The Caddo-Womble Ranger District consists of approximately 310,000 acres located in the Ouachita Mountains. The district has very diverse natural resource and recreational programs. Annually, there are timber sales of 18 to 20 MMBF (million board feet), prescribed burns of 25,000 – 30,000 acres, diverse wildlife and fisheries programs, and a unique quartz minerals program. The district office is located in Mount Ida, a small rural community of 900 people surrounded by national forest, Corps of Engineers managed lands, and Lake Ouachita. Lake Ouachita, at 40,000 acres, is one of the largest, cleanest, and most beautiful lakes in the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service. Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and water sports such as swimming, scuba diving, and boating attract people from all over the south and midwest to the district.
Jessieville Visitor Information and Ranger Station is located 20 miles north of Hot Springs on Scenic 7 Byway. The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays year round, except on federal holidays.
The information station is staffed by volunteers and Forest Service personnel, ready to assist with your information needs. They have an extensive supply of brochures and handouts on recreation opportunities in the forest as well as in the Hot Springs area. Nature study guides and other education materials can also be purchased.
While at the visitor center, pick up a copy of the Buffalo Gap Auto Tour, the Winona Auto Tour, or both. Either is a great introduction to the beauty, folklore and history of the Ouachita National Forest.
Be sure to visit the Friendship Trail, located behind the Ranger Station. This short 30-minute hike meanders through a mature pine and hardwood forest, is paved and accessible, and features a pond, picnic area, interpretive signs, pavilion and restrooms.