Watchable Wildlife

Watchable Wildlife (The “ADA” Trail)

Lovin' the LOViT's Elevated Walkway

Lovin’ the LOViT’s Elevated Walkway


This portion of the LOViT trail is designed to bring all users, including those who may be physically challenged, closer to nature. The entire trail segment is a 1.25 mile loop including a level paved area with benches and an Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) elevated walkway allowing users to access a wild wetland area at the south end of the Denby Bay area. The Trail circles a large open field, follows along the bank of Gap Creek as it flows into the bay, and then ducks beneath the towering canopy of a densely wooded area changing from woods to marsh and then open water. The elevated walkway, about .25 miles long, also connects to a bridge over Gap Creek. Cross the bridge to the .5 mile Gap Creek spur, which terminates at the old Highway 270 bridge and a small parking area.

Stone Sign - Watchable Wildlife - LOViT

An attractive stone sign marks the pavilion at the ADA Watchable Wildlife Trailhead

 When designing the Trail, we planned three short wheelchair-accessible spurs from the main trail to the edge of Gap Creek, where we quietly observed largemouth bass depositing their eggs in a clear rocky eddy along the shore of the creek. During the winter months, visitors are able to walk among hundreds of Coots, Pin Tail Ducks, Loons, Wood Ducks and on a good day even observe Bald Eagles fishing or harvesting Coots for lunch.

The trailhead currently includes a restroom, parking, and an information kiosk highlighting historical details of the trail and the lake.

Bridge Over Gap Creek - Watchable Wildlife - LOViT

This bridge crosses Gap Creek along LOViT’s Watchable Wildlife trail.

There remains an intent to continuously develop habitat for field and wood birds, including planting seed-producing grasses, wild flowers, fruit trees, and native berry-bearing bushes generating year-around forage for birds and wildlife all along the Watchable Wildlife trail segment. Additionally, the LOViT Traildogs and the Montgomery County Master Gardeners are planning guided interpretive hikes along this section of the trail.

The ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the Trail occurred October 7, 2011.

Surrounding Area:

This trail is at the edge Lake Ouachita, near the Denby Bay Trailhead. Lake Ouachita Shores Resort is across the bay.


1.25 miles.


Easy, handicapped accessible.


Restroom, water.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go 9 miles east from Mount Ida, or 25 miles west from Hot Springs, on Highway 270 to Shangri-La Road. You can’t miss the Shangri-La Resort sign. Go one block up Shangri-La Road to the first road on your left, Old Highway 270, go two blocks or so and you will see the parking area and information kiosk on your left. This would be a great place to begin developing your walking skills while enjoying the area wildlife. But if you pass the kiosk and continue along Old 270 just a bit further, you can access the main trail at the Denby Bay Trailhead.


Lake Ouachita Shores Resort (no restaurant) is across the bay. Tompkins Bend campground and Shangri-La Resort and restaurant are on Shangri-La Rd.

Recent articles about the Watchable Wildlife (“ADA”) Trail:

Italian Writer Discovers the LOViT – October 22, 2014

Robert Cavanaugh and Zoie Clift

Robert Cavanaugh and Zoie Clift

Traildog Robert Cavanaugh had a great day Wednesday, Oct. 22. Zoie Clift of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department asked Robert to lead her and two visitors from Italy on a mountain bike ride on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail.

Carlo is a magazine writer and is working on an article on Arkansas. He is a skier and a mountain biker. His friend, Giuliana, is a road biker. Zoie is a very good rider and is a great friend of the LOViT.

We spent the day riding the trail, taking pictures, and then finished it up with a great meal at Shangri-La Resort (and a piece of the best banana crème pie in the known universe). A great ride with some very nice people. Click on the image below to view pictures from their time on the LOViT.

Carlo and Giuliana with Zoie Clift of the Arkansas Department of Tourism and a great friend of the LOViT.

Carlo and Giuliana with Zoie Clift of the Arkansas Department of Tourism and a great friend of the LOViT.
(Click this image to view more photos of this event.)

Carlo has promised a copy of the article when it’s been published.  We’ll look forward to sharing that on our website.

LOViT Marathon – Dec. 8, 2012

A bunch of Traildogs worked the LOViT Marathon this morning. The race is put on yearly by Phil and Bonnie Carr of Shangri-La Resort.  About 70 runners participated this year and enjoyed moderate and overcast weather, perfect for the run.

The course begins at the corner of Shangri-La Road and the corner of old Highway 270, proceeds to the Denby Bay Trailhead on the LOViT, and then follows the Trail up to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain, for an out distance of 14+ miles.  The return trip takes the cutoff from the Joplin to Tompkins Bend segment across to the Homestead Trailhead, and then back in, accounting for the remaining 12 miles of the marathon.

The ‘Dogs working the various aid stations want to thank Bonnie and Varine Carr for supplying the chili and banana pie.  Very much appreciated!

This was a great event, and everyone, runners and Traildogs, had a good time.

Click here for 2012 LOViT Marathon Results.  Also, a participant’s view of the race is here.

Here are a few photos from the event.



Recent ADA Trail Work

A small group of Traildogs completed the installation of the gravel pavers around the six pieces of exercise equipment at the ADA trailhead on Monday, October 1. The Corps of Engineers had generously provided five additional rolls of the paver material, which was exactly the amount required. As the materials weather and settle, this will provide a very stable surface in and around the equipment and will meet all American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements at the site.

All we need to complete the planned work is installing some field stone on the south side of the equipment to provide a border from the open field. We are seeking a supply of field stone to complete this project.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, we had five volunteers assisting with the cleaning and trimming of the ADA handicap accessible section of the Trail.  The trees and bushes that line the outer edge of the trail were encroaching on the trail as they reach for any available sunlight.

Trimming tree branches along the ADA Trail

Trimming tree branches along the ADA Trail.

In additional there were several large limbs that had fallen as a result of several storms.  We trimmed the entire length of the paved and elevated trail and removed all of the limb debris.  It was perfect weather for the work day, and within two hours we had completed the task.  Thanks to Gail, Dan, Loren, Derwood, and myself, the ADA trail is in pristine condition.

Traildogs Install Pavers at ADA Trail

Today, a group of nine Traildogs met at the ADA Trailhead just off of Shangri-La Road to install gravel pavers around the new exercise equipment there.  We started early, but the weather warmed quickly.

The Corps of Engineers delivered the pavers and pea gravel to the work site.  The work involved raking and leveling the soil around the equipment and removing the few weeds that have grown up on the pad.

The pavers – plastic grids designed to hold the gravel in place – were then laid out and secured to the ground with spikes and washers.  Cutting the pavers to fit around the exercise equipment turned out to be a manageable task.  Once the pavers were laid into place, they were filled with the pea gravel, and the gravel was smoothed over to provide a professional looking and stable surface around the exercise equipment.

Unfortunately, we ran out of pavers and were unable to completely cover the area.  More will be delivered by the Corp of Engineers so the project can be completed relatively soon, hopefully around mid-week.  Any delays in receiving the pavers or in getting sufficient help to install them as soon as they are available will likely result in a several week delay in completing the project.

The photos below tell the story.