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Ozark Highlands Trail: Lake Fort Smith to Dockerys Gap

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.5 (6)

This is a nice section of the of the Ozark Highlands Trail.


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Map Key

9.2

Miles

14.8

KM

96%

Runnable

1,557' 475 m

High

904' 276 m

Low

1,102' 336 m

Up

523' 159 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake

Description

This section of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) begins from the parking area at Lake Fort Smith along the bluff and lakeshore. Head south out of the parking lot to intersect the trail which quickly turns east then north as it follows the lakeshore. This section of the OHT is a primitive trail that winds through hardwood forest and the first few miles follow the shore of Lake Ft. Smith with an easy trail to follow. About 1.5 miles along this trail, you'll come across the ruined chimneys of abandoned homesteads.

The trail bends back west it briefly parallels Shepard Spring Road before crossing Frog Bayou, a water crossing that can be impassable following rain. After the crossing, the trail turns back east and southeast as it continues to follow the lakeshore. Just before reaching Jack Creek (about mile five) the trail turns east and follows the creek as it climbs out of the valley. The trail crosses several tributaries of Jack Creek, then crosses Jack Creek around mile eight, just before a steep climb out of the valley up to Dockerys Gap and Old Lock Rd.

Consider the season for the timing of your run. Notably, the trail is not maintained between May-Aug. Summer runners can expect increased heat, humidity, dense vegetation, and snakes/insects. Maintenance begins in September and continues into November. Many runners will wait until leaves drop for running in Arkansas.

Contacts

Shared By:

Missouri Hiker

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 6 votes

#20499

Overall
  3.5 from 6 votes
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Trail Rankings

#264

in Arkansas

#20,499

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1,554 Since Dec 27, 2017
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Apr 8, 2020
Pete Ippoliti
upper 80s and sunny. Out and back, starting from Dockery Gap 17.5mi — 4h 44m