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Eagle Rock Loop Challenge

About the ERL Challenge

The ERLC is a test of endurance as you complete the entire loop in one day.   Starting at 6 am - teams will navigate the loop attempting to finish the course in one day.   

The ERLC is comprised of four sections where participants will have the opportunity to "tap out."     

THE START  -  Missouri Falls Recreational Area to Athens-Big Fork 

This is a relatively flat section of the trail.  A good opportunity to warm up and eat up some miles.


Distance 3.8 Miles

THE SPINE  -  Athens-Big Fork 

This is the beast.  Six peaks over an eight-mile stretch.  You will be challenged by some serious elevation changes.

Distance 8.2 Miles  (Cummulative 12.0)

THE VALLEY -  Viles  Branch

Your reward for conquering the beast is a river section.  You will cross the Little Missouri River twice during this stretch with an opportunity for a swim at The Winding Staircase.  

Distance 6.2 Miles  (Cummulative 18.2)

THE LAST LEG  -  Missouri Falls Trail 

Albert Pike awaits as you enter the home stretch.  One last "double water crossing" and you will return to Missouri Falls.  

Distance 8.6 Miles  (Cummulative 26.8)

About Eagle Rock Loop The Eagle Rock Loop is the longest backpacking loop in Arkansas. This challenging route is very popular, with hikers generally taking 3 days to complete it. The loop is actually a combination of the Little Missouri Trail, Athens-Big Fork Trail and part of the Viles Branch Horse Trail. There are multiple access points for this loop. The mapped route on this page starts at the Winding Stairs Trailhead. You may do this loop either clockwise or counterclockwise. There is water almost the whole way, and ample camping. Note that there are many creek crossings with varying degrees of depth. Depending on recent rainfall, some crossings may be dangerous to cross. Know your limits, and wear appropriate footwear. The scenery is classic Arkansas wilderness, with lush vegetation, rivers, waterfalls, and rocky ridges.

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