Pipe Spring

Pipe Spring

Pipe Spring, Dec. 2012

Pipe Spring, Dec. 2012. There really is a “pipe spring” at this trailhead!


The LOViT overlaps with the Charlton Trail at Pipe Spring for a 1.9 miles trek to the Crystal Springs Trailhead. At Pipe Spring, there is, indeed, a pipe spring with an uninterrupted flow of cold water. This trail segment is over 40 years old and travels north along the western flank of an unnamed mountain, over the mountain, and then down into the Crystal Springs Campground area.

There are lovely views of the Walnut Creek Valley at the eastern end of Hickory Nut Mountain. You will hike through an area previously clear-cut of trees but that is now dense. Cross the road (FS47) from the pipe spring to enter the trail.

The trail traveling south from behind the pipe spring is a continuation of the Charlton Trail to the Charlton Recreation Area on Highway 270 and is a tough uphill climb with serious switchbacks.

Surrounding Area:

The Crystal Springs campgrounds and the Crystal Springs Resort are at the end of the Pipe Spring trail segment.


1.9 miles from Pipe Spring trailhead (P7) to the Crystal Springs Trailhead.

2.2 miles on the trail, or 1.9 miles on the road, to the FS47A/47 Trailhead.


Easy to moderate trail with no water crossings


There is water at the pipe spring located at the trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead:

Signs at the junction of Crystal Springs Road and FS47. (34°32'30" N 93°21'4" W)

Signs at the junction of Crystal Springs Road and FS47.
(34°32’30” N 93°21’4″ W)

From Mount Ida go east about 13 miles to Hickory Nut Mountain Road. Turn north (your only option) onto Hickory Nut Mountain Road and follow it for 9/10s of a mile to Forest Service Road FS47. Turn right (east – your only option) onto FS47 (note that Google Maps may incorrectly refer to FS47 as “Hickorynut Mountain Road”) toward Crystal Springs. Pass the FS47A/47 trailhead turnoff on your left at about 2.2 miles and continue on for about 1.4 miles to cross Walnut Creek. The Pipe Spring trailhead is about 1/2 mile past the creek. Look for the pipe spring splashing water on your right. The Pipe Spring trail segment is across FS47 from the spring. The trail behind the pipe spring is a continuation of the Charlton Trail. There is a very small parking area.

From Hot Springs, go west on Highway 270 to the Crystal Springs turnoff on the right. Follow that road toward Crystal Springs Resort until you see FS47 on your left. Take FS47 west until you see the Pipe Spring trailhead. Or you could just go on in to the Crystal Springs trailhead and hike to Pipe Spring.


Near the Crystal Springs trailhead are the Crystal Springs campgrounds, which provides camping and bathrooms, and Crystal Springs Resort, which has lodging, a full service marina, and seasonal restaurant.

Slightly further west on Highway 270 from Hickory Nut Mountain Road are Mountain Harbor Resort , The Joplin Inn at Mountain Harbor , and the nearby Joplin Recreational Area and Campgrounds .

Recent articles about the LOViT Pipe Spring trail segment:

Controlled Burn Notice – March 6, 2016

Apologies for the late notice, but we’ve just been informed by Forestry that there will be a controlled burn from the area along Walnut Creek near the Charleton Campground back toward the Crystal Springs area.

The burn is expected to be set at around 3 pm today, March 6, 2016.

If you were planning to be on the LOViT in the area from Forest Service Road 47A to Crystal Springs Road today or in the next couple of days, you will want to be aware of this activity.

The Forest Service will be placing signs in the area today to make folks aware of this upcoming controlled burn.

New Directional Signs Along Section 5 – January 4, 2016

It is winter and time to hit the Trail for a number of maintenance projects that are never fun during the heat of summer, so today, five Traildogs met at the trailhead at USFS Road 47A to place a number of new directional signs along LOViT’s Section 5 from FS47A east to Pipe Spring.

This section of the LOViT both crisscrosses USFS 47, which runs between Hickory Nut Mountain Road to the west and Crystal Springs Road to the east, and also follows along USFS 47 at times before sinking back into the Ouachita National Forest.  It’s easy to miss a turn.

Mike makes sure the new sign is level as Robert prepares to secure it to the post. Al and Ron provide moral support. (34°32'28" N 93°22'42" W)<br />(Click on this image to view more photos from Jan. 4, 2016)

Mike makes sure the new sign is level as Robert prepares to secure it to the post. Al and Ron provide moral support. (34°32’28” N 93°22’42” W)
(Click on this image to view more photos from Jan. 4, 2016)

Overall, the day was beautiful, and, for the most part, the digging was not too difficult, although we did have to relocate a couple of times due to hitting a shelf of shale.  Once a hole was dug, a post was set in concrete, leveled, and then the signs were attached. The new signs were donated by the US Forest Service (thank you, Mitzi Cole).

Cleaning up Trail Entrances – FS47A to Pipe Spring – May 16, 2014

Four years of storms and neglect were remedied last Friday when six Traildogs spent the day improving Section 5 of the Trail where it parallels and crisscrosses US Forest Service Road 47 between Crystal Springs Road and Hickory Nut Mountain Road. We worked the part of this section from the FS47A trailhead at the eastern base of Hickory Nut Mountain to Pipe Spring, where the LOViT joins the Charlton Trail leading to the Crystal Springs Campground Pavilion.

We sought to improve access and signage at each entrance and exit point along the road. We started at the intersection of FS47 and FS47A, where we installed an assurance directional sign post. The post directs users to follow FS47A 1/4 of mile north to where the Trail turns left and proceeds west to the summit of Hickory Nut Mountain. We also installed a new sign at the FS47A trailhead. We cleared all the undergrowth and removed rye grass planted after the timber harvest of two years ago that had made a weed patch of the trail.

We then began the laborious process of opening each of the entrances to the trail segments along FS47. We also installed a new direction sign post at each entrance. We then hiked and cleared these sections of trail, and they are now ready for use again.

For those of us who built these sections crisscrossing FS47, we remember it as our hardest year of construction. It was a bitter cold winter, and when it wasn’t just cold, it was cold and wet. So, we would like to see more regular use of these three nice sections and keep our riders and hikers off the road as much as possible.

The photos show the new trail directional signs we are installing along the entire length of the trail to improve assurances to all users that they are on the right track.

Installing a new sign at the corner of FS47 and FS47A.

Installing a new sign at the corner of FS47 and FS47A. (34°32’41” N 93°23’20” W)

Our next spring maintenance day will be on Tuesday May 27th. We will be working the downed trees and trimming the trail from Crystal Springs up and over both the 2.0 mile Charlton/LOVIT section and also Section 6 across Little Bear Mountain from Crystal Springs Road to the western side of Bear Mountain. We will meet at the parking area next to the old pavilion next to the Crystal Springs Campground. Some of the work will require chainsaws, but most of the work will be with loppers.

Pack a trail lunch and join us.


[Note:  some of the online maps from such services as Google and Apple show FS47 to be labeled “Hickory Nut Mountain Road” and FS47A to be labeled “Pollard Creek Trail”.  The road from US 270 up to the Vista on top of Hickory Nut Mountain is also called “Hickory Nut Mountain Road”, and it is also known as “FS50”.  This can be confusing at best!]

Boy Scouts – Mar. 8, 2014

Pipe Spring Trailhead sign Installed by Boy Scouts

Pipe Spring Trailhead sign Installed by Boy Scouts

On Saturday, March 8th, eleven volunteers from a Little Rock Boy Scout Troop led by Eagle Candidate Rhett Gill joined three of the Traildog volunteers – Robert Cavanaugh, Al Gathright and myself – on the LOViT to install two new Trailhead Signs that Rhett had designed, planned and led the construction of for installation on the Trail. Rhett and I had planned this day of installation over a month ago, and, amazingly, it was a perfect day to be out on the Trail.

The Scouts and their leaders arrived at the Crystal Springs Trailhead by caravan at 9:00 am from Little Rock with a 16-foot trailer holding two beautifully constructed trailhead signs. There were six scouts and five of their support leadership, all ready for a LOViT experience.  We drove from Crystal Springs west on USFS RD 47 to the Pipe Spring intersection of the LOViT and Charlton trails where we had planned to install a new trailhead sign to assist hikers and bikers at this busy trail intersection. The signs had been completely fabricated, painted, and roofed in Little Rock, with each sign weighing approximately 500 pounds.

Eagle Scout candidate Rhett Gill on left oversees installation.

Eagle Scout candidate Rhett Gill on left oversees installation.

At the Pipe Spring location, the sign was to be installed 150 feet off the road near Walnut Creek.to help prevent vandalism from visitors who seem to delight in shooting holes at anything along this busy forest service road. After arriving at the site, the scouts, led by Rhett, quickly attacked digging the two thirty inch holes necessary for installing the signs. Fortunately, the soil in the area was not solid rock, and within 45 minutes, the scouts, using pry bars and post hole diggers, had the holes ready.

One example of the vandalism in this area was that a directional sign post installed last year at the site had one of the five directional arrows torn off and one partially torn off by vandals, who then pulled the post up, then replanted it, turned so the directional arrows pointed in the wrong direction. While the scouts worked on the trailhead sign installation, the Traildogs repaired and reinstalled the sign correctly. Forest Service Rd 47, known to the Traildogs as “Beer Can” road, seems to draw an inordinate number of visitors who enjoy littering and vandalizing, versus those who work to enhance the beauty of this scenic part of the forest.

Moving the heavy sign into place.

Moving the heavy sign into place.

The next task was for everyone to lift the unwieldy 500 pound sign off the trailer to transport it to the installation site. Twelve willing bodies lifted the sign and carefully carried slowly down the trail to its final resting place. Rhett carefully measured the depth of the holes and the length of the sign legs to ensure it met the standard of previously-installed signs on the trail. All hands lifted the sign, turned it 180 degrees, and slid the two legs into the holes to the cheers of all there. Using a two-sided post level, they leveled the sign, mixed the concrete and filled the holes around the posts. The scouts did the work, while the leaders and Traildogs watched to ensure everything was done safely and to trail standards.

The scouts also installed one of our Carsnite Trail Usage signs next to the trailhead sign to remind users that only hikers and mountain bikers can legally utilize the trail. Then, after a lot of picture taking and hand shaking, we loaded up all the tools and caravanned to to the new Brady Mountain Road trailhead parking area.  While three of the scouts dug the two holes for the second sign, the others fetched water from the nearby creek and mixed the concrete in a wheelbarrow for installation of the second sign.  Utilizing the same lift and tote process, the second sign slid safely into the two holes, and within an hour, the second sign was leveled and braced into place by the Scouts.

Sliding the second sign into Place at Brady Mountain Road.

Sliding the second sign into Place at Brady Mountain Road.

It  was a great experience watching these enthusiastic young men working together for a common cause to add these new signs to our trail system. No less enthusiastic where their adult leaders, who have encouraged these scouts to look for projects to give something back to the community while earning their advanced scout badges. I am sure Rhett’s Eagle Badge Evaluation Committee will agree this was a excellent Eagle Scout Project.

We appreciate the US Forest Service supporting this effort by approving the construction and working with the Traildogs to mark the installation sites. This installation is one of the first steps the Traildogs intend to complete in making the LOViT the best designed, best constructed, best signed and best maintained trail system in the state. Without the help of volunteers like the Scouts, our progress toward this “BEST of the BEST” goal will be a long road.


A special thanks to all the Scouts, especially Rhett Gill and their Leader Terry Gill, for a great day on the LOViT.



Hunting Season 2013 – Be Careful On The Trail!

It’s hunting season in Arkansas, and because the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is primarily located in the Ouachita National Forest, you must be aware of the potential for hunters to be on or near the Trail.

Here are the “Hunter Orange Requirements” as published by the International Hunter Education Association:


(A) It is unlawful to hunt wildlife, or to accompany or assist anyone in hunting wildlife, in zones open to firearm deer, bear, or elk seasons, without wearing an outer garment, above the waistline, of daylight fluorescent blaze orange (Hunter Orange) within the color range of 595-605 nanometers or flouorescent chartreuse color range of 555nm – 565nm (Hunter Safety Green) totaling at least 400 square inches, and a hunter orange or hunter safety green head hat must be visibly worn on the head. (B) Florescent blaze orange (Hunter Orange)or florescent chartreuse (Hunter Safety Green) totaling at least 144 square inches on each visible side and a minimum of three feet above the ground on each side of a portable, pop-up type ground blinds used on public land. EXCEPTIONS: (1) While migratory bird hunting. PENALTY: $50.00 to $1,000.00.

Please be mindful of hunters when hiking the LOViT, and be sure to wear orange!

Be safe!!!