RV Rental Ouachita National Forest, AR

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Discover Ouachita National Forest

Ouachita National Forest is a multi-use land preserve managed by the USDA Forest Service whose purpose is to provide timber and mineral resources, protection of watersheds, and habitats for the resident wildlife and outdoor recreation for the general public. Book a motorhome rental near Ouachita National Forest in Hot Springs, and you can explore this expansive area.

The park covers several counties in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It consists of lakes, hardwood and pine forests, and clear running streams passing through valleys, with mountain ranges towering overhead. The forest is home to a wetland preserve, the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area, which in turn houses bottomland hardwood tree stands and a variety of bird species, including but not limited to waterfowl.

The park was first established in December 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt as Arkansas National Forest; its name was changed to Ouachita National Forest in 1926. These mountains were first explored by the Spanish in 1541 and later by French explorers who named several of the park's resources. The name “Ouachita” is the French adaptation of “Washita,” an Indian word that translates to “good hunting grounds.” The Ouachita Mountain Range is also geologically important as it is the only mountain range that runs east to west rather than north to south.

Getting Outdoors

Ouachita is a prime destination for hiking, and nature and wildlife observation, with many dedicated trails winding through various ecosystems and landscapes. The forest is an excellent spot to base a wilderness-rich RV rental vacation. One of the trails within Ouachita, the Eagle Rock Loop, is a combination of a few smaller trail loops and is one of the longest hiking trail loops in the state. It begins at Cedar Lake and makes its way through a variety of species of tree stands while crossing creeks, rivers, and streams; on its way, it passes over some mountains. The difficulty level for this trail ranges from easy to challenging, so be sure you're in good physical health before attempting to complete it.

Another, the Wombie Trail, measures more than three dozen miles in length, but it can be completed by hiking or mountain biking; if you choose to hike the trail, you should consider primitive camping for one or more nights along the way. Mountain biking the path could probably be accomplished in several hours; another alternative is to combine part of the trail with two other connecting trails, the Roundtop Trail and Ouachita National Recreation Trail, to create a loop that is less than one quarter as long. The Wombie Trail passes along some bluffs that overlook the Ouachita River providing exquisite views of the landscape below.

The park is open to a variety of passive activities such as swimming and tubing on the park's rivers and streams, non-motorized boating (rowboats, canoes, and kayaks), mountain biking, and ATV riding. Park your RV rental nearby, and you can combine the day's activities with a hot meal and comfortable settings. If you're hoping for something less active and more relaxing, you can enjoy an auto tour of the park. There are informational exhibits located intermittently along the auto tour route, which can inform you about the area; there are also educational programs offered by the park staff that you can attend.

Camping at Ouachita National Forest

RV rentals in Garland County are how your Ouachita National Forest camping vacation will begin. Where your rig takes you from there is entirely up to you, though you won't have to go far to find a place to park it.

There are more than a half-dozen campgrounds located within the forest. The Little Pines Recreation Area, located just a few miles from Waldron, is open seasonally and has picnic tables, toilet facilities, and drinking water outlets. There is a boat ramp granting you access to Lake Hinkle, which is open to the public year-round; fishing is allowed for bass, crappie, bream, sunfish, and catfish, but activities such as water skiing aren't allowed. Take a moment to go for a swim, and you can shower and clean up in your motorhome rental once you're done.

Exploring the Area

Hot Springs is a good destination if you feel like re-acclimatizing yourself to urban life again. Here you'll find a water theme park and an alligator petting zoo, a brewery or winery if you want to put your feet up for a while, a family park with bumper cars, and more. There are venues where you can get some shopping in and several museums worth noting. One of the museums is the work of a private citizen and focuses on pop culture, specifically relating to films and comic books. There is a selection of Star Wars memorabilia, such as a Jedi robe you can put on to have your photo taken.

Pearcy is a small and charming community with a selection of restaurants at your disposal when you feel hungry. A few of the eateries are in town while some are a short distance away, but your options include cafes and pizzerias, seafood, steakhouses, and barbecue joints. Most of the establishments serve American-style food, but you can also find Italian and Mexican if you'd like something different.

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Popular nearby hiking trails and campgrounds

  • Hiking TrailLocation
  • Eagle Rock Loop, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Winding Stairs Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Viles Branch Equestrian Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Little Missouri Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Athens - Big Fork Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Buckeye Mountain to Caney Creek Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • East Caney Creek Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Shady Lake Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Wolf Pen Gap Trail, AROuachita National Forest, AR
  • Harris Creek Trail, ARGillham, AR

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