I don’t know how these things happen – in all the years that I’ve been dual sport riding I have never actually ridden the K Trail.  I can’t even claim that I didn’t know about it.  I’ve read the ride reports and seen the pictures.  But, for unknown reason, never actually got around to riding it.  Well, on Memorial Day weekend 2013 I decided it was time to right that wrong.

I recruited some buddies and we spent 2 days riding the K Trail and the Ouachita Mountains of southeast Oklahoma and southwest Arkansas.  It was quite the experience and we had a great time except for discovering the Road to Certain Death, which claimed one of our group.  This is our story.

Let’s start with introductions.

JT – fast, mechanically inclined, never met a trail he didn’t want to explore


Taylor – the young lion, riding fast on a KTM 640 Adventure, supplier of Coors Lite beer


Smiley – always chompin’ at the bit to ride more & stop less, laughs at class 4.  We let the air out of his tires just to try and slow him down.


Iceman Jack – pretends to be an old man but he rides like a wildman, drinks like a fish, and charms the ladies like a young man


Milton – world’s foremost adventure dentist, smart, seasoned, and has the heart of a true adventure rider


Me (on the left) – slowest guy in the group, panics at the sight of class 4, they only let me tag along because I tell a few jokes

The Cliff Notes Guide to the K Trail

The Kiamichi Mountains are a mountain range in southeast Oklahoma and are a subrange of the Ouachita Mountains that extend from Oklahoma into southwest Arkansas. The K Trail runs along the spine of the Kiamichi Mountains, from Clayton, OK to Mena, AR. Technically, the entire 90 mile distance is not the K Trail – the western end is the Clayton Trail and the eastern end is National Forest (NF) road 6025. But, everyone just calls it the K trail, which is what we will do too.

The K Trail is 2-track or forest service road for its entire length; there are no single track areas. The entire trail is rocky but the western end, in particular, is quite rugged, with numerous washed-out, rutted areas.

Riding west-to-east, the first 12-15 miles are mostly class 2, with numerous class 3 sections, and one class 4 section. This section appears to be non-maintained. Road conditions improve noticeably as you ride east, eventually becoming class 1 the last 30 miles or so.

Vegetation is not being cut back along most of the trail so there are lots of branches and plants intruding into the trail. A good set of bark busters will be appreciated.

To access the trail, start at the intersection of Hwy 271 and 9 Pine Road, a few miles south of Clayton, OK. Ride north on 9 Pine Road for about 2.5 miles and you are there. This part of the trail is actually the Clayton Trail and intersects with the K Trail a few miles to the east.

Here’s what the western terminus of the trail looks like. It’s sort of like Jurassic Park – at first it looks easy and fun but then shortly there’s terror and screaming.

Day 0 – driving to Clayton

We began our journey by trailering to the Clayton Country Inn, a 9 room bed-and-breakfast about a mile south of Clayton.  It was a rustic place in a rustic country.  Clean but not fancy.  I would stay here again.

I would note, however, the limited “breakfast” choices.  We had muffins (freshly baked and very good) and a small selection of cold cereal, milk, juice, and coffee.  The cook was nice enough to make some toast for us on request.  If you like a more substantial breakfast, or want more choices, then plan on eating at a restaurant in town (I think there are 2 restaurants in Clayton but am not completely sure).

On the other hand I think they serve a full supper meal (at an additional cost) though I was never here early enough any evening to find out for sure.

Next:  Day 1 – Time to Ride


The Road to Certain Death – a K Trail Tale — 1 Comment

  1. I have a guest house in Clayton. Sleeps 6. Recently remodeled. Check out pictures
    On Facebook Thunder Oaks guest house. 580 326 1775

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