Ouachita Trail: Lake Sylvia to Nancy Shelter
Distance: 5.2 miles
Type: Out & Back
Location: Perryville, AR
Bumble (Dog) Rating: 4.5 stars
Let’s be honest, this trail doesn’t have a huge waterfall or even a grand view of the Ouachita Mountains at the end. But a great trail doesn't always need those. The multiple creek crossings, all the mushrooms and fungi, and even the trees make this section of Ouachita Trail memorable and fun. With the gentle up hills and down hills, hiking this section will get your blood pumping but won’t leave you gasping for air at Nancy Shelter.
The Ouachita Trail: Lake Sylvia to Nancy Shelter is great for new day hikers and experienced backpackers alike. With it not being too far from Little Rock, you’ll run into a variety of hikers, especially on the weekends. The trail is easy to get to and has ample parking.
Being on the longest trail in Arkansas is a great experience and is great for photographers. The creeks, small streams, different colored mushrooms, and neat trees make for some fun photography.
The trail itself is easy enough to follow and is well-marked. I’m glad I wore boots though as there are a lot of rocks and roots hiding under all the leaves. Phone service is spotty, but I had service (Verizon) at the shelter and for much of the trial.
Nancy Shelter is well maintained and is a great place for thru-hikers and backpackers to stop for the day. It’s the last shelter on the Ouachita Trail before ending in Pinnacle Mountain State Park. However, Penney Campsite is located at mile marker 208, in between Nancy Shelter and Pinnacle Mountain.
Bumble enjoyed the 5-mile hike and loved playing in the creeks. There are a couple of narrow parts with drop-offs on one side (nothing big though). She had no problems navigating it. She only wishes there were a few rocks for her to climb on.
Overall, this section of the Ouachita Trail is an enjoyable hike. I will be back for a nice backpacking trip.