Flatside Pinnacle Mountain Wilderness Area

North Fork Flatside Pinnacle Mountain Summit 360
Flatside Pinnacle Mountain Wilderness Area Summit 360 Degree View
Flatside Pinnacle Wilderness Area
--Updated Oct 2009--
This 9.507-acre area, 30 miles west of Little Rock, Arkansas, derives its name from Flatside Pinnacle. A 1,550-foot high rock outcrop outside its north-east boundary. Dominating the skyline of this wilderness is White Oak Mountain, the highest point at 1,650 feet above sea level and Forked Mountain at 1,350 feet. From outside vistas, rough terrain and the mixed pine-hardwood forest canopy appear inviting for enjoying the solitude of the area. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail traverses this area 10 miles east to west from Flatside Pinnacle to White Oak Mountain.

In General
There are numerous entry points to the forest. The most popular is where the Ouachita Trail enters the wilderness at Flatside Pinnacle, but parking is limited. Access is better off of Winona Forest Drive on the south side. There are numerous old logging roads. Wildlife include deer, turkey, bear, coyotes and other small animals. The edges are frequented by hunters during the spring turkey and fall deer hunting seasons.

From the junction of State Hwy. 9 and 60 at Perryville, go south 13.6 miles on State Hwy. 9, then right (west) on Forest Road 132 for 8.3 miles, turn right (north) on Forest Road 94 for 3 miles to Flatside Pinnacle. Source: GORP I do not recommend entering the park from Hwy 7 on either Forrest Road 132 or Winona Drive (FR2), road conditions 10 miles inward from Hwy 7 as of August-2009 are extremely poor.

Auto Tour
Here is the best map I could locate for the Lake Sylvia - Lake Winona - Flatside Wilderness Area, it is from the U.S. Forrest Service. Looking Southwest From Flatside Pinnacle 1024 x 683 The turn from highway 9 to Forrest Road 132 is marked with a tiny sign which says Auto Tour. Be warned. This is a very primitive dirt road. I would NOT take a passenger car down this route. The parking area for the North Fork Pinnacle is merely a tiny bulldozed area to the right (traveling west) of the dirt road. Blink and you will miss it. This trail to the North Fork Summit is about 1/3 mile and can be traversed by foot or ATV and is very steep. Once at the top you will be greeted with a full 360 degree vista. Foundation footings for the old fire tower are still in place. The entire wilderness area is spotted with primitive campsites. Usage is free. A few miles down the road, as mentioned above is the parking for the Flatside Pinnacle, parking here is a little more robust. The summit can be reached by foot only on a less than 1/2 mile well maintained steep trail. The view is really outstanding from the summit providing a superb view to the southeast panning to the southwest. From Flatside Pinnacle Parking area you can backtrack to FR132 and turn right. Crystal Vista Overlook Sunrise 1024 x 683 Roughly 6 miles down FR132 you will see a sign at a wide spot in the road which says Crystal Vista to the left. This road to the top is very washed out but I was able to make it to the top in my pickup, however, according to some of the park literature no ATV or vehicles are allowed on the trail to Crystal Vista, as of August 2009. NO signage was apparent at the road base indicating no camping or no vehicles. At the top there is an area large enough to accommodate 2 parties. The vista overlooks Lake Winona valley looking towards the southeast, offering a beautiful sunrise opportunity.

After logging about 100 miles of the dirt roads in the Flatside Wilderness area I can give you a few tips. The road, from about Forked Mountain to Highway 7 on FR132, roughly 12 miles, is in very poor condition. In my 86 Chevy 1 ton most of this stretch was 15 mph or under.Winona Drive Smooth Section 640 x 427 Winona Drive FR2, between highway 7 and FR135, about 13 miles, is absolutely the worst road I have ever traveled bar none. On some of the roughest sections, 24 foot pieces of culvert were placed to the side. Hopefully improvements are forthcoming. Literally mile long stretches of this road were under 5 miles per hour. FR135 travels north south and connects the Flatside 132 with Winona Drive FR2 and bypasses some of the worst sections. These road conditions were recorded late Summer 2009.

Twilight Zone
Lake Winona, what a surprise. After traveling 23 miles on FR132, then being rattled to death on 20 miles of Winona drive FR2, I was thinking to myself what a mistake. Then I made the turn into Lake Winona HQ. This facility is an absolute time capsule.
I arrived on a Sunday morning about 10:00 a.m. and the entire lake and park was deserted. Built in 1935-1937 by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Looking West over Lake Winona 1024 x 409 it ramians virtually unchanged. The architecture is made from local Flagstone. The spillway is unchanged with the original walkway over it to another picnic area. The complex is part of the original Little Rock Water Works. The road to Lake Winona is paved from Highway 9 virtually all the way to the park entrance. I highly recommend stopping here. The historical value of this place is priceless.

Two Lakes
Flatside Pinnacle Wilderness Area was created in 1984 giving it special protections and is part of the larger Winona Wildlife Management Unit in the Ouachita National Forrest, the countries oldest National Forrest. Two lakes can be found here. Lake Winona (the bigger of the two) and Lake Sylvia. Lake Sylvia Rec Area day use is $3 per vehicle. Swimming, fresh water, camping and showers can be found here.

Rugged Hiking
The 10 mile section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail traverses the Flatside Pinnacle Wilderness Area. This section of trail is rated a 3 to 4 in difficulty by most hikers and is very steep and rugged. Several creeks cross this trail and this section is probably the most remote wilderness you will find in Arkansas. There are 2 shelters along this 10 mile hike, Oak Mountain Shelter and Brown Creek Shelter. The trail is maintained by Ouachita Mountain Hikers.

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1 Comment

maleta: on 03/24/10

thank you very much for the post

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