ARKANSAS WILDERNESS AREAS

Here is a great link that shows a map and other links for all of the wilderness areas in Arkansas: http://www.wilderness.net/nwps/maps/AR_map.cfm
Note that many sites list just one wilderness area for the Buffalo National River, althrough there are actually three different areas, as shown below.

OZARKS REGION

Ozark National Forest Wilderness site

Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Buffalo River Hiking Trails and Arkansas Hiking Trails guidebooks by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:  Buffalo Ranger District  Phone  870-446-5122
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Boxley, Fallsville

11,094 acres featuring caves, bluffs, and the headwaters of the Buffalo National River. This area features beautiful, boulder-strewn, dramatic scenery. There are a number of side hollows which feed the Buffalo River and each one of these is worthy of exploring. There is one short primitive trail that provides access to a popular rock formation above the bluffline. With that exception, there are no other developed trails into this area. There are; however, a number of locations around the wilderness boundary which provide good access to a variety of destinations. This wilderness area is contiguous with the 2,200 acre Upper Buffalo Wilderness manage by the Buffalo National River.
 

Richland Creek Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

  • Map and Trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Buffalo River Hiking Trails guidebook by Tim Ernst (info w/map to get to Twin Falls)
  • Contact:  Buffalo Ranger District  Phone (870)446-5122
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps: Lurton, Moore

11,800  acres featuring waterfalls, bluffs, clear, flowing streams and rugged terrain. This wilderness area is one of the most scenic places in the entire United State; however, it does receive a great deal of use so all visitors must be extra cautious to ěleave no trace.î
 

Leatherwood Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560
  • Contact:  Sylamore Ranger District  Phone (870) 269-3228
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Big Flat, North Fork SE, Nort Fork, Buffalo City

16,900 acres featuring flowing streams, springs, caves and bluffs; contiguous with the 22,500-acres Lower Buffalo Wilderness on the Buffalo National River. Combined, these form one of the largest areas of unbroken wilderness in the eastern United States. There are no trails; however, there are several old roads which provide good access. One of the great opportunities that these wilderness lands provide is the chance to park and explore.
 

Hurricane Creek Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Buffalo River Hiking Trails and Arkansas Hiking Trails guidebooks by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:  Buffalo Ranger District  Phone (870) 446-5122
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Deer, Fort Douglas

15,100 acres featuring rushing mountain streams, scenic blufflines and rock formations including a natural bridge. Approximately 13 miles of the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail passes through the Hurricane Creek Wilderness. The wilderness is also accessible via a number of old settlement roads.
 

East Fork Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

  • Map available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560
  • Contact:  Bayou Ranger District  Phone (479)284-3150
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Lost Corner, Solo

10,700 acres featuring upland swamps, waterfalls and rugged country. There are no developed trails: however, a number of old roads offer access into the heart of the wilderness.
 

Upper Buffalo Wilderness,  Buffalo National River

  • Contact: Buffalo National River,  402 N. Walnut, Harrison, AR  72601, Phone (870) 741-5443
  • USGS Quadrangle Map:  Boxley

This 2,200 acre National Park wilderness extends south to the park boundary where it adjoins the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area managed by the Ozark National Forest. Significant features include a portion of the Upper Buffalo, bluffs, caves, and rough terrain.
 

Ponca Wilderness,  Buffalo National River

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Buffalo River Hiking Trails and Arkansas Hiking Trails guidebooks by Tim Ernst
  • Contact: Buffalo National River,  402 N. Walnut, Harrison, AR  72601, Phone (870) 741-5443
  • USGS Quandrangle Map:  Ponca

11,300 acres featuring scenic waterfalls, majestic bluffs, ancient caves, mountain streams, historic homesteads and rough terrain. From the Compton trailhead, a 2 1/2-mile hiking trail leads to Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls and a 4 1/2-mile equestrian/hiking trail travels down Sneedís Creek and connects with the Hemmed-In-Hollow access. From Center Point, an old road provides a hike of four miles down to the mouth of Sneedís Creek on the Buffalo, connecting with the other trails. From the Center Point Trail, a short spur trail provides access to the Goat Trail, a narrow ledge trail on the side of Big Bluff. The Buffalo River Trail, on the south side of the river, travels through the heart of the southern portion of the Ponca Wilderness between Steel Creek and Kyleís Landing. A spur trail links the Buffalo River Trail to the river and the trails system on the north side.
 

Lower Buffalo Wilderness,  Buffalo National River

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Buffalo River Hiking Trails guidebook by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:   Buffalo National River,  402 N. Walnut, Harrison, AR  72601, Phone (870) 741-5443
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps: Big Flat, Buffalo City

22,500 acres featuring mountain streams and rugged country. The north sides features a number of old roads which offer easy access into the heart of the wilderness. Some of these roads form a 10 1/2 mile loop called the Cow Creek-Cook Hollow Trails, quite popular with equestrian trail riders. The south wide of the river features an old road which provides trail access into the wilderness and down to the river. This is a good place for exploration into scenic areas such as Big Creek, Cold Spring Hollow and Loonbeam Hollow. The Lower Buffalo Wilderness is also contiguous with the 16,900-acre Leatherwood Wilderness, forming one of the largest and most remote wilderness systems in the eastern United States.

OUACHITA REGION

Ouachita National Forest Wilderness site

Poteau Mountain Wilderness,  Ouachita National Forest

  • Contact:  Poteau Ranger District  Phone (479)637-4174
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Abbott, Cauthorn, Harrington, Hon

10,884 acres featuring rock outcrops, streams and secluded forest. There are no developed trails in this area; however, there are a number of old roads which offer access. The tallest waterfall in the Ouachita region is located here – Slate Falls, which is 54 feet tall (will be included in the Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook).
 

Dry Creek Wilderness,  Ouachita National Forest

  • Contact:  Cold Springs Ranger District  Phone  (479)675-3233
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Blue Mountain Dam, Sugar Grove

6,300 acres featuring secluded forest, flowing streams and sandstone bluffs. This is truly a remote corner of Arkansas offering a wide variety of scenic resources. The wilderness is accessible by hiking in on old roads or going cross country. One of the largest populations of black bears in Arkansas resides here. They were stocked during a secret program in the early 1960’s and came from northern Minnesota.

Flatside Wilderness,  Ouachita National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Ouachita Trail guidebook by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:  Winona Ranger District  Phone (501) 889-5176
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Aplin, Nimrod SW, Paron SW

10,105 acres featuring small creeks, clear springs and good views. A 10 1/2-mile section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail provides easy access through the heart of the wilderness.
 

Black Fork Mountain Wilderness,  Ouachita National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Ozark Interpretive Association, P.O. Box 1279, Mountain View, AR  72560; also Arkansas Hiking Trails guidebook by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:  Mena Ranger District  Phone (479) 394-2382
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Page, Mountain Fork, Rich Mountain

7,568 acres featuring rugged terrain, rock glaciers, fantastic views and a forest of dwarf oak. A six-mile trail offers easy hiking access into a portion of the wilderness. Much of this is on old road which is quite steep in places.
 

Caney Creek Wilderness,  Ouachita National Forest

  • Map and trail description available: Arkansas Hiking Trails guidebook by Tim Ernst
  • Contact:  Mena Ranger District  Phone (479) 394-2382
  • USGS Quadrangle Maps:  Eagle Mountain, Nichols

14,460 acres featuring secluded forest, high vistas and picturesque streams. A good portion of the wilderness is accessed by the Caney Creek and Buckeye Mountain Hiking Trails. Combined, these two trails offer over 14 miles of easy hiking opportunities into the heart of one of the oldest wilderness areas in Arkansas.

OTHER REGIONS

Big Lake Wilderness, Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge

  • Contact: Refuge Manager, P.O. Box 67, Manila, AR 72442, (870) 564-2429, E-mail

The 2,143 acre Big Lake Wilderness is located twenty miles west of the Mississippi River in the 11,038-acre Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established in 1915 primarily as a migration habitat for ducks and geese using the Mississippi Flyway. The refuge lies flat, approximately 240 feet above sea level, and consists of 8,138 acres of permanent water interspersed with wooded swampland. During flood periods, 99 percent of the refuge may be submerged in water. The Little River drainage and shallow Big Lake itself (with an average depth of three feet) make up most of the open water, and the lake contains many islands standing barely above water level. Pondweed grows on the water’s surface, supplying food for waterfowl. Giant bald cypress, black willow, and buttonbush thrive in swampy areas, while drier ground supports species such as cottonwood, oak, river birch, greenash, and red maple. White-tailed deer and many smaller mammals inhabit the area, and in 1993 the first bald eagle eggs hatched in nests just south of the Wilderness. No trails exist. Regulated hunting and fishing are permitted. Big Lake is the state’s smallest Wilderness and the only one in eastern Arkansas.

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