Planning to do the Sylamore section on Sept 16th. Will be going North to South (Matney to Spring Creek). Surprised there isn’t a FKT set, happy to start things off. Will be unsupported.
Route: Ozark Highlands Trail (AR)
The Ozark Highlands Trail stretches 200+ miles through northwest Arkansas. It was built, and is maintained, by the Ozark Highlands Trail Association. Some beautiful photos from the trail are on this site. Like many regional trails, the OHT is in the process of being developed. To now the FKT route has been the 165 mile stretch from Lake Fort Smith to Woodlum, which is displayed on the map below. At present that could be extended another 15 miles to Tyler Bend/Hwy 65. From here the trail is in the process of being constructed, with a very small stretch in limbo with a private owner. Once that issue is resolved, which some suggest is very soon, the trail will extend to a continuous 208 miles. Beyond this is a gap with no built trail, and it seems likely there won't be a trail for some time. The OHT picks back up with the 31.6-mile Sylamore Section, from Spring Creek to Matney.
The Sylamore Section of the OHT is provided as a Variation. From Spring Creek Trailhead in Big Flat, AR to Matney Trailhead in Norfork, AR (Mile 222 to 253 or 0 to 31.6 on section maps. See U.S. Forest Service, Sylamore Ranger District, Mountain View, AR OHT Sylamore Section Recreation Opportunity Guide for topo and local information, or see Ozark Highlands Trail Guide late 4th edition or later by Tim Ernst. Jake Anderson describes it as follows: "This is the newest section of the Ozark Highlands Trail. Recent restoration projects have made this one of the best point to point routes in the Natural State. Challenging terrain combining forest/logging roads, large rock gardens, boulders, creek crossings and large climbs make this route worthy of an FKT."