LOViT – The Trails
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) consists of a number of trail segments, along with some short out-and-back or loop spurs leading off a trail segment. This page contains a short introduction to each segment.
Trail segments run generally west to east along the southern shore of Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. Trail Segments are named according to the location of the trailhead.
Please Note –> You can click on the following section titles to go to a page where you can find more information about any particular trail segment
This portion of the LOViT trail is designed to bring all users, including those physically challenged, closer to nature. The entire trail segment is a 1.25 mile loop including a level paved area with benches and an Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) elevated walkway allowing users to access a wild wetland area at the south end of the Denby Bay area.
This light to medium grade trail leg begins at Denby Bay Trailhead where US Highway 270 crosses the southern end of Lake Ouachita’s Denby Bay recreation area. There are two possible termination points: it is 3 miles to Homestead trailhead, or you can hike an additional 2 miles to the Tompkins Bend trailhead and campground near Shangri-La Resort. This is the first trail segment that was built on the LOViT and is referred to as “Leg 1” or “Segment 1”.
Named for an old homestead, the Homestead Trailhead is a takeout point with a parking area between the Denby Bay and Tompkins Bend trailheads. The difficulty level is considered “easy”, but the trail is rocky on the segment between the trailhead and Tompkins Bend. A trail segment from this trailhead crosses Shangri-La Road and travels east to pick up the trail between Tompkins Bend and Joplin.
This leg of the Vista Trail, also referred to as “Leg 2” or “Segment 2”, is approximately five miles of winding trail from the Tompkins Bend Trailhead parking area to the Joplin Trailhead parking area off Mountain Harbor Rd. While designed for all age groups, expect more elevation and hills than are along the segment from Denby Bay to this trailhead. The trail crosses many spring fed streams, winding past a number of old quartz crystal mines and many unusual rock formations.
LOViT’s Joplin trail segment includes several un-bridged creek crossings along Irons Creek, waterfalls, old growth hardwoods, and a strenuous climb up Hickory Nut Mountain. This 4 mile trail segment is also referred to as “Leg 3” or “Segment 3” by the Traildogs who built it.
The Hickory Nut Mountain trail segment begins at the picnic area atop Hickory Nut Mountain and ends about 3.2 miles later at a take-out on FS47A road. The trail follows the south side of the mountain along the top of a rock bluff before dropping onto an old logging road that parallels Hickory Nut Creek. A canopy of old and new growth trees provide shade in the summer heat. This is also known as “Leg 4” or “Segment 4” of the LOViT.
The Hickory Nut Mountain Trail segment drops sharply down off Hickory Nut Mountain to the FS47A trail segment, a takeout at Forest Service Rd. (FS) 47A. Forest Service Road 47A is itself a short road that turns north off FS47; FS47 runs between Hickory Nut Mountain Road on the west and Crystal Springs Road on the east. The FS47A trail segment crisscrosses FS47 several times as it moves east to the Pipe Spring trail segment. This short 2.2 mile trail segment is easy with a few low hills. The LOViT between FS47A and Crystal Springs is often referred to as “Leg 5” or “Segment 5”.
The LOViT overlaps with the Charlton Trail at Pipe Spring for a 1.9 miles trek to the Crystal Springs trailhead. At Pipe Spring there is, indeed, a pipe spring with an uninterrupted flow of cold water. This trail segment is 40 years old and travels north along the western flank of an unnamed mountain, over the mountain, and then down into The Crystal Springs Recreational Area. This trail segment is also part of “Leg 5” or “Segment 5” of the LOViT.
This dual trailhead, Charlton & LOViT Trails, is set in the deep valley between the East terminus of Hickory Nut Mountain and the western slopes of Big Bear Mountain adjacent to the Crystal Springs Campground. The LOViT Crystal Springs trail segment begins at the Crystal Springs Campground pavilion on Crystal Springs Rd., travels across Little Bear Mountain. This 6th segment, or “Leg 6”, of the trail, goes to Little Bear Creek at the base of Bear Mountain, where it then picks up the “seventh leg” that runs across Bear Mountain to Brady Mountain Road. There are no accommodations along the way. Little Bear Mountain is very steep, making this trail segment among the most challenging sections of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail.
The seventh leg of the LOViT from Little Bear Creek to Brady Mountain Road is a long and rugged hike from Little Bear Creek on the South side of Bear Mountain up to the summit, across the north-facing ridge of Bear Mountain, and then down to Brady Mountain Road. There are no take-outs, amenities, or water supplies along the route. This trail segment features beautiful views of Lake Ouachita, including “Traildog Vista”.
The distance from Crystal Springs Road to Brady Mountain Road is 10 miles.
Section 8, or the “eighth leg”, of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail extends from Brady Mountain Road on the west to the Avery Recreation Area below Blakely Mountain Dam on the east. This Trail section is the last of the originally-planned segments of the LOViT.
The Brady Mountain trail segment covers 6.2 miles of mostly mountainous track, climbing from Brady Mountain Road to the peak of Blakely Mountain, then descending through switchbacks on the southeastern slope of the mountain to a crossing on Spillway Road. There are several large and gorgeous rock outcroppings along this trail segment. Then, one encounters more climbing to Rick’s Road before moving downhill toward a terrific vista overlooking Blakely Mountain Dam. From the vista, it’s a relatively easy hike to the Trail’s terminus at the Avery Recreation Area located below Blakely Mountain Dam.
The Avery Trailhead is the eastern most terminus of the LOViT trail system. This trailhead is a part of the Corps of Engineers Avery Recreation Area below Blakely Mountain Dam.
This trailhead is the perfect location for group activities on the trail featuring ample parking for up to a hundred vehicles, flush toilets, a covered pavilion with tables, BBQ pits and portable water.