December 14, 2012 · 1:00 PM
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Driving Directions to the Trailhead: Albert Pike Recreation Area is easy enough to find on a roadmap, but for a map to the trailhead, see the second page on this flyer from the USDA. Drive to Albert Pike first, and then take the dirt roads to the Little Missouri Falls Trailhead.http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_039465.pdf
For those who couldn't make it over Thanksgiving, I copied Scott's Eagle Rock Loop for Dec. 14th. However, make plans to arrive at the trailhead by NOON. This will give you some extra time on the road if you need it and some time to get ready once you arrive at the trailhead. Arrive Friday and hit the trail by 1pm. Hike (3 hours) over the 1st mountain and make camp. Saturday hike over the remaining 5 mountains and make our way to the Winding Stairs campground. Sunday hike the remaining 10 miles back to Little Missouri fall's (5 hours). This is a backpack trip you will need to carry everything with you. Trekking poles are a good idea on this loop.
This is an excellent weekend loop hike that has a good combination of easy, moderate, and difficult trails. There are many trail access points but I like to start at the Little Missouri Falls. The loop combines the Little Missouri Trail, Viles Branch Trail, and the Athens-Big Fork Trail.
Very easy deep woods hiking but be prepared for some wet crossings of the creek.
The Athens-Big Fork Trail is the one that makes this hike a challenge. It follows an old mail route and is very, very steep. The trail climbs up and over 6 different mountains in its 8 miles of the loop. These climbs and descents are very brutal and make the hike difficult for those not in good shape. If you can make the climbs there are some spectacular views for you. All of the trails have plenty of access to water if you can filter it yourself.
OK here's my disclaimer: By signing up for this trip you are taking full responsibility for your own actions and will hold harmless event organizer for any injury or death. This event is covering very uneven and loose ground with many hazards along the way. You also realize that dangerous and deadly flash flooding have been known to happen in this area. Wildlife is unpredictable so don't pet the snakes and don't hook up with Bigfoot.