Poteau Mountain Wilderness
A ridgetop view at Poteau Mountain Wilderness
Poteau Mountain Wilderness is an 11,299-acre property in Ouachita National Forest. The wilderness is comprised of two non-contiguous parcels separated by a north-south road corridor. That zone between the separate parcels is a "special management area, very similar to wilderness, except motor vehicles are allowed." The wilderness areas themselves offer scenic vistas over dense pine, oak and hickory forest from high mountain ridges. There are no official trails in the wilderness but there are traces left of old logging roads in the woods. As the primary access road drives up the backbone ridge of Poteau Mountain, the wilderness area sections drop off from that road along ridges that encompass drainages to the north.
To get to this little visited wilderness: From the intersection of US Highway 71 and SR 80, go north 6 miles on US 71 to FSR 158. Turn and go west on that for about 2 miles to the southern boundary of the eastern parcel of the wilderness. I would imagine the fence along the north side of the road is signed. Same for the western parcel of the wilderness area, about three miles further west on FSR 158.
Photo and map courtesy of the US Forest Service