Tompkins Bend

Tompkins Bend

A beautiful view of Lake Ouachita along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin Trail Segment

A beautiful view of Lake Ouachita along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin Trail Segment


Record Short-Leaf Pine - one of the "Twin Towers" along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin Trail Segment.

Record Short-Leaf Pine – one of the “Twin Towers” along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin Trail Segment.

This segment of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) is approximately five miles of winding trail from the Tompkins Bend Trailhead parking area to the Joplin Trailhead parking area off Mountain Harbor Rd. While designed for all age groups, expect more elevation and hills than on the trail from Denby Bay to Tompkins Bend. The Trail crosses many spring-fed streams, winds past a number of old quartz crystal mines, and passes many unusual rock formations.

An amazing feature is a stand of very large (estimated 300-400 years old) short-leaf pine trees towering over 125 feet above the trail.

The "Cattle Dip" along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin trail segment

The “Cattle Dip” along the Tompkins Bend to Joplin trail segment

A 1.5 mile loop out to Eagle Vista provides a spectacular view of the lake that, during the winter months, is home to several bald eagles. Look for the old natural cattle dip on Spring Creek, and note the spring that feeds the creek at Spring Creek Bridge crossing. Here the trail wanders alongside the cool creek, flowing over moss-covered stones through a narrow valley lined with hundreds of wood ferns.

Surrounding Area:

The trailhead is near entrance to the Tompkins Bend Campground. Fishing, boating, etc. at Shangri-La Resort.


Sign at the Tompkins Bend/Joplin/Homestead junction.

Sign at the Tompkins Bend/Joplin/Homestead junction.

5 miles to the Joplin Trailhead from the Tompkins Bend trailhead. Go east across Shangri-La Rd. from the trailhead. You may also go south about 1.75 miles to the Homestead Trailhead, or, you may bypass the Homestead trailhead and travel 3 more miles to the Denby Bay Trailhead.

Note on the map that there is a loop possible between the Homestead and Tompkins Bend trailheads: from the Tompkins Bend trailhead, follow the Tompkins Bend to Joplin trail segment for about .75 miles to a junction. From the junction you may bear right (west) and follow a .25 miles loop back across Shangri-La Rd. to the P2 Homestead Trailhead.


Moderate with bridged creek crossings.  Note: Bridges may be covered with debris which can become quite slick in wet weather.  Cross them cautiously.


Water and bathrooms are available in the Tompkins Bend campground, about one block from the trailhead. Shangri-La Resort and restaurant is just a bit further down Shangri-La road.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go east from Mount Ida about 9 miles, or west from Hot Springs about 25 miles, on U.S. Highway 270 to Shangri-La Rd. You can’t miss the Shangri-La Resort sign on 270. Turn north off Highway 270 onto Shangri-La Road and continue to the Tompkins Bend campground entrance. Trailhead parking is on the left.


Tompkins Bend Campground near the trailhead, and Shangri-La Resort a bit further down Shangri-La Rd.

Recent articles about the LOViT Tompkins Bend trail segment:

Repairing a Soggy Approach to “Traildog Bridge” – June 1, 2017

Yesterday, a team of Traildogs attacked the perennially soggy approach to “Traildog Bridge” on LOViT’s Section 1, not too far from the Tompkins Bend Pavilion and Trailhead. We had a good and enthusiastic team that included better-late-than-never help from a US Army Corps of Engineers bobcat and its driver, which we appreciated, along with the USACE-donated pavers and gravel. The new approach got a good test immediately as the rains came with a vengeance as the last load of gravel was spread and our tools were gathered. There was insult to injury, as the storm knocked out power in the area, so rather than a Shangri-La lunch, some of the soggy Traildogs had to settle for pie!!! It was a good day on the Trail! … Click to read the full article

Mount Ida’s “Tires on the Trail” Event – May 26, 2017

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try. Here in Montgomery County, Arkansas, three of our trails have been designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association as IMBA EPICS: the Womble, the Lake Ouachita Vista (LOViT), and the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. Join us this Friday, May 26th, from Noon – 4:00 pm, at Tompkins Bend Recreation Area & Campground (15 Tompkins Bend, Mount Ida, AR 71957) for our National Bike Month Event, “Tires on the Trail”. Dust off your bikes and come put your tires on the LOViT Trail! Learn basic bike maintenance, repair, and safety tips and signup for a guided mini-ride on the LOViT Trail. BYOB – Bring Your … Click to read the full article

New Water Bars Along Section 1 – Feb. 1, 2017

Today, four Traildogs (Al Gathright, Robert Cavanaugh, Ron Mayfield, and Dan Watson) attacked drainage problems along the Trail in a couple of areas along Section 1 between Denby Bay and Tompkins Bend. The first location was near the “Pine Plantation” area, a bit west of Shangri La Road.  After working on a new water bar here, we followed the trail back to the Sunset Vista spur (34°33’12” N 93°28’46” W) to enjoy that beautiful location for a while and to clean up debris along the trail. The second location was above the two bridges just west of “The Dip” along Shangri La Road.  Three new water bars were installed along the very steep slope a bit south of the bridges (34°33’13” N 93°28’6″ W). It was a beautiful and balmy day for the first of February – a great day to be on the LOViT!!  Finishing a little after noon, we … 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