Near Fern in the Ozark National Forest, the 180 mile Ozark Highlands Trail is a fabulous way to explore the 1.2 million acre Ozark National Forest. For mapping purposes, this trail has been broken down into three sections: Western, Middle and Eastern. The primary Western Section trailhead is at Lake Fort Smith State Park. The primary Middle Section trailhead is at Lick Branch Trailhead. The primary Eastern Section trailhead is at Woolum Trailhead.
One of the nicest stretches is the 13 mile Summit Loop which combines the white-blazed Ozark Highland Trail with the blue-blazed Shores Lake Spur Trail starting from NFS Shores Lake CG. Theres even a great side trek up to the summit of White Rock Mountain. To reach the hiking trailhead from US40, use Exit 24 to SR215 heading north past Fern. Turn left onto FS1505 to NFS Shores Lake CG.
Overall, Ozark Highlands Trail - Western is the 3rd most popular hiking trail of all 18 hikes in Arkansas.