Blackfork Mountain Trail is usually accessed from the official trailhead on
Hwy 270, a mile or so west of Eagleton.
The trail essentially represents a spur off the Ouachita Trail. Although
only ~5.5 miles in length (~11 miles roundtrip),
it is a difficult, rugged hike with a lot of uphill going. We hiked it in
about 7.5 hours, but did some exploring.
The trail is hashed with white paint much of the way, and is fairly easy to
follow, except at the very top (see below).
Trailhead parking map
From the parking lot, the trail winds through the forest, over the train
tracks, and after a mile or so you get to the
actual trailhead. Get ready for some major uphill. After
going about 500 feet from the trailhead, you will see a
small clearing off to the right, which is a site for a future shelter.
The hike continues uphill untill you reach the
first plateau, where you start to the see stunted oaks, which are said
to be over 100 years old. Hmmmm. I don't
know. Somehow, I doubt it.
The trail continues along the plateau for awhile, and then descends into
a rocky area of forest that can be
a bit difficult to navigate, but is hashed, though sparsely. You
will then come to the first rock cairn. To the
right is the trail, and to the left is a mule trail that Tim Ernst says
descends into the valley, and becomes difficult
Continuing to the right you will come to the magnificent rock glacier.
If anyone knows how this is formed, I
would appreciate finding out. At the top of the is a
spectacular peak. One of these days I'm gonna
The trail makes a steady mild uphill and passes a very old chimney,
is likely the site of the Little Homestead.
Ahead, the trail turns to the left, but somewhere is a smaller trail
that leads to the Little Cemetery, where several
Littles are buried, along with several soldiers of the civil war.
At the time, we did not know the location of the
didn't find it, but here is an interesting link. To the right is a map
that shows the location of Little
cemetery, (upper right white square-private land), with the trail
represented by a black dashed line.
to Chris for finding this.
Now the trail goes steadily up as you hike beside a rock wall, the
purpose of which eludes me. Chris speculates
it was used as a
defensive firing wall by confederate forces. If anyone
knows, please let me know. Remember
this wall, since you must cross it to get to the top. Somewhere here you pass
the second rock cairn (image).
To the left
about 75 feet leads to a spring-fed pond, which deserves a look.
Huge tadpoles were there in February.
The trail continues to the right of the cairn.
Soon you start getting near the top, with incredible views of the
surrounding mountains. The trail becomes
difficult to follow here through the scrub trees, but you should soon
come to the rock wall crossing. From
here on, the trail is marked with pink ribbons, and is overgrown, but
short. The end of the trail is a rocky
outcropping with amazing views. Directly south is Rich mountain,
and Queen Wilhamena lodge is visible.
Chris and Matt
Final Vista. Queen Wilhamena is visible.
Pink ribbons marking last part of trail
Matt and Malcolm