Arkansas: Wolf Pen Gap Trail

Ouachita National Forest, Ark.

If great riding, fantastic views and down-home friendly atmosphere are what you are looking for, you need to give Wolf Pen Gap in Arkansas a ride.

When talking to riders who have ridden these trails, they all comment that this is some of the best ATV riding you will ever find. There are trails for everyone to ride, from beginner to experienced.

The difficulty of each trail is marked from easiest to ``most difficult.'' Don't take these warnings lightly. The most difficult trails mean what they say: sections will challenge the best of riders. Don’t ride over your abilities or those of your buddies, take your time, and think about what you are doing.

You may find a few trails marked closed. Don't attempt to ride these trails.

The area has many small crystal-clear rivers and streams, and numerous picturesque waterfalls. If you want to take some time out from riding, you can always wet a line and try some fishing.

There are also areas where groups stop and take a swim. Remember to always stay on the trails. That means no ATVs in the streams, and only cross streams at designated crossings.

To get there from Mena, take state Route 375 south for eight miles to the trailhead near CR 277. There are additional trailheads farther south on 375 and south on FR 38. All three separate trailheads offer parking and primitive camping.

Mena, the closest town, is only nine miles west of the trails. Here you will find just about everything you would need. If you need expert assistance or need to pick up something you left sitting on your work bench, there are two separate ATV dealerships here. Also, you will have a number of choices when it comes to groceries, fast food, or full-service restaurants.

You have several lodging options: Sugar Creek Lodge, (866) 394-7747, offers a wide selection of two-and-three-bedroom lodges. Rental ATVs are also available.

Wolf Pen ATV Campground, (479) 394-0404, also offers a number of lodges, camp cabins, and RV and tent sites. One of the best reasons to stay at Wolf Pen ATV Campground is that you can ride your ATV to the trails.

Another camping option is Camp Wolfcreek Springs, which offers cabins, RV sites and tent sites. Call (479) 234-1942 or visit the campground website. The owner is an ATVA member and an ATV safety instructor.

There are only a few Forest Service requirements and one is that your exhaust must have a spark arrestor. There isn't a sound limit for exhaust at this time, but don’t be surprised to see one in the future. Most stock exhausts meet current spark arrestor and future sound requirements.

Helmet use isn't required but we always strongly recommend helmet use by all riders. No passengers are allowed unless the ATV was specifically made to carry passengers.

Wolf Pen Gap trails are open year around but do close during gun deer season in the fall.

After you have spent a weekend exploring all the trails here, there are two other trail systems close by in the Ouachita National Forest. Fourche Mountain (formerly Mill Creek equestrian trail) and Sugar Creek Horse trail. No we aren’t setting you up — both of these trails allow ATVs.

For current information, contact the Mena Visitors Information and Ranger Station, 1603 Highway 71 N. Mena, AR 71953; or call (501) 394-2382; or visit the website.