Black Fork Mountain Wilderness


Black Fork Mountain is a 13-mile-long east-ridge that straddles the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line in Ouachita National Forest. The 13,139-acres of Black Fork Mountain Wilderness straddle that ridge with about 8,350 acres in Arkansas and about 4,789 acres in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma side is completely devoid of any official development: no trails, no trailheads, nothing. The Arkansas side has one major trail that ascends along the length of the ridge to its highest point and ends there.

The landscape is mostly forested but there are sections of the ridge that rise above the trees, exposing sandstone bluffs and large ancient rock flows. The forest is mostly oak and short-leaf pine. Big Creek and the Ouachita River border the wilderness but other than two small springs on the mountain, there is no other water. The ridge offers many spectacular views of the area but hiking anywhere in the wilderness is considered "difficult." Human use is very low.

To get there: go north from Page, OK for about 2 miles on County Road 1040. Or go north from Mena, AR for about seven miles on US Highway 270 to the Black Fork Mountain Trailhead. It's about six miles from there to the peak of the ridge.