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Heathens Hiking & Campout

Redding Spy Rock Loop Trail

Photo © Arklahoma Hiker

A hiking and camping Meetup for outdoorsy freethinkers! The Redding-Spy Rock Loop is an easy 8.8 miles of moderate difficulty with a total elevation from the Redding campsite of about 900 feet along the length of the trail.

At the halfway point is a spur that leads to spectacular, must-not-miss vistas of the Ozarks viewed from Spy Rock. There are also good panoramic views from the bluff on the way north. The hiking distance can easily be covered in 4-6 hours at a slow pace and with frequent stops for snacks, lunch, and photography.

The total distance is short enough that this is a good hike for beginners. If you have never hiked before but would like to try it this is your golden opportunity. For those wanting to extend the hike a little there is a junction east of Spy Rock that connects to the Ozark Highland Trail. I do not recommend hiking in the dark so you should plan to be back at camp no later than 5 p.m. Also, for safety reasons no one must go off on their own. Always hike with a buddy.

You will need to drink plenty of water during the hike as you will sweat a lot. You cannot safely drink the water from the streams found along the loop, so fill up your water bottles before you leave the campsite.

For those tenderfoots who only wish to enjoy the campout experience, you can arrive at your leisure and look for the others' cars and an "ASF" sign at our designated camp site.

The campground has showers, flush toilets, and potable water. It doesn't have cabins so we'll be sleeping on the ground. It's a fee campground with a $10 cover charge per campsite. Each campsite holds 7-10 people, so we'll take up a collection when you show up based on how many sites we take. There is a nearby free parking lot within walking distance, or you can park at the campsite for a $3 per car fee.

Dogs are also allowed on the trail, so feel free to bring man’s best friend. I will likely bring my terrier whom I have taken on a previous hike in the Ouchitas.

Alcohol is "technically" prohibited, so please be discreet with any adult beverage indulgences.

If you want to participate but have never hiked or camped before, please contact me, John Griffith, for advice. I am an experienced hiker and camper. I’ve hiked rugged mountainous trails in New Zealand and the U.S.

Click here for driving directions

Click here for interactive trail map

Click here for Redding Recreation Area USDA Forest Service website

Here's the planned itinerary (subject to change due to weather):
April 13
10:00 AM: Meet and select a campground (first come, first served, no reservations).
10:30 AM: Hike loop to Spy Rock and back.
(non-hiking latecomers, please allow yourself ample daylight to set up camp)
5 PM: Unpack and make camp at campgrounds.
6 PM: Eat, drink, and be merry.


April 14
Wake up at your leisure
Cook breakfast
Pack up and head home

Hiking gear list
1. Water bottle or canteen.
2. High energy snacks for April 13. Nuts and dried fruits make excellent, non-perishable high energy snacks.
3. Dinner and lunch for April 13, and breakfast for April 14.
4. Cooking gear such as a billy or pan. A shatter-resistant plate and eating utensils.
5. A portable gas camping stove. You’ll find this superior to trying to cook over a fire. I have a stove you are welcome to use.
6. First aid kit.
7. A knife with a retractable blade.
8. A pack or bum-bag to carry food, gear, etc.
9. Hiking boots. Please do not try to walk this trail in sneakers or other inappropriate footwear. If your boots are new you should break them in by wearing them as much as possible beforehand if you want to avoid developing painful blisters during the hike.
10. A warm jacket in case it gets cold. Even if the weather is warm, please do not neglect to bring something warm to put on.
11. A change of socks, clothing, and underwear in case you get wet.
12. Poncho or other wet-weather gear. I use a poncho because it is cheap, easily replaceable, light-weight, and it can cover your pack.
13. Toilet paper and a bag to bag it in case you get the urge while on the trail. Vigorous physical exercise such as hiking is a great natural laxative.
14. A camera.

Camping gear list
15. Dinner for April 13, and breakfast for April 14.
16. A sleeping bag and bedroll to insulate your body when sleeping on the ground.
17. A tent or a buddy with a tent who will share. I have a two-man tent I am happy to share.
18. Lawn/folding/camp chair for sitting around the fire.
19. A positive attitude, good humor, jokes, ghost stories, and the like to share with your comrades.

Join or login to comment.

  • Laney

    Looks like you guys had a good time. I love the pic of Mark "descending into the fiery pits of hell." Too funny!

    April 14, 2013

  • Laney

    I hope everyone has a great time! Be safe and use the buddy system so that when you get trapped under a boulder you don't have to saw your own arm off with a dull pocket knife. Have fun! :-)

    April 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Something's come up and I can't join ya'll this weekend. I'll spend the weekend envious.

    April 12, 2013

  • Dave B.

    For any latecomers who don't want to meet us for the hike, we'll mark our selected camp site with a paper sign with "ASF" and tape it to the window of one of our cars, visible toward the road.

    April 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The weather looks perfect for our hike and camp out! If anyone wants to carpool, I will be coming through Little Rock between 7 and 8 a.m., and Conway shortly thereafter.

    I have a two-man tent I am willing to share, but it will be cozy -- small tent and I am bringing two of my adoptive canine (small) daughters, so if intimacy with a relative stranger is a problem you'll want to bring your own sleeping domicile.

    April 7, 2013

  • Jim L.

    We were trying to clear our schedule but things happened this past week that makes it so I have a shoot on that Saturday. :O(

    April 7, 2013

  • Rebecca

    That's a wonderful packing list! Sounds like a lot of fun! Ozark is beautiful! How much "on the edge" hiking is involved? I'm not so good with heights. ;)

    April 6, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I have not done this particular hike before. That said, none of the trail descriptions mentioned "on the edge" hiking, however, the trail goes as high as 900 feet and Spy Rock is a look out point over the valley, so there will be heights, Rebecca.

      April 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Definitely maybe. I'll check headcount and confirm later.

    March 19, 2013

5 went

  • Dave B.
    President Emeritus, Co-Organizer
  • Susan K.
    President Emeritus, Leadership Development Chair, Board member, Co-Organizer
  • Mark L.
    Treasurer, Board Member, Organizer
  • A former member

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