Watchable Wildlife (The “ADA” Trail)
This portion of the LOViT trail is designed to bring all users, including those who may be 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. The Trail circles a large open field, follows along the bank of Gap Creek as it flows into the bay, and then ducks beneath the towering canopy of a densely wooded area changing from woods to marsh and then open water. The elevated walkway, about .25 miles long, also connects to a bridge over Gap Creek. Cross the bridge to the .5 mile Gap Creek spur, which terminates at the old Highway 270 bridge and a small parking area.
When designing the Trail, we planned three short wheelchair-accessible spurs from the main trail to the edge of Gap Creek, where we quietly observed largemouth bass depositing their eggs in a clear rocky eddy along the shore of the creek. During the winter months, visitors are able to walk among hundreds of Coots, Pin Tail Ducks, Loons, Wood Ducks and on a good day even observe Bald Eagles fishing or harvesting Coots for lunch.
The trailhead currently includes a restroom, parking, and an information kiosk highlighting historical details of the trail and the lake.
There remains an intent to continuously develop habitat for field and wood birds, including planting seed-producing grasses, wild flowers, fruit trees, and native berry-bearing bushes generating year-around forage for birds and wildlife all along the Watchable Wildlife trail segment. Additionally, the LOViT Traildogs and the Montgomery County Master Gardeners are planning guided interpretive hikes along this section of the trail.
The ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the Trail occurred October 7, 2011.
This trail is at the edge Lake Ouachita, near the Denby Bay Trailhead. Lake Ouachita Shores Resort is across the bay.
Easy, handicapped accessible.
Directions to Trailhead:
Go 9 miles east from Mount Ida, or 25 miles west from Hot Springs, on Highway 270 to Shangri-La Road. You can’t miss the Shangri-La Resort sign. Go one block up Shangri-La Road to the first road on your left, Old Highway 270, go two blocks or so and you will see the parking area and information kiosk on your left. This would be a great place to begin developing your walking skills while enjoying the area wildlife. But if you pass the kiosk and continue along Old 270 just a bit further, you can access the main trail at the Denby Bay Trailhead.
Lake Ouachita Shores Resort (no restaurant) is across the bay. Tompkins Bend campground and Shangri-La Resort and restaurant are on Shangri-La Rd. Also, Just a bit further east on Highway 270, are Mountain Harbor Resort and The Joplin Inn at Mountain Harbor.