Joplin Cascades - LOViT

When the water is running, the view of the “Joplin Cascades” is both beautiful and soothing.


This trail segment is a marked departure from Denby Bay and Tompkins Bend. As you enter the trail you immediately begin a .75 mile downward grade that terminates at a secluded creek crossing covered by towering old growth hardwoods. After traveling about 1 mile on an old forest service fire road, there is a second wet crossing over Irons Creek. From here the trail parallels a beautiful creek lined with ferns and massive old rock outcroppings coated in emerald moss. There are several small waterfalls but the highpoint of this stretch is the five step Irons Creek “Cascade” located on the left about ½ mile from the crossing. Take a short 100 foot spur trail (see the sign and rock cairn) for a great photo opportunity or a soothing place to catch your breath.

One mile from the Cascade spur, you will come to a rock cairn and sign identifying your arrival at “Hot Dog Falls” and the foot of Hickory Nut Mountain. Here is where it gets hard. The next 1.5 miles is all uphill, rocky and increasingly steep until you reach two severe switchbacks just before the summit of the mountain.

Surrounding Area:

Mountain Harbor Resort includes fishing and boating potential. Turtle Cove Spa is also among the Resort’s facilities.


4 miles one way to Hickory Nut Mountain trailhead . But you can also backtrack from the Joplin trailhead 5 miles to Tompkins Bend Trailhead.


Strenuous. Five bridge-less creek crossings and a mile of steep climbing with two sets of switchbacks over the last mile to Hickory Nut Mountain. Moderate with one short, steep grade back toward Tompkins Bend.


Bathrooms, food, and water are available at the Joplin Store, located at the Highway 270 and Mountain Harbor Rd. intersection. There is a lodge restaurant at Mountain Harbor Resort , and there is a Subway restaurant at the Mountain Harbor Marina on Lake Ouachita; both are open seasonally, so check ahead.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go east from Mount Ida about 10 miles, or west from Hot Springs about 24 miles, on U.S. Highway 270 to Mountain Harbor Rd. at the Joplin Store/Mountain Harbor Resort sign. Turn north on Mountain Harbor Rd. and travel about 1 city block past the Joplin store and several mobile homes on the right. Turn right on the next road opposite the entrance to the Joplin Methodist Church (the Trail is marked with brown hiking sign). Follow the road east 4/10th mile to the parking area on the right.

To go west to Tompkins Bend Trailhead, exit the Joplin Trailhead parking area and backtrack on the road to where the Trail crosses Mountain Harbor Rd. It is 5 miles to Tompkins Bend.

To go east to Hickory Nut Mountain, exit the Joplin Trailhead parking area and go right (east) about 1/10th mile to the fork in the road. Bear left at the fork another 1/10th mile to the trail sign and take a left onto the Trail. It is 4 miles to the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead where there is parking for a dozen vehicles.


The Joplin Campground and Mountain Harbor Resort and Restaurant are each about 2.5 miles north on Mountain Harbor Rd. Follow the signs. Both Lake Ouachita Vacation Realty and Lake Ouachita Rentals have accommodations in the Harbor East area adjacent to Mountain Harbor Resort. The Joplin Inn at Mountain Harbor (formerly the Colonial Motel) is at the corner of Highway 270 and Mountain Harbor Road across the highway from the Joplin Store.

Recent articles about the Joplin trail segment:

A Cold and Rainy LOViT Marathon – Dec. 4, 2016

Yesterday, a handful of Traildogs joined with Phillip Carr and Shangri La’s Carr family to help with the annual LOViT Marathon, an out-and-back race traditionally held on the first Saturday in December. The race starts at the LOViT’s ADA Pavilion just off Shangri La Road and follows the Trail 14.1 miles to the turnaround at the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead. Phil had expected a record turnout, but the bleak and rainy December morning brought out 76 or so runners for the event, some running the full marathon, while others ran a ½ marathon, catching a shuttle back to the start/stop line from Hickory Nut Mountain. Despite the weather, this is always a great event. … Click to read the full article

The LOViT Is Now Clear and Open – Sept. 8, 2016

The clean up of downed trees from the severe windstorm of last July was completed yesterday. Many thanks to a few Traildogs, especially Robert Cavanaugh and Ron Mayfield, and to our good friends on the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Crew.  Over the past couple of months, we cut well over 100 downed trees off of the Trail.  Much of the saga can be read about on the LOViT Facebook Page. The entire LOViT is now open for hiking and biking. Fall is a great time to enjoy the trail. … Click to read the full article

Help Protect the LOViT – A Call To Action

Help Protect The LOViT By Making Your Voice Heard The LOViT Traildogs, Friends of Lake Ouachita, and the Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee are seeking user support from all those who hike, bike, or just generally love the LOViT. The United States Forest Service has published an announcement of a proposed “Resource Management Project” (see the link below) that would likely damage the canopy, the tread, and the aesthetic beauty of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. We urge each of you read the proposal letter and provide your input to the Womble District Ranger, Shalonda Guy.  Public input is a key element in the planning and execution of all Forest Service proposed projects. In addition to the Project document from the USFS and their map describing the areas in which the proposed burn and timber harvest would take place, we have also attached a sample of letters already submitted regarding the viability of this proposed resource … Click to read the full article

2015 LOViT Marathon Is In The Books …

The 2015 LOViT Marathon was run December 5, and by all accounts, it was a successful event. Your LOViT Traildogs supported the event by working at aid stations at both the Joplin and Hickory Nut Mountain Trailheads. Click on the image below to view photographs of the runners who made it to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain, the turnaround point for this out-and-back marathon. Here are the race results:  Also, a slide show with many more photos can be found here:  Finally, here’s the LOViT Marathon Facebook page: What a great bunch of participants we enjoyed at this aid station.  Great people, great event! … Click to read the full article

2015 LOViT Marathon Scheduled for Dec. 5, 2015

The annual LOViT Marathon, a 26+ mile out-and-back course on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (“LOViT”), is scheduled for December 5, 2015. Registration and additional information for this Ultra Trail Series race can be found on the website of the Arkansas Ultra Running Association: By registering for the race, it helps the race management and volunteers to put on a better and safer run for everyone, and it helps Phil and Bonnie Carr, who put on this annual event, when you register online via the above link, although registration is also accepted via “snail mail”. You can keep abreast of current announcements and other race information through The LOViT Marathon Facebook page (and we hope you “Like” us there!). A bit more information about previous LOViT Marathon events on the Trail can be found by entering “Marathon” in the search box on the right side of this page. The … Click to read the full article