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Billy Creek Recreation Area / Choctaw Nation Trail

Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
554
Location
Longview, TX
#1
Having been to Mena, Byrd's, Hot Springs, and Mt. Magazine a few times on dirt bikes we felt like we had a good sense of the riding in the Ouachita National Forest and surrounding areas. Now we'll add Billy Creek Recreation Area and the Choctaw Nation Trail to the list. What great riding!

The last Friday in October we left East Texas and pointed our truck north on 259. Passing though Dangerfield, Broken Bow, and Big Cedar we made our way off the pavement towards Billy Creek Campground.

Billy Creek is ~3 miles north of Hwy 63 in Eastern Oklahoma. It took us about 3.5 hours from Longview.

There are a few Y's to navigate once leaving the pavement, but they're well signed. However the signs are small, so it took us a few minutes in the fading light.

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The campground has 12 sites although several are large enough to support multiple rigs and trailers. There are 2 water spigots, 2 pit toilets, and the first site has an electrical connection. Not sure if it's 15, 30, or 50A as it was occupied by a group of ATV riders with 4 trailers. There is lots of space though. Each site also has a fire pit, picnic table, and lantern holder. The camp signs and tables need a little paint, but everything was in good structural shape. Detailed info from the National Forest here.



Main road through the campground.

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This place has ALL the amenities!

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Water on site with a few camping spots in the background.

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We found a spot for our trailer and the campground was about half-full on Friday evening at 7pm.

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Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,163
Location
Arlington
#2
Nice campground. I've been by it but never stopped to check it out. I used to occasionally camp at the Winding Stair NF campground, right at the top of the Talimena Scenic Highway. Unfortunately, the well ran dry &, if you're on a bike with no car support, not having a water source nearby is really inconvenient.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
554
Location
Longview, TX
#3
To access the trails head North out of the back of the campground. It dumps onto a graded dirt road (great DS territory) and after ~3/4 of a mile this trail entrance is on the West side of the road.

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That's the nearest entrance to the CNT. We continued down the road a bit to hook up with the Billy Creek Trail.

Heather is still getting comfortable on her FreeRide, so we spent Saturday on the Billy Creek Trail which is slightly to the North and East of the campground. It's about a 10 mile loop with lots of rocks and creek crossings.

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The trail connects to the non-OHV friendly Ouachita Trail, so watch out for hikers. We came across a couple of groups. All were very friendly.


Well signed. That's the rocky trail to the right.

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Short video starting from photo above. Just click on the picture:

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Another stream crossing on this loop. Probably 18-24" deep!

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Lots of the trail looks like this.

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Signs are mostly intact:

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Nearing the end of the Billy Creek Trail loop we came down this section while these two were trying to work their way up it. We ran the loop clock-wise and were glad not to have to climb this!

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Back at camp we showered, enjoyed a beer on the trailer-ramp-patio, and eventually made some dinner while the bikes hungrily looked on. It was stroganoff, broccoli, and biscuits. Yum. :eat:

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Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
554
Location
Longview, TX
#4
On Sunday we got up and got the coffee pot going and made our plans to tackle part of the CNT after the warm-up on the Billy Creek Trail.

We started with egg-whites, spinach, peppers, and green onions with Nan bread warmed in foil. Add butter and I'm a happy camper.

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Oh yeah, we're here to ride, right?

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The CNT signs are present in multiple forms: orange ATV sign, CNT sign, yellow blaze, blue or red ribbon tied in the the tree, etc. Keep your eyes peeled and the trail is pretty easy to follow. I downloaded some tracks to Avenza, so that kept me on the right path as well.


Signs for the Choctaw Nation Trail (CNT)

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Crossing Billy Creek at the start of this portion of the trail...

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On the trail

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CNT has lots of fun step-ups and other obstacles like this that are a blast on little bikes like ours, but might give you pause on an AT or GS.

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Single-lane bridge on one of the forest roads.

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Didn't take as many pictures on Sunday as we kept moving and only road for 2 hours. We packed up camp by noon and headed back to TX.

We'll definitely be back. This area is criss-crossed with legal ATV trails and a bit of single-track as well, the Boardstand trail. We'll hit that next time.

Shoot me a note if you have any questions or want to tag along with us on the next trip or if you're going and want an extra rider. I can sneak away more often than Heather! :rider:
 

misterk

Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
859
Location
Colleyville
#7
Great pics, thanks. I don’t think my AT will be see g those trails. But...,my AT and hammock will visit that campground:}


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
554
Location
Longview, TX
#11
Doesn't look like a plated bike was needed?
Nope. Check out the Oklahoma MVUM to see that all these roads are ATV friendly and the ATV trails are (for the most part) clearly marked with orange ATV symbols or CNT signs. :rider:


What is Avenza and where did you find the tracks to download?
Avenza is an app that you can download to your phone that uses the phone's gps to place you (as a little blue dot) on maps. Almost all the MVUM's are available for free and you can buy all the trails illustrated, nat geo, hunting, or other recreation maps for a fee. I've used it with the MVUM's so far and havne't spent a penny.


where did you find the tracks to download
There was a good ride report on advrider (linked here) of a few guys who rode the CNT on WR250's back in '09. I pm'd the post author and he sent me his tracks. I also downloaded half of them from this mountain biking site. It's a little tricky to get a .gpx file into avenza on your phone, but google has lots of help.

I haven't posted updated tracks on dualsportdispatch with our ride report because we didn't ride the whole thing and I don't like posting data that I haven't verified. More to explore!!;-)
 
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Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,297
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
#12
Very nice! Billy ck has been on my list for way too long. Done the cnt several times. There's some other interesting stuff close by that'll slow you down. Let me know next time y'all head that way. I'll join you if possible.
 
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