BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST
While most of this large National Forest is located in Arkansas, two sizable units are in southeastern Oklahoma. These tracts include small mountains with scenic views, an area of old beech trees, some pine forest, streams, and 90-acre Cedar Lake.
In this part of the National Forest are two designated wilderness areas: the 9,371-acre Upper Kiamichi River Wilderness, and the 4,583-acre Black Fork Mountain Wilderness, which has an additional 7,568 acres in Arkansas.
There are three other areas of special interest here: the 41,051-acre Indian Nations Wildlife and Scenic Area, the 26,445-acre Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area, and the 7,500-acre Beech Creek National Scenic Area and Botanical Area.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are available on over 40 miles of trails. Included are 31 miles of the 225-mile Ouachita Trail, a National Recreation Trail which runs the length of the National Forest (see the Ouachita Trail entry, Arkansas chapter).
Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous. There are also some 200 miles of horse trails in the region. Fishing is another possible option. Hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping and campfires are allowed just about anywhere, except where posted otherwise. No permits are necessary. Campsites should be at least 100 feet from trails and water sources.
For Further Information: Ouachita National Forest, P.O. Box 1270, Hot Springs, AR 71902; (501)321-5202.