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  1. #1

    Default Ozark Highlands Trail vs. Ouachita trail... Any preference?

    Going to attempt to thru hike one of these this November, both around 200 miles, has anyone done both and can comment on a comparison of experiences?

    Beauty / Scenery comparisons?
    Camping/shelter comparisons?
    Resupply easier on either?
    Logistics/access to trail ends?
    Water supply?
    Trail difficulty?
    Pointless ups and downs?

    I plan on simply driving, parking at one end, hiring a ride to the other, hike back to truck.

    Any help appreciated ! I look forward to yet one more little 2-week leg stretcher this fall.

  2. #2
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    I have completed the Ouachita trail but bailed on the Ozark Highlands trail (because of hazardous water crossings). I thoroughly enjoyed the Ouachita as I only saw people during 3 of the 17 days I was on trail. Half of them were trail maintainers. The short time I was on the OHT (70ish miles) I didn't see many either. I did both in spring. I suspect that you will see more during a fall hike.

    Beauty/scenery is similar
    Camping spots were easy to find. The OT does have a few shelters. I slept in one as it was in a nice stopping point.
    Resupply was easy on the OT and I didn't anticipate any problems on the OHT although I stopped prior to getting to my mail-drop.
    OT had one section (20 miles) that was dry. I think I remember reading that it would be re-routed to alleviate this issue? OHT was raining continuously so for me too much water and the creeks were swollen torrents...
    Ya, to some extent there are puds and muds. But, the western section of the OT was a bit rougher terrain than what I had anticipated.

    Sorry I am not more specific. If you need me to I could dig out my journals and discuss a bit more in detail but with your experience either trail will be fairly easy. I used a shuttle for the OT and paid about 120 bucks. But it has been a year to two so would guess it is a bit higher now.

    I'm sure you have discovered the guidebooks by Tim Ernst. Top notch books. Not sure if they have been updated but once again with your experience you don't need all details spoon-fed to you.

    Let me know if you want more specifics and I will dig out the journals.
    Lonehiker

  3. #3
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Actually, PM me if you decide on the Ozark Highlands Trail. If it fits into my schedule I would be open to a key swap.
    Lonehiker

  4. #4
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Those can be a little dry in fall. Ouachita may have long waterless stretch.
    Spring is much better, OHT has waterfalls everywhere, creek crossings are fun after rain, except hurricane creek. Can go days without seeing another hiker.

    Dry creek
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-09-2018 at 20:33.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    I have completed the Ouachita trail but bailed on the Ozark Highlands trail (because of hazardous water crossings). I thoroughly enjoyed the Ouachita as I only saw people during 3 of the 17 days I was on trail. Half of them were trail maintainers. The short time I was on the OHT (70ish miles) I didn't see many either. I did both in spring. I suspect that you will see more during a fall hike.

    Beauty/scenery is similar
    Camping spots were easy to find. The OT does have a few shelters. I slept in one as it was in a nice stopping point.
    Resupply was easy on the OT and I didn't anticipate any problems on the OHT although I stopped prior to getting to my mail-drop.
    OT had one section (20 miles) that was dry. I think I remember reading that it would be re-routed to alleviate this issue? OHT was raining continuously so for me too much water and the creeks were swollen torrents...
    Ya, to some extent there are puds and muds. But, the western section of the OT was a bit rougher terrain than what I had anticipated.

    Sorry I am not more specific. If you need me to I could dig out my journals and discuss a bit more in detail but with your experience either trail will be fairly easy. I used a shuttle for the OT and paid about 120 bucks. But it has been a year to two so would guess it is a bit higher now.

    I'm sure you have discovered the guidebooks by Tim Ernst. Top notch books. Not sure if they have been updated but once again with your experience you don't need all details spoon-fed to you.

    Let me know if you want more specifics and I will dig out the journals.
    Thanks! Great info. I'll pm you tomorrow, perhaps we can help each other out.

  6. #6

    Default

    I have completed the OT, but still working on the OHT

    Beauty / Scenery comparisons? Both, more water and waterfalls on OHT
    Camping/shelter comparisons? OT has lots of shelters (mostly new) that are hardly ever used (therefore no mice), never been there with another person
    Resupply easier on either? Nothing like AT on either, Queen Wilhemenia State Park on OT has a great buffet (and showers)
    Logistics/access to trail ends?
    OT is great because if going East you end at Pinnacle Mountain. Another 16 miles and you can take the Arkansas River Trail into North Little Rock to Greyhound bus station (and get there early and only blocks from lots of Fast Food). I spent night at camp site a couple of miles past Pinnacle (great to take a shower).
    Water supply? Better on OHT, cached some on OT

    Trail difficulty? Both similar to AT from NC to MA, but significantly easier than NH & ME
    Pointless ups and downs? Some, but not as bad as the roller coaster in VA

    Strongly recommend the books Tim Ernst wrote on both trails.
    OHT also has good maps.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  7. #7
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    lots of hunting on the
    Ouachita - probably the same on the Ozark - IMO the hunters were polite and more professional than other areas { 9 months of hunting season in AR)

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    lots of hunting on the
    Ouachita - probably the same on the Ozark - IMO the hunters were polite and more professional than other areas { 9 months of hunting season in AR)
    I have run into multiple hunters on both trails. Please note that AR even has a special between Christmas and New Years hunting season (days).

    Some type of blaze orange in the Fall/Winter is probably a good idea.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    lots of hunting on the
    Ouachita - probably the same on the Ozark - IMO the hunters were polite and more professional than other areas { 9 months of hunting season in AR)
    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    I have completed the OT, but still working on the OHT

    Beauty / Scenery comparisons? Both, more water and waterfalls on OHT
    Camping/shelter comparisons? OT has lots of shelters (mostly new) that are hardly ever used (therefore no mice), never been there with another person
    Resupply easier on either? Nothing like AT on either, Queen Wilhemenia State Park on OT has a great buffet (and showers)
    Logistics/access to trail ends?
    OT is great because if going East you end at Pinnacle Mountain. Another 16 miles and you can take the Arkansas River Trail into North Little Rock to Greyhound bus station (and get there early and only blocks from lots of Fast Food). I spent night at camp site a couple of miles past Pinnacle (great to take a shower).
    Water supply? Better on OHT, cached some on OT

    Trail difficulty? Both similar to AT from NC to MA, but significantly easier than NH & ME
    Pointless ups and downs? Some, but not as bad as the roller coaster in VA

    Strongly recommend the books Tim Ernst wrote on both trails.
    OHT also has good maps.
    Thanks for all this great info! And also thanks for that tip on hunting season, I might have forgotten to wear/carry something blaze orange.

    I'm going to give the OHT a shot in a couple weeks.

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