Ouachita National Forest

Kingdoodle Knob

Kingdoodle Knob is a scenic vista overlooking a lush Ouachita National Forest landscape. White Oak Mountain, Bee Mountain, Petit Jean Mountain (not the one with the state Park!), and Sugar Creek form the landscape for the annual Waldron Breeding Bird Survey. The survey is a cooperative venture by the Forest Service (Poteau and Cold Springs Ranger Districts) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

This survey covers both upland and bottomland forests in western Arkansas. Habitats include young pine regeneration. Examples of birds there include chats, bobwhite quail, prairie warbler, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. Open mixed pine and hardwood forest include eastern wood-pewee, white-breasted nuthatch, and great crested flycatcher. Birds found in the riparian forest along Sugar Creek include Kentucky warbler, Acadian flycatcher, hooded warbler, and Louisiana waterthrush. The mature hardwood-dominated uplands of Petit Jean Mountain includes ovenbirds and scarlet tanagers. The road passes by Hogan Mountain walk-in turkey hunting area and the Dry Creek Wilderness. This is an area where there is an opportunity to find cerulean warbler along the northeast-facing slopes with a mature hardwood canopy. Black bears are sometimes seen along this road.

The BBS actual survey route begins on Forest service road 20, just off US 71 north of Waldron (Point A). Just past Round Mountain, take road FS 178 through Sugar Creek bottoms (B). Just beyond the bottoms take FS 51 that climbs Petit Jean Mountain toward Kingdoodle Knob (C) and Dry Creek Wilderness (D).

Much of this road system is completely accessible by vehicles with adequate clearance, but the road up Petit Jean Mountain can be tricky, especially in wet weather. The road that separates Hogan Mountain from Dry Creek Wilderness (FS 51) passes through hardwood and mixed forest. Heading north on FS 51 toward Booneville (E), the road leaves the National Forest, entering private lands with small farms--painted bunting, lark sparrow, blue grosbeak, and roadrunner occurs in this area.

A big day round trip would involve starting at Waldron, taking the survey route (A-D), then heading north to Booneville (E). Highway 23 and 71 completes the loop back to Waldron.