, babbling brooks, a couple of caves, an old mine, and picturesque scenery all around.
It’s worth noting that these trails seem to be open to any off-road vehicles, as we encountered a group facing difficulties. They had an International Scout with a broken third member, and they were struggling to extract it. Lacking proper equipment, they were attempting to secure their strap when I decided to help by providing my $30 shackle from Tractor Supply. I’ll have to replace it later, but I couldn’t leave fellow off-roaders stranded. The Jeep was trying to tow the International, but the stubborn red clay mud was giving them a tough time. They had only a short distance to go, but I estimated it would take them another couple of hours to get out.
I would advise against bringing anything larger than an ATV on these trails due to their narrow width. We had to turn back and change direction because there was no room to pass, and the turnaround required a challenging three or four-point maneuver due to the narrow trail and a steep cliff on one side.
If you’re primarily interested in enjoying the scenery, there are numerous forest service roads in the area that offer a more spacious and remote experience. These roads cross streams and provide exceptional views, making them a worthwhile option for exploration while you’re in the vicinity.
Mill Creek OHV Trail – Ozark National Forest
This section of the Ozark National Forest features approximately 42 miles of designated trails, forming three extensive but interconnected loops. These trails are designed for experienced riders and offer challenging terrain, characterized by rugged, compacted ground with occasional patches of loose chunky rock, water crossings, and inclines ranging from moderate to steep.
The primary staging area provides amenities such as gravel parking, a loading ramp, a vault toilet, and an informational board. There is a small fee for riding here, payable on-site at the self-pay kiosk. Rangers do conduct checks, so be sure to keep the receipt handy.
Please note that overnight parking is not allowed at the staging area. However, there is a dispersed camping area located north of the trailhead on Mill Creek Road. For those in need of camping facilities, the nearby Redding Recreation Area offers 27 campsites, along with restroom/shower facilities and access to drinking water.
Fourche Mountain Trail – Ouachita National Forest
The Fourche Mountain Trail for horses spans 10.1 miles, offering an out-and-back route that winds through the picturesque Ouachita National Forest. This trail is accessible in all seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. While open year-round, the most delightful times to visit are in the spring, summer, and fall when the mountains are at their finest.
Expect to encounter stunning forest landscapes, captivating mountain vistas, and numerous babbling streams along the way. The trails are generally rated as easy to moderately challenging, with Trail #9 featuring a rocky section. Overall, it’s a suitable choice for beginners. Keep in mind that overnight parking is not allowed at the staging areas. However, nearby Fourche Mountain Adventures offers RV sites equipped with electric and water hookups, tent sites, restrooms with hot showers, and a convenient dump station.
Moccasin Gap ATV Trail – Ozark National Forest
This zone operates on a fee-based system, and you’ll find fee collection stations at both the entrances to the Day Use parking and camping areas. For overnight camping, fees are assessed per animal (for equestrians) or per motorized vehicle when the trails are utilized for Day Use exclusively. These fees play a crucial role in sustaining this beloved area for your enjoyment.
Dedicated volunteers maintain and patrol the trail loops. Your assistance in maintaining their cleanliness is greatly appreciated—please remember to carry out whatever you bring in. Additionally, we ask that you show respect for the enhancements made, recognizing the hundreds of hours of volunteer effort invested in constructing and upkeeping these facilities.
Byrd’s Adventure Center – Ozark National Forest
Tucked away in the heart of the Ozark National Forest, Byrd’s Adventure Center offers an off-road experience that combines natural beauty with thrilling trails. This center provides a range of trails suited for various skill levels, winding through dense forests and along the banks of the Mulberry River. It’s an ideal destination for riders looking to test their skills while soaking in the scenic surroundings.
Byrd’s Adventure Center typically operates year-round, inviting enthusiasts to explore the wonders of the Ozarks. However, it’s wise to double-check specific operational hours for accuracy. As for costs, an admission fee is typically required, covering factors such as day passes, vehicle type, and any additional amenities you may require.
Embarking on these off-road adventures in Arkansas promises an adrenaline-fueled journey through some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the region. With a variety of trails catering to different skill levels, there’s something for everyone looking to experience the thrill of off-roading in this beautiful state. So, gear up and get ready to tackle the trails!
Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area – Ozark National Forest
Now, let’s talk about a gem within the Ozark National Forest – the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area. This is where off-roading transcends into a true backcountry adventure. Picture dense forests, rugged creek crossings, and challenging rock formations. This trail isn’t for the faint of heart, as it offers a genuinely demanding off-road experience. It’s the kind of challenge that separates the true off-road aficionados from the casual riders.
Open year-round, the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area beckons those who crave a wild and unfiltered off-road adventure. However, it’s absolutely imperative to check specific operational hours and any seasonal considerations, as the conditions here can be quite dynamic.
When it comes to costs, remember, experiences of this caliber come with a commitment. There may be an admission fee in place, and possibly additional considerations depending on the type of vehicle and amenities you require. Yet, what you gain in return is an off-road journey that etches itself into your memory as a true testament to your skills and determination.
These two destinations, while challenging, offer rewards that extend beyond the thrill of the ride. They immerse you in the untouched, wild beauty of Arkansas, providing an experience that truly defines the essence of off-roading. So, gear up and get ready to conquer the trails at Hurricane Creek. It awaits those who dare to test their mettle against nature’s own obstacles.
Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest
Nestled within the Ozark National Forest, the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area safeguards the headwaters of the Buffalo River, encompassing a vast 11,094 acres of rugged terrain adorned with boulders. This area boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery along one of the Ozarks’ most exquisite rivers. The initial 17 miles of the river’s course, commencing from its highest measurable origin in the Boston Mountains, are shielded until it meets the border of the wilderness area with the Buffalo National River.
At approximately the 17-mile mark, the Buffalo National River and Ozark National Forest converge, ensuring the complete protection of the entire river. The Buffalo National River also lays claim to its own Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, safeguarding an additional 4 miles of river and an enveloping watershed of 2,200 acres. These two wilderness areas intersect along the border of the National Forest and National Park, forming an expansive expanse of over 13,000 acres teeming with unspoiled, untamed, and natural splendor.
There are four primary entry points to access the wilderness area, each with detailed directions provided above. Among these, the Hawksbill Crag trailhead stands out as the most frequented. Although not officially designated, this trail represents the lone established route within the wilderness area, leading to one of the most photographed and iconic locations in Arkansas. While official trails are absent, several former road traces and logging routes, predating the wilderness area designation, can be traced to facilitate deeper exploration. The numerous steep and rugged side valleys branching off from the main Buffalo River valley are certainly worth discovering.
The Upper Buffalo Wilderness hosts an array of waterfalls, particularly during the wet season. Notable ones include Compton’s Double Falls and Bowers Hollow Falls. The entirety of Bowers Hollow merits exploration, also offering access to Smith and McClure Falls. In proximity to Hawksbill Crag, several waterfalls beckon, including one that graces the trail itself, along with Haley Falls, Mule Trail Falls, and Thousand Kisses Falls.
Hot Springs ORV Park
Hot Springs Off-Road Park stands as a premier off-roading destination in the state, encompassing a sprawling 1,254 acres of trails tailored for 4x4s, UTVs, ATVs, and dirt bikes. Situated at 2100 Mill Creek Road, this park enjoys proximity to notable landmarks like Hot Springs National Park, as well as a wealth of lodging options, restaurants, shopping, and attractions in Hot Springs.
Visitors can choose from a range of off-road trails, varying in difficulty, with trailheads clearly marked with corresponding ratings for Jeeps, dirt bikes, or ATVs. Level 1 trails are the easiest, while Level 5 trails present the greatest challenge.
Hot Springs Off-Road Park proudly holds the distinction of being the sole location in Arkansas offering Jeep Badge of Honor Trails. The park boasts three of them—“Fun Run”, “Rubicon Ridge”, and “Snake”. This program, accessible via a mobile app, rewards Jeep drivers with a badge they can affix to their vehicle upon completing designated routes. These badges can be collected from trails across the U.S.
At the trail system’s base, the park provides RV sites, tent camping spots, and cabins. Additionally, there’s a charging unit available for electric vehicles, as well as a general store stocked with snacks, apparel, and repair items. Maps of the trail system can be obtained onsite or online, and GPS mapping services for the park are also accessible.
Hot Springs Off-Road Park operates seven days a week throughout the year and now offers online booking for RV sites, tent camping, and cabins. Furthermore, they are in the process of expanding their camping and lodging offerings. For further information, visit their website: hotspringsoffroadpark.com.
As our off-road journey through Arkansas comes to a close, one thing is abundantly clear: this state is a haven for off-roading enthusiasts of all levels. From the heart-pounding challenges of Ben Hur OHV Trails to the rugged beauty of Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area, each destination offers a unique blend of technical expertise and natural splendor. The Upper Buffalo Wilderness and Hot Springs ORV Park, with their diverse landscapes and stunning vistas, provide the perfect finale for this exhilarating adventure.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time rider, Arkansas offers an off-road experience like no other. So, gear up, hit the trails, and let the adventure begin. Arkansas’s wild beauty and thrilling terrain await, ready to challenge and inspire all who dare to explore its off-road wonders. Happy venturing!