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Horsethief Springs Trail

Average Rating:    (3.5 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 2

If you think you can ride, I mean really RIDE, then you need to try riding here. This place will humiliate you! Seriously, this trail is a blast. Very technical, huge rocks line the trail in most sections. Going up the "hill" is alot harder than the return trip. Plan on hiking your bike as well as riding. The last part of the trail up the hill is practically unridable in the uphill direction, with many large rocks to thwart your progress. I had to hike most of the last uphill section. The ride back down to the lake is a BLAST! You can ride most of the way back down to the lake. Hope you have a good front shock, or better yet a full suspension bike. Bring a camera, the view from the outlook at the spring is awesome. you can fill your bottle from the spring, but be careful not to jostle the pipe, if you do, YUCK! Follow the blazes marked along the trail to stay on the correct path. Do not ride onto the Ouachita TRail, it is HIKERS only. The trail is fairly easy to follow. The trailhead has a map stand and a sign in section, but the maps were empty and the sign in slot was home to a new bird nest complete with a nasty bird. 1050 foot climb from the lake to the Spring. Equestrians may also be on this path (those poor horses!) so be alert. Rescue index: Very Low. If you are out here alone, like I was, make sure you tell someone where you are going and if you don't check in with them by a certain time tell them to call the rangers. Many chances to get hurt. This is a very remote area once you leave the campground. Cell phones will not work here. No bike shops in any nearby towns for repairs. Go prepared! Bring lots of water or a water filter/pump. Bring plenty of food. Wear full finger gloves. I picked up a few spiders on my ride. For some reason they love to string webs across the trail. Maybe they know how tasty mountain bikers are? Full gloves let you not worry about getting bitten as you frantically flick them from your face ;) There are bears in the area, make noise when you ride. I would not recommend this trail after a rain, all the rocks would be very slick.
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Trail Directions
From Heavener, go south on US 59/270 about 5 mles. Next you'll see Holson Valley Road (OK 1005) Go west on Holson. After a few miles you will see signs for Cedar Lake and County Road 7269. Turn right (north) and proceed to the picnic pavilion. Don't forget to pay your day-use fee. The trailhead for Cedar Lake and Old Pine Trails is also the trail head for Horsethief Springs.
Trail Length
7 miles one way
Trail Level
Trail Type

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

Review Date
September 24, 2002

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Kevin Cawthon , from Plano, TX

My buddies and I were probably the first mountain bikers to ride here and at Cedar Lake. The rangers were baffled by us riding bikes on it but knew we spent every spring break there while going to OSU. We trucked up the mountain from Cedar hauling the bikes using dirt road 6014 then went west a couple of miles to Horse Thief Springs. I have ridden up the mountain many times but would not recomend it unless you are training for something big. Back to the ride. First time was in 1986. Mountain bikes then were not built like now and the trail broke derailers, seats, seat post, forks and bent rims. My stumpy has had many battles there. I carried it 6 miles after my derailer bit the dust the first time I rode it. The first mile west from Horse Theif is wickedly hard. Last time I was there, my wife and I had to turn back because an ice storm had knocked so many trees down it was impassable. I reccoment you go about a mile west on highway 1 and catch the trail there. Back before the horses and other riders started going, this trail was one big rock. You would cause avelanches as you road. Most of the loose rocks have been knocked out of the way now. The mountain bikes helped the trail a lot. If you see a well ridden trail, the bikes leave a nice path. They opened a horse camp and those big ass things tear the hell out of a trail. Unfortunately some thing the mountain bikes do also. A horse lover friend of mine finally admitted the horsed screw them up after seeing the results around Cedar. The trail is mostly down hill. I have made it back to cedar in 45 minutes but you have to be an animal to do this and it has to be very dry so the winter leaves falling are like sandpaper for traction. If you want a ride like this trail was in 1986 then go take the Quachita trail South over the other side of the mountain about 6 miles west of Horse Thief, drop off there in a car then have them pick you up about 7 miles (bike miles/road miles may be 15 or more)South West on (I think) highway 259. The ride starts straight up longer than you want but the switchbacks on the down side are increddible. You then cross a fairly wicked little mountain, go though a place where hunters always camp (They are shocked and not happy to see you) then there is a long fast gentle down hill that is supprisingly smooth with a lethal drop off to your left side. You finally end up at a creek which is fun to cross when it is raining a lot. My friend told me after he rode it the first time, "I liked it, it was really hard and kinda makes you feel good". This ride is the Quachita trail the whole way. I have ridding Old Military Road and another big trail off the top and only like the one I just told you about and Horse Thief. The 3.5 mile ride around Cedar is great. We used to have a time trial around it every year. 21 minutes is the record but I rode it in about 18 a few years later when I lived in Fort Smith and went down there all the time and rode. Remember, You have to get bad to be bad!

Recommended Route:
Horse Thief Springs to Ceadar Lake

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Review Date
July 2, 2001

Overall Rating
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Fred , from Sherman,TX

It is indeed a very rocky trail. Buried rocks sticking out of the ground along with plenty of melon size loose rocks strewn about. The trail cuts through many gulley washes which are pure rocks. The numerous roots are the easy stuff! Going up was pretty much unrideable for me, I pushed most all of the way. Coming down was challenging too, even with a full suspension bike. If the loose rocks where swept off, it could an awesome trail, at least in my opinion. If you can ride steep, thrashing, loose rock stuff this is your trail.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Womble, Earthquake Ridge

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)