|Area||9,507 acres (3,847 ha)|
|Created||October 19, 1984|
The Flatside Wilderness is a rugged 9,507 acre section of the eastern Ouachita National Forest in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Visitors can enjoy the area in a number of ways including by foot on a 10.5 mile section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
The Flatside Wilderness was designated by passage of "The Arkansas Wilderness Act of 1984", Public Law 98-508, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan on October 19, 1984. Senator Dale Bumpers (D-AR) sponsored the Act in the United States Senate, which was co-sponsored by Senator David Pryor (D-AR) and Senator John Tower (R-TX). Earlier versions of the bill called "The Arkansas Wilderness Act of 1983" had been sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Ed Bethune (R-AR) and Representative Beryl Anthony (D-AR).
The Flatside Wilderness is a remote area that features a number of points over 1,000 ft in elevation and prominence. The highest point is the dominating White Oak Mountain (1,792 ft) on its southwest boundary. Others include Crystal Mountain (1,732 ft), Flatside Pinnacle (1,526 ft), North Fork Pinnacle (1,516 ft) and Forked Mountain (1,108 ft), which can all be accessed by adjacent county roads. These rocky outcroppings rise high above the canopy of coniferous and deciduous trees giving outdoor enthusiasts a spectacular view of the Ouachita Mountains for miles in every direction. Mount Magazine can even be seen far to the west on days with little humidity, particularly in the fall and winter. Several small creeks flow through the area; the dominant creek is Crystal Prong on the eastern edge of the area, which flows into its more west to east flowing partner Cedar Creek. The Little Cedar Creek flows east to west along the eastern edge of Forked Mountain and eventually empties into Cedar Creek just before its confluence with the South Fourche La Fave River.
The Flatside Wilderness is situated on the southeastern border of Perry County and the northwestern border of Saline County and is located less than 20 miles (32 km) from Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. The area is bound by Highway 9 on its eastern edge and Highway 7 on its western edge.
Sites of Interest
- Crystal Mountain
- Flatside Pinnacle
- Lake Sylvia
- Lake Winona
Camping is allowed in most parts of the Flatside Wilderness Area and offers a remote outdoor experience. Although there are no designated camping sites, there are various clearings along the network of county roads, most of them including a fire pit.
All county roads mentioned in the directions below are unpaved (mostly dirt).
From Williams Junction, head north on Highway 9/Highway 10 for 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and turn left onto Highway 324. Drive for 1.7 miles (2.7 km) and turn right onto County Road 55, also known as Browns Creek Road. Drive for 7.9 miles (12.7 km) and turn left on County Road 53. Continue on County Road 53 for 0.4 miles (0.64 km) until you see parking on the right. The summit of Flatside Pinnacle can be accessed via a short segment of the Ouachita Trail.
From Williams Junction, head north on Highway 9/Highway 10 for 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and turn left onto Highway 324. Drive for 4.5 miles (7.2 km) until you see parking on the left. Lake Sylvia is closed to swimmers from Labor Day to Memorial Day.