Camp Harrison

Gotta love the Ouachita National Forest! Here’s another route that leaves from the Lake Sylvia Campground parking lot — just 45 minutes from Little Rock off Highway 9/10. It’s kind of a “greatest hits” route with varied terrain and a campsite that rivals “the perfect campsite.”

Harrison, one of the “bike shop guys,” and expert, handcrafted frame-bag artist, offered to expand our horizons by suggesting a new route. He had been to this campsite once before, “AKA Camp Harrison,” but traveled there by car. Thanks to Google Maps he was able to piece together a promising path for adventurous bikepackers. Unlike the other Sylvia rides listed on this site, this one explores the northern part of the Ouachita NF. Be warned that logging is more active in this area than on the other Sylvia routes.

Highlights include a number of hike-a-bike stream crossings, a nicely graded downhill about 15 miles in (bummer is that you have to go back up this hill on the way back), a serious mud-fest somewhere around mile 30 — fat bikers will love it — “normal” bikers might not, and a fun double-track finish. The crown jewel of the ride, of course, is the campsite itself. It’s perched right on the edge of a bluff overlooking a secluded section of the South Fourche la Fave River. There is a fire ring and plenty of space for camping.

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harrisonup

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10 Comments

  1. Great route. I’ve made Sylvia my personal training hub for the year. So many great rides and so easy to scale the distance and difficulty based on how much time you have. I’ve ridden rigid and my fatbike out here and enjoy both a ton.

    1. Author

      Agreed! Loving my fat bike out there these days. Great on the descents!

  2. Author

    Here are some shots from a recent Camp Harrison expedition. We took a little detour and forded the South Fourche La Fave River (twice!). Turns out a fat bike will float if you carry it the right way.

    crossing2

    crossing1

    harrisonshot

    haj

    1. Not only will a fat bike float if you carry it right, you can also use a fat bike as a raft. I can not swim and because of flooding we had to cross a section that was too deep for me to stand at 6’1″. So I laid the bike on it’s side and jumped on top of it. We did the Womble trail and looped around with part of the Ouachita trail.

      Here is a video-

  3. Hi Jason,
    Is there are Ride with GPS route page for this or other GPS download available?
    Thanks!
    David

    1. Author

      Hi David, the GPS track for “camp harrison” is downloadable on the bottom right of the map on the “camp harrison” post. I’ve emailed it to you as well. You can upload it to whatever device or app you’re comfortable using. Let me know if I haven’t answered your question. Happy riding!

  4. How many days were y’all out there and do you think an intermediate mountain biker could handle it?

    1. Author

      Hi Andrew. The Camp Harrison trip is a one-nighter. We’ll go mid afternoon and get into camp in time for dinner and then head out in the morning and be back to the car not too long after Noon. Beginner … intermediate … pro … the only thing that matters is having a sense of adventure!

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