Beech Creek National Scenic Area
|Beech Creek National Scenic Area|
|Location||Le Flore County, Oklahoma, USA|
|Nearest city||Heavener, Oklahoma|
|Area||7,500 acres (30 km2)|
|Established||1988, expanded and designated National Scenic Area 2007|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
Beech Creek National Scenic Area is a federally designated National Scenic Area within Ouachita National Forest near It is 6 miles (9.7 km) east and 5 miles (8.0 km)south of the unincorporated community of Big Cedar in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, USA. The 7,500-acre (30 km2) scenic area is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The scenic area includes 32 miles (51 km) of hiking trails, some on former roads. The original designated area, the Beech Creek Botanical Area, remains, conserving mature beech trees near the headwaters of Beech Creek.
The National Scenic Area was established by Public Law 100-499, known as the "Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area and Wilderness Area Act", designating about 400 acres (160 ha) as the Beech Creek Botanical Area in 1988, and was expanded and designated Beech Creek National Scenic Area in 2007.
The trail system totals about 32 miles (51 km), with several different sections and varying degrees of difficulty for hikers:
The U. S. Forest Service rates the trails as follows:
- Beech Creek Trail generally follows Beech Creek, sometimes at the edge and sometimes farther away. It is considered an easy trail for 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the end of Forest Road K68A to the area known as the "Cascades".
- Turkey Snout Loop follows a small tributary of Beech Creek, over relatively rugged terrain. It is not recommended for inexperienced backpackers.
- Walnut Mountain Loop is suitable for experienced backpackers.
- Blue Bouncer Loop is the most difficult hike and is recommended for experienced backpackers.
There are no restrooms along the trails nor are there any campsites. Campsites exist at Billy Creek and at Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area. Motorized vehicles and either pack or saddle animals are prohibited on the trails. Mountain bikes are not prohibited, but may be difficult to use, because the trails are very narrow. Roads are all covered with gravel
- "Beech Creek National Scenic Area & Botanical Area". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- "Public Law 100-499" (PDF). October 18, 1988. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- "Beech Creek National Scenic Area" (PDF). Government Printing Office. p. 207. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- "Ouachita National Forest." Retrieved September 14, 2014.
- "Beech Creek Trail System - Ouachita National Forest." U. S. Forest Service. TR-33. September 2008. Accessed November 28, 2016.
- Beech Creek National Scenic Area & Botanical Area at Ouachita National Forest