Eagle Rock Loop
By: Haley Cottey
Last year we backpacked Eagle Rock Loop a few times in the Ouachita National Forest and loved learning about this adventure gem that is just 4 hours from DFW.
Eagle Rock Loop is a great option for a weekend backpacking trip within driving distance of DFW for the seasoned and beginner backpacker alike. At just 4 hours from Dallas, this highly trafficked loop features beautiful views, water falls, plenty of swimming areas, challenging hikes that will leave you feeling empowered and plenty of established campsites near the river with fire rings so you relax and enjoy the evening.
The trail is just shy of 27 miles and usually takes 3 days, 2 nights to complete with a full pack. It is physically demanding and one section has 6 pretty gnarly climbs so be sure to focus on your fitness before tackling this trail.
Many people start between 11am-2pm the first day and get back to their car about 11am-2pm the 3rd day.
You can also start early on your first day and finish in 2 days 1 night like we did but our feet were a bit angry at us for that. When we do it again, we will likely take our time, enjoy some swimming holes more and stretch it to 3 days.
There are also many trail heads so you can bail at anytime if you can find or flag down a ride back to your car. There are tons of places to start on this trail so don't get overwhelmed if it is your first try. It seems the most common option is to start with the ridges to get the hard part done first and go counter clockwise. This means your 3rd day will be pretty and easy. However, we started north of Albert Pike and went clockwise which put the ridges on our second day. Here is the guide we wrote from our experience with more details about the trail, the food and packing list we used and more.