Crystal Springs

Crystal Springs

Alpha Dog Jerry Shields enjoys the view from the "Traildog Vista" bench on Bear Mountain

Alpha Dog Jerry Shields enjoys the view from the “Traildog Vista” bench on Bear Mountain

Description:

Trailhead at the Pavilion at Crystal Springs. (34°32'10" N 93°20'24" W)

Trailhead at the Pavilion at Crystal Springs. (34°32’28.9″N 93°21’05.5″W)

The Crystal Springs to Brady Mountain Road trail segment begins at the Crystal Springs Campground pavilion on Crystal Springs Rd. and travels across Little Bear Mountain to Little Bear Creek at the base of Bear Mountain; this stretch is also called “Leg 6” or “Segment 6” of the LOViT. Then, from Little Bear Creek, “Leg 7” (or “Segment 7”) of the Trail climbs the southern side of Bear Mountain and then traverses the northern side of the summit all the way to Brady Mountain Road.

There is parking at the Crystal Springs Road Crossing, about a mile southeast of the Pavilion. (34°32'10" N 93°20'24" W)

There is parking at the Crystal Springs Road Crossing, about a mile southeast of the Pavilion. (34°32’10” N 93°20’24” W)

Other than the Crystal Springs Road crossing about a mile south of the trailhead at the Crystal Springs Pavilion, this part of the LOViT is the longest one can travel without crossing any roads.

Little Bear Mountain is very steep, making this trail segment one of the more challenging sections of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. The canopy permits more light than most of the other trail segments and, above the six severe switchbacks, there is no canopy.

"Boulder Crossing" along the LOViT just east of Crystal Springs Road.

“Boulder Crossing” along the LOViT just east of Crystal Springs Road.

Two major creeks are traversed via Boulder Fords, a feature unique to the LOViT. Despite the difficulty, the Crystal Springs Trail segment offers a peek at a campground beach where the laughter of swimming children echoes through the trees and, as the Trail climbs, it offers unprecedented views of valleys and creeks and a nice cascade waterfall near the termination. Cone flowers and coreopsis abound in the Spring.

Moving east, the climb from Little Bear Creek up Bear Mountain is also very steep and rugged, with a couple of switchbacks that deserve care and respect to cross. But, once on top, you will be greeted with beautiful winter views of Lake Ouachita from west of the Crystal Springs Chute all the way beyond Brady Mountain to the east. The trail follows the north side of the mountain just below the summit, with several long climbs up and down along the way.

The entrance to the LOViT heading west at Brady Mountain Road.(34°33'31" N 93°15'37" W)

The entrance to the LOViT heading west at Brady Mountain Road.(34°33’31” N 93°15’37” W)

If you walk/ride to the termination point of Segment 6 at Little Bear Creek, or if you decide to head on up Bear Mountain, the only way out is to backtrack or to follow the Trail to Brady Mountain Road. Similarly, if you enter at the Brady Mountain Road trailhead and head west toward Crystal Springs, your choice is an out-and-back hike or a 10 mile trek to Crystal Springs Road.

Take food and plenty of water!

This is a long trek – about 10 miles from Crystal Springs Road to Brady Mountain Road – with no takeouts.

Surrounding Area:

The Crystal Springs trailhead is located adjacent to the Crystal Springs Campground and the Crystal Springs Resort.

Length:

3.5 miles from the Pavilion at Crystal Springs to the termination of Segment 6 at Little Bear Creek. Another 6.5 miles of tread on Segment 7 from Little Bear Creek, up Big Bear Mountain, and finishing on Brady Mountain Road.

Difficulty:

Very strenuous. Steep climbing with several severe switchbacks.

Amenities:

The Crystal Springs Campground and Crystal Springs Resort, and Brady Mountain Resort offer lodging, water, bathrooms, a full service marina, and seasonal food. There are no amenities at either the Crystal Springs Road or Brady Mountain Road crossings.

Directions to Trailhead:

From Mount Ida traveling east, or from Hot Springs traveling west, take US Highway 270 to Crystal Springs Road and turn north toward Crystal Springs Resort. Go about 2.5 miles, and you will see the campground pavilion on the left side of the road. Park at the pavilion (34°32’28.9”N 93°21’05.5”W).

To go east on the Crystal Springs trail, walk past the trailhead sign and the pavilion to an opening marked with a tree blaze and a sign.

To go west to the Pipe Spring trailhead, follow the arrows pointing toward the Charlton Trail.

To enter this trail segment from the east, take Brady Mountain Road just west of Royal, AR, and follow the road toward Brady Mountain Resort (34°33’31”N  93°15’37”W).

Accommodations:

The Crystal Springs Campgrounds offers RV and tent camping, most with electricity. Crystal Springs Resort offers lodging, marina, restaurant, and other services.   Likewise, there are lodging and campground facilities at Brady Mountain Resort. Some services are seasonal, so be sure to check with the resort for details.


Recent articles about the Crystal Springs LOViT Trail segment:

New Directional Signs and Gap Creek Cleanup – Feb. 12, 2017

New directional signs installed along the LOViT between Hickory Nut Mountain and Crystal Springs.

New directional signs installed along the LOViT between Hickory Nut Mountain and Crystal Springs.

Traildogs Ron Mayfield and Robert Cavanaugh put up 13 trail signs where the trail comes down Hickory Nut Mountain and along the intersections of the LOVIT and FS 47.

Six of the signs were placed on Hickory Nut Mountain.  Four of these were on  two posts where the trail comes down to Hickory Nut Mountain Road (FS Road 50) from the trailhead, and two were placed on a post near the kiosk/trailhead.  Another was placed at the intersection of FS 47A and FS 47.  Four went on bare posts previously placed along FS 47, and one replaced an arrow that was missing.   We put one more near the old pavilion near Crystal Springs.

This should help hikers and bikers stay on the trail.

Robert and Ron also cut 10 or 11 trees off of the short section between the Gap Creek Bridge and Hwy 270. This area had not been cleared in some time.

“It was another nice morning in the woods.”

Thanks Ron and Robert!

 

A New Bench On LOViT’s Section 5 – Jan. 23, 2017

Today, a number of Traildogs installed a new bench along the Trail’s 5th section between USFS Road 47A and Pipe Spring.  

A good sentiment for this new bench on the LOViT!

A good sentiment for this new bench on the LOViT!
(Click on this image to view more photos from today’s bench installation.)

The bench, sponsored by Mike Hardage to honor Wanda Hardage, sits about 30 yards off the trail and overlooks a beautiful beach along Walnut Creek a bit south of where it dumps into the cove occupied by the Crystal Springs Marina.

Traildogs enjoying a job well done!

Traildogs enjoying a job well done!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Jan. 23, 2017.)

Controlled Burn Notice – March 6, 2016

Apologies for the late notice, but we’ve just been informed by Forestry that there will be a controlled burn from the area along Walnut Creek near the Charleton Campground back toward the Crystal Springs area.

The burn is expected to be set at around 3 pm today, March 6, 2016.

If you were planning to be on the LOViT in the area from Forest Service Road 47A to Crystal Springs Road today or in the next couple of days, you will want to be aware of this activity.

The Forest Service will be placing signs in the area today to make folks aware of this upcoming controlled burn.

Trail Maintenance on Little Bear and Bear Mountain – June 9, 2015

On a very hot Tuesday in June, Traildogs Al, Robert, and Dan took to the woods to clear any downed trees on Little Bear and Bear Mountains following the month of May’s severe storms and continuous rain.  What we found was a trail that was in reasonably good shape but that was quite overgrown with vegetation in areas where the canopy is thin.

20150609-DSCN2881

Traildogs Al and Robert taking a well-deserved break at Traildog Vista on Bear Mountain.
(Click on this image to view more photos from June 9, 2015.)

In all, there were only about 10 trees that needed to be cut off the trail.  However, there are areas where the briars are getting a good foothold and needed to be trimmed back.  We were fortunate to have with us a pair of Stihl weed eaters with scythe attachments that made short work of clearing weeds in several areas.

All in all, it was another great day to be on the Trail, despite the hard work and hot weather!

A New Trailhead Sign At Joplin, and Clearing Trees on Bear Mountain – Oct. 15, 2014

Traildogs Jeremy, Dan, John, Jerry, Chuck, and Robert show off the new Joplin Trailhead sign.  Many thanks to the U.S. Forest Service for providing these signs.

Traildogs Jeremy, Dan, John, Jerry, Chuck, and Robert show off the new Joplin Trailhead sign. Many thanks to the U.S. Forest Service for providing these signs.

Oct. 15 was a beautiful fall day for completing some work on the Trail prior to the planned October 28 at 1:00 pm Dedication Ceremony.  We had six Traildog volunteers today – myself, Robert, Dan, Chuck, John, and Jeremy – all helping install the new Trailhead sign at the Joplin Trailhead parking area.  We also cleared brush and weeds around the parking area and also the section of the Trail heading east where we utilize the old road.

We also cleared the weeds from the Trail where it crosses Mountain Harbor Road. Finally, we checked out the ADA Trail for downed limbs and debris.

Lining up these tall 6x6 posts for the new trailhead sign IS rocket science, at least for these Traildogs!

Lining up these tall 6×6 posts for the new trailhead sign IS rocket science, at least for these Traildogs!

It was a good day to be out on the Trail, and it was nice to have Chris Ham and Tom Ledbetter from the USFS join us at the trailhead.

Robert sizing up the tree and planning his cuts. Not a bad view from here!

Robert sizing up the tree and planning his cuts. Not a bad view from here!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Oct. 14, 2014)

Yesterday, Oct. 14, Traildogs Robert and Dan covered Section 7 of the LOViT from Brady Mountain Road moving west across Bear Mountain to “Laura’s Bench” just below the switchbacks overlooking Crystal Springs. Many trees were down on the Trail from recent storms accompanied by high winds.

Robert and Dan reported that while they were sitting on the bench at Traildog Vista, taking a break from clearing downed trees from across the Trail, a mature Bald Eagle suddenly came swooping slowly by, right at eye level!  This was their reward for removing those 25 downed trees!

"Indian Pipe" growing on Bear Mountain alongside the Trail. The LOViT is a terrific Trail on which to enjoy many different plants (and often animals).

“Indian Pipe” growing on Bear Mountain alongside the Trail. The LOViT is a terrific Trail on which to enjoy many different plants (and often animals).
(Click on this image to view more photos from Oct. 14, 2014.)

We are canceling the planned weed removal day scheduled for next Saturday, October 18, as it will be a busy day for deer hunters in the area, and we don’t want to take any chances on any injuries and don’t want to spoil a hunt.

Thanks

Jerry