Denby Bay

Denby Bay

Denby Bay Sunset Vista

Sunsets and other beautiful views of Lake Ouachita await you on the Denby Bay to Tompkins Bend Trail segment.


This trail segment begins at Denby Bay Trailhead where old 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 the Homestead trailhead, or you can hike an additional 2 miles to the Tompkins Bend trailhead and campground near Shangri-La Resort.

The trail is light to medium grade as it meanders through several miles of high-canopy, old-growth forest. Take the half mile spur out to Sunset Vista, sit on one of the many benches along the trail, and watch the sun slowly melt into the surface of the lake. Expect golden photo opportunities as well as quiet spots of solitude. Look for Hush Hollow – a quiet little valley of streams covered with lush ferns and moss year round – Dogwood Draw, Old Breathless Hill, and Lunch Log Vista.

At a leisurely pace the full 5 mile leg to Tompkins Bend can be walked in two hours or biked in about an hour. But if you seek a shorter hike you may exit the trail at 2.9 miles, the Homestead trailhead parking area, located on Shangri La Road about 1.5 miles north of the US 270 turn off. See the map.

Surrounding Area:

The entrance to the Watchable Wildlife Handicapped Accessible trail will be on your left as you approach this trailhead. The trailhead is at the lakeshore, and folks will probably be fishing there.


2.9 miles to the Homestead trailhead, or 5 miles to the Tompkins Bend trailhead.


Easy to moderate.


None. See Accommodations.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go east from Mount Ida about 9 miles, or west from Hot Springs about 25 miles, on U.S. Highway 270 to Shangri-La Rd. You can’t miss the Shangri-La Resort sign on 270. Turn north off Highway 270 onto Shangri-La Road, travel a short distance, and then turn left onto Old Hwy 270. Pass the Watchable Wildlife trail segment on your left, and continue to the Denby Bay trailhead right at the edge of the lake.

Due to fluctuations in lake level, the trailhead may sometimes become submerged in spring. A high-water spur has been constructed directly across the road from the north end of the elevated walkway. This .5 mile spur connects to the first section of the trail. Look for a small sign at the start of the spur.


Lake Ouachita Shores Resort across the lake has lodging but no restaurant. However, there is a campground and the Shangri-La Resort & Restaurant near the Tompkins Bend trailhead, located adjacent to the entrance to the Tompkins Bend Campground.

Recent articles about the Denby Bay Trail:

Repairing a Soggy Approach to “Traildog Bridge” – June 1, 2017

Yesterday, a team of Traildogs attacked the perennially soggy approach to “Traildog Bridge” on LOViT’s Section 1, not too far from the Tompkins Bend Pavilion and Trailhead. We had a good and enthusiastic team that included better-late-than-never help from a US Army Corps of Engineers bobcat and its driver, which we appreciated, along with the USACE-donated pavers and gravel. The new approach got a good test immediately as the rains came with a vengeance as the last load of gravel was spread and our tools were gathered. There was insult to injury, as the storm knocked out power in the area, so rather than a Shangri-La lunch, some of the soggy Traildogs had to settle for pie!!! It was a good day on the Trail! … Click to read the full article

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

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 … Click to read the full article

New Water Bars Along Section 1 – Feb. 1, 2017

Today, four Traildogs (Al Gathright, Robert Cavanaugh, Ron Mayfield, and Dan Watson) attacked drainage problems along the Trail in a couple of areas along Section 1 between Denby Bay and Tompkins Bend. The first location was near the “Pine Plantation” area, a bit west of Shangri La Road.  After working on a new water bar here, we followed the trail back to the Sunset Vista spur (34°33’12” N 93°28’46” W) to enjoy that beautiful location for a while and to clean up debris along the trail. The second location was above the two bridges just west of “The Dip” along Shangri La Road.  Three new water bars were installed along the very steep slope a bit south of the bridges (34°33’13” N 93°28’6″ W). It was a beautiful and balmy day for the first of February – a great day to be on the LOViT!!  Finishing a little after noon, we … Click to read the full article

A Cold and Rainy LOViT Marathon – Dec. 4, 2016

Yesterday, a handful of Traildogs joined with Phillip Carr and Shangri La’s Carr family to help with the annual LOViT Marathon, an out-and-back race traditionally held on the first Saturday in December. The race starts at the LOViT’s ADA Pavilion just off Shangri La Road and follows the Trail 14.1 miles to the turnaround at the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead. Phil had expected a record turnout, but the bleak and rainy December morning brought out 76 or so runners for the event, some running the full marathon, while others ran a ½ marathon, catching a shuttle back to the start/stop line from Hickory Nut Mountain. Despite the weather, this is always a great event. … Click to read the full article

The LOViT Is Now Clear and Open – Sept. 8, 2016

The clean up of downed trees from the severe windstorm of last July was completed yesterday. Many thanks to a few Traildogs, especially Robert Cavanaugh and Ron Mayfield, and to our good friends on the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Crew.  Over the past couple of months, we cut well over 100 downed trees off of the Trail.  Much of the saga can be read about on the LOViT Facebook Page. The entire LOViT is now open for hiking and biking. Fall is a great time to enjoy the trail. … Click to read the full article