The United States Congress designated the Upper Kiamichi River Wilderness (map
) in 1988 and it now has a total of 9,754 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Oklahoma
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Long ridges called Pine Mountain and Rich Mountain, with a high point of approximately 2,600 feet, shelter this Wilderness. Kiamichi is derived from the French word for "waterbird." You'll find groves of beech along the Kiamichi's headwaters, giving way to a dense forest of pine and hardwoods. The ridges are steep and the valleys below are relatively flat but narrow. In several places the ridges are broken by rock flows or "glaciers." Several creeks drain the area, often creating miniature and picturesque waterfalls.
On the northern boundary runs the Talimena Scenic Byway (Oklahoma Highway 1) with over looks of the area. The Arkansas state line forms the eastern boundary. The western boundary lies along the Kiamichi Electric powerline, and the southwestern boundary begins at a parking lot on Pashubbe Creek where the Ouachita National Recreation Trail has a trailhead. Oklahoma holds a total of about 57 miles of the Ouachita Trail.
Stretching nearly 200 miles from Talihina, Oklahoma, to Little Rock, Arkansas, here the trail follows the Upper Kiamichi River all the way across the Wilderness to a second trailhead at Stateline Monument. The Ouachita is the only maintained trail in the area; it crosses through the river several times, so you should plan on getting your feet wet. The Wilderness may be accessed off State Highway 63 near the southern boundary, and there is a parking lot near the southeastern corner where Horsepen Creek flows out of the area.