One of the bigger and better known loops in the Albert Pike area. A hard ride in some of the most scenic areas of the Ouachita Mountains. A great warm-up for the Ouachita Challenge. Very remote if you are wanting to get away.
There are numerous big creek and river crossings on this ride and chances are, in the spring, fall and winter, you'll have to wade these crossings. Some of the crossings are rather rocky and the river gets funneled down into these small sections, which makes it rather forceful. Do not attempt these crossings after there has been a rain in the area, sections are prone to flash flooding. The terrain in this area is very steep and hilly and the water rolls off those high places into the creeks and rivers rather quickly.
Starting out from the Little Missouri Falls area, head south on the Little Missouri
trail. There will be a couple of big creek crossings, stay alert. Continue on Little Missouri
all the way to the Viles Branch
trail and then head west on Viles Branch
. Stay on Viles Branch
going west until you come to Athens Big Fork
and then head north until you pick up Little Missouri
trail. Take Little Missouri
back east to the falls where you started.
This is one of the more technical trails in the area. The loop itself actually is made up of three other trails in the area being Viles Branch
trail, Athens Big Fork
Trail and the Little Missouri
Trail. The trail itself has a dozen or more major creek crossings some of which can be pretty tough. There is one particular creek crossing that has a rope across it that you have to hang onto just to keep from getting swept away by the current of the creek. So expect to get your feet wet and if there has just been a big rain I think I would avoid these creek crossings or the trail all together. The trail will take you into some of the back woods of the Ouachita's following along the Little Missouri
River most of the way. You'll find mostly singletrack here that can go from being flat and smooth to rocky and technical. There are a few spots along the river that the trail just hangs on the side of the edge. As far as climbs go it has one of the steepest ride-able climbs I have seen in these parts. I really enjoyed this trail and I am ready to go back someday soon. It's a shame that more people don't know about this trail or ride on it, but then again maybe that's not so bad after all. The trail is also very popular with hikers and you might even run into a few equestrians as well, so remember to share the trail.
If you only want to get in about 18 miles instead of the entire 26 then the Brush Heap Loop
is an excellent alternative. If you want an out and back on a very scenic and not to long of a trail then try doing the Little Missouri
. If you are looking for a good place to get ready for the Ouachita Challenge this would be the trail to do it on. Its not as long as the Ouachita Challenge but it will give you about the same workout.
For more information go to Mountain Bike Arkansas - mtbark.com