Review this material before you head to the woods to work on the Ouachita trail. Here you will find information on how to maintain your section of the Ouachita trail; tools, tread, blazing, switchbacks, water control and more. It does not matter if you are a beginner or an old hand this information will keep the trail looking good from Talimena State park to Pinnacle State Park and all points in between. So take a look.

The information here consists of PDF documents containing information specific to the Ouachita Trail as well as videos produced by the USDA/National Forest Service, containing general trail maintenance information. Note that the OT blazing policy differs from that shown in the videos – refer to the ‘How to blaze’ document below for OT-specific blazing instructions.


FoOT Maintenance Guide is our guide for FoOT trail maintainers, describes our guidelines and standards for the Ouachita Trail corridor and tread. This should give our maintainers a good idea about how the OT corridor should be cleared and the tread maintained.

How to Blaze explains everything you need to know about how to blaze your section of Ouachita Trail.

How to Replace Signposts is another FoOT guide for appropriate signage on the trail.

Tool Suggestions contains ideas and suggestions for performing trail maintenance.

A Guide for the Care and Maintenance of Shelters is available for those who have adopted shelters.

FoOT Placard can be printed and displayed in your vehicle while out maintaining.


Basic Trail Maintenance: Gives you a great overview of how to work in the national forest. Note: specific information on blazing is different for the Ouachita Trail, see how to blaze information sheet. (27 minutes)

Constructing Trail Switchbacks: If you have an area that is just too steep, review this information on how to reduce the slope of the trail. (28 minutes)

Trails in Wet Areas: Turnpike and Puncheon Construction: Tired of dealing with mud and multiple trails? A Puncheon or a Turnpike might be the answer. They are not hard to construct and very effective. (27 minutes)

Surface Water Control Techniques for Trail Maintenance: Who does not have areas where the trail washes out and all is left is rock! Surface water can be managed and the trail can be great. (23 minutes)

Hand Tools for Trail Work Part 1 (26 min) and Part 2 (25 min): What’s are Rough Hoe? Did you say pick/mattock? How do you use a McCloud? And why can’t we use weed eaters in the wilderness area? This section will give you the answers to all your tool questions.

Information about the Trail Training DVD Series: These films are from the USDA National Forest Service. They are licensed under a Creative Commons license: CC0 1.0 Universal, which means “no copyright”. The DVD set can be ordered by calling MTDC at (406)–329–3978 or by sending an e-mail request for DVD numbers 0823–2D01 and 0823-2D02 to CLICK HERE for more information.