Situated near the captivating Mt. Ida, Arkansas, the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (often referred to as LOVIT) offers cyclists a harmonious blend of well-packed terrains flanked by verdant pine and oak forests. With a length of 10 miles, this trail is a testament to nature's ability to offer both serenity and challenge, presenting terrains that cater to a range of skill sets.
- Terrain Composition: Packed single track through pine and oak forests, following contours adjacent to the breathtaking Lake Ouachita.
- Features: The trail boasts a combination of short descents, climbs, intricate switchbacks, and intriguing stream crossings, ensuring that monotony remains a stranger to this journey.
- Landmarks: A notable point on this trail is an age-old quartz crystal mine, located at a creek crossing, a silent witness to nature's bountiful treasures.
- Trail Navigation: Starting from Denby Point, one cycles for approximately 5 miles to reach Tompkins Bend. A 3/4-mile continuation leads to the Joplin trail intersection, which, if missed, would lead back to the road, marking the Homestead Trailhead. The trail eventually emerges on Mountain Harbor Road, close to Joplin store and gas station on 270. A westward continuation for a mile on 270 reconnects to Tompkins Bend Road.
Trail Access and Amenities
To access the trail:
- From Hot Springs, head 22 miles west or from Mount Ida, 10 miles east on Hwy 270.
- Turn north towards Tompkins Bend Recreation Area, and after a short distance, make a left on the first road from 270.
- Parking provisions exist at a kiosk, or one can continue half a mile to directly access the trail.
Additional amenities and trail details can be sourced from the Womble Ranger Station, located just a mile east of Mt Ida on US 270. Two more trailheads with parking options are available up the road to Tompkins Bend.
- The trail from Denby to Tompkins throws in a few challenging short, steep climbs. However, the subsequent 5 miles on the peninsula is much gentler. The network of trails offers a good balance of gradients, making it apt for riders seeking variety.
- An entire journey from Denby to Hickory Nut Mountain reveals a delightful singletrack, punctuated with amazing lake views and some technical zones, especially around Iron Creek. The climb up Hickory Nut, while strenuous, promises a rewarding view and a sense of accomplishment.
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is an embodiment of Arkansas's rich topography, offering cyclists a chance to connect with nature, challenge their limits, and find tranquility, all in a single ride. Pairing a ride on the LOVIT with the famed Womble can indeed turn a weekend into an unforgettable cycling odyssey. Highly recommended for those intermediate cyclists seeking both thrill and beauty.