The Ouachita National Recreation Trail stretches 223 miles through the Ouachita Mountains, from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas. More information and maps are available from the U.S. Forest Service https://www.fs.usda.gov/
Back in 1991, Bill Laster of Bailey, CO, did the the OT in 5d2h23m. The same year, Lou Peyton and Jim Schuler did the route in a slightly slower time, 5d8h7m.
I am planning to fastpack the Ouachita Trail unsupported starting April 22nd 2018. My route will be east/west from Pinnacle Mountain State Park to Talimena State Park. It will be tracked and documented to get an unsupported FKT for this trail on the boards. It will be a beautiful walk if the weather gods are smiling!
Isaac Mornin' Joe Robinson
I hiked half the trail in cool weather and intermittent rain but called it off at Highway 27 due to swelling high ankle sprains. Flatside Wilderness is beautiful and I’ll have to try it again when the weather cools and the ticks are gone. Unsupported FKT stands unclaimed.
I'll be starting at 8 am, Sunday March 28, 2021 to attempt the supported female FKT on the Ouachita Trail record (West to East). You can follow along here: https://share.garmin.com/WheresFawn
I'm raising money for my local Boys & Girls Clubs who's members have been running in support of my adventure for the past several weeks. If you'd like to contribute please visit: https://www.bgcacadiana.com/donate
Good luck Fawn! I am planning an unsupported effort next week. Will add a tracker here and hopefully we can raise Ouachita's profile a little. Look forward to hearing about it.
That’s exciting, Craig! I finished this up in 3d 22h 15m with tons of crew/ pacer support. It’s a wonderful trail that makes you earn the finish! Wishing you luck and please reach out if you have any questions!
Wow what an effort Fawn! Congratulations are well deserved. Crew or not, your daily progress was awesome and I really enjoyed following it online. As an old guy who still remembers the rotary telephone it is remarkable being able to track these things in real time.
I’ve been to the Ozarks a handful of times but not the Ouachitas, would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. What’s the best way to reach out?
So sorry I'm just seeing this. Looks like you didn't need any advice though with your solid unsupported record!! If you want to swap stories you can reach me via email: email@example.com
Congrats to you!!
I suppose it’s Ouachita Trail time! Didn’t want to let the self-supported FKT to feel left out.
I’m going to successfully attempt setting a self-supported FKT for the OT starting Sunday, April 18th at 8am. My goal will be sub 4 days. You can follow along here: share.Garmin.com/nickfowler
- Nick Fowler
Good luck Nick!
Unfortunately my first food cache went missing. I hitched a ride to my next food cache but by the time I got there it was so late there was no traffic to hitch back to where I left the trail. With 12 hours lost so early in the attempt, I’ve decided to hide my caches better and give it another go another time.
Sorry to hear Nick, so many critters out there. Look forward to your next attempt.
FKT trip report for unsupported has been posted. Awesome trail. Above all what I learned is that going unsupported on a longer trail, your mistakes compound and can turn an effort into an ordeal. I thought a pack full of gear and 12-13 lbs of food would be my biggest challenge, or perhaps the long water carries during a heat wave (one was 26 miles and several were over 15), but it was forgetting to pack a $2 roll of athletic tape that caused so much pain and distress.
Headed out in the morning, Tuesday April 20th, for a crack at the unsupported FKT. I’ll be starting at Talimena and hiking eastbound. If anyone would like to track progress you can use this link: https://share.garmin.com/nolanball
-Nolan Ball (MANBEARPIG)
Good luck Nolan!
I had to call it last night at mile 94 due to knee and Achilles issues. Hitching at Hwy 270 to get back to Talimena, then to town to recuperate. This was still a great learning experience on a wonderful trail, and I’m already planning out the next attempt. I’ll be back for this one!
Wanted to give notice that I will try for a Women's Unsupported FKT beginning Tuesday October 18th. I will be starting at Pinnacle and heading Westbound. I hiked 202 miles in April 2020 and really loved this trail, I can't wait to be back out there. As it gets closer I will add my garmin info. to this post.
Jasmyn 'Whistles' Barca
How did it go? I’m hoping to go unsupported in March!
Also interested in knowing how this went!
Plan to head out on 11/6/22 to try to get the Men's unsupported FKT headed eastbound. Then hiking back to OK to do a double crossing if all goes well.
I’ll be headed east just a few days after! Maybe I’ll catch you headed back on the double. Good luck
Stopped at Winding Stairs because of the flu. Woke up the first night, and the temperature was in the perfect mid-50s, shivering with teeth rattling. Could barely manage 2 miles per hour, so I called it quits. Another time I'll try for a self-supported. There wasn't enough water after this drought to make an unsupported and the temps were in the high 70s. I didn't expect that in November, but I had to give it a try instead of waiting because of my schedule. I'm impressed by all who've done it, particularly so fast.
I’m heading out some time next week to attempt to establish a women's self-supported record. My start date will be based on how the weather is looking when I get to town. Hoping to start between the 7th and the 11th in Talimena.
I wrote a blog about why I’m making this attempt— it will be my first try for an FKT. Though I’m no longer an Arkansan, this place is really special to me.
I will post my tracking data here before I start!
I'm really cheering you on and amazed by how well you're doing so far! Best, Curtis
Hey Christine, how did it end up going?
Dang-- would be nice if this website sent a notification that somebody was replying to your comments. (So I don't know if you'll see this)
I started on Tuesday November 8 around 4/5 am. Hiked from Talimena to Pashubbe Shelter, got to camp around 10pm. (Mile 34.1)
I was having some terribly painful pins and needles in the bottoms of my feet, but hoping to sleep it off-- ended up laying awake for about 4 hours before deciding to just keep moving because I couldn't sleep at all. The climb out of Pashubbe was brutal, and I was dragging really slowly.
I made it to Wilhelmina, limping and dragging my feet around 4 pm on Wednesday. At that pace, I was nowhere near FKT territory, and I didn't think I was going to be able to make up the mileage because of the overall length of the trail. Also didn't know how to get my feet back to walking shape without taking a rest day.
This was my first attempt at something of this magnitude and I was disappointed but not surprised that I didn't send it. Success is built on a foundation of failed attempts, right?
So anyway-- figure I might give it another go this year if somebody doesn't beat me to it.
Last year April 3, 2022, I set out and completed a yo-yo of the OT. I feel it is only fitting that I come out and do an anniversary hike this year on the same date.
So, with that being said, I am going to attempt an Unsupported FKT fastpack starting in the early hours of April 3 at Talimena State Park.
Wish me luck!
Good luck!!!! Can we track you?
Had to call it quits at Queen Wilhelmina. Made it in great time but kept having my legs lock up completely. Super painful and debilitating. Came off the Florida trail to do this and the elevation just killed me. Will be back to attempt again.