Horsethief Springs Trail
Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas & Oklahoma
Trail Highlights: Horsethief Springs Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the area. The trail begins at Cedar Lake and loops through many different tree species. The hiker will cross several small streams before connecting with the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. The trail then loops back down the northern face of Winding Stair Mountain to Cedar Lake. Using the Ouachita National Recreation Trail to form the loop results in about an 11-mile hike.
Surrounding Areas: Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area, Cedar Lake Recreation Area, Winding Stair Campground, Talimena Scenic Drive, Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
Length: 11.2-mile loop. Travel time one way is 5 to 6.5 hours.
Access: 1) Horsethief Springs Picnic Area along Oklahoma State Highway 1 (Talimena Scenic Drive) 6 miles west of U.S. Highway 259 junction; 2) Holson Valley Road, 3 miles east of U.S. Highway 271 junction; or 3) Cedar Lake Recreation Area.
Trail surface and markings: Unsurfaced. White rectangles on Horsethief Springs trail. Blue rectangles on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
Water: Intermittent streams are located near the trail. Treat all water before drinking.
Difficulty Level: More difficult
History: Portions of this trail are located along some logging roads from the 1920s. The trail follows the route horse thieves used in the 1800s. These outlaws made their camps and corrals near the top of Winding Stair Mountain because of the existence of a perennial spring. Civilian Conservation Corps crews built a stone structure in the 1930s to contain the spring water and prevent erosion.