7 National Parks in Arkansas

March 10, 2023

national parks in Arkansas

Arkansas is home to seven national parks that are perfect for your next getaway. These sites are ideal for travelers, historians, and nature enthusiasts alike.

From the site of Pea Ridge to the birthplace of Bill Clinton, these parks are a must for your next vacation! They offer a unique set of activities, attractions, and recreation.

1. Pea Ridge National Military Park

Perhaps the best-preserved Civil War battlefield in Arkansas, Pea Ridge National Military Park is a 4,300-acre national historic site located near the Missouri border. The park preserves the site of the Battle of Pea Ridge, fought March 7-8, 1862, which led to Union control of both northern Arkansas and Missouri.

The Battle of Pea Ridge was the result of a series of skirmishes between Confederate and Union forces in both Missouri and northwest Arkansas. It was a key turning point in the Civil War and ensured that Missouri would remain in the Union.

2. Bill Clinton Birthplace Home

President Bill Clinton, who became the 42nd President of the United States, grew up in a small town in southwestern Arkansas called Hope. His childhood home is now a National Historic Site and it is an amazing place to visit when traveling through the state.

The house, 117 South Hervey Street, was built in 1917 and is where Clinton spent his first four years of life. Here he learned the important lessons that would shape his future.

3. Buffalo National River

The Buffalo National River is the first national river in the United States and is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states. The river is a popular camping, fishing, hiking and canoeing destination.

The upper 246 km of the Buffalo River flows through the Ozark National Forest, while the lower 135 km is protected as a national park. The Buffalo National River is managed by the National Park Service and is situated in Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Baxter counties.

The Buffalo is a unique resource that characterizes the Ozark highland region. Its topography, soil and vegetation provide a mosaic of resources that span cultural traditions and historical periods.

4. Devil’s Den National Park

Devil’s Den is a great place to take a hike, swim and enjoy the outdoors. It has a lake and miles of hiking trails that are perfect for any outdoor lover.

The park is also famous for its mountain biking trails like Fossil Flats and the Monument Trail. It also hosts the Ozark Mountain Bike Festival every spring.

The park also features several sandstone crevice caves that are a popular destination for cavers. You can also go on a guided cave exploration hike.

5. Petit Jean State Park

Located in the heart of Arkansas, Petit Jean State Park is a natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers hiking trails, a beautiful lake for fishing and paddle boating, scenic waterfalls, and mountain views that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of nature.

If you’re a fan of camping, this park has a campground with RV sites as well as cabins and yurts. There are also two swimming pools, picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, a boat launch ramp, and an amphitheater.

6. Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Sitting atop Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak and located on the Talimena National Scenic Byway, Queen Wilhelmina State Park is home to a 40-room lodge that is the crowning attraction. It offers overnight guests an opportunity to enjoy panoramic scenery and royal hospitality.

The park also has a campground that features 35 semi-modern campsites with water and electric hookups. However, these sites fill up quickly on holiday weekends so it’s recommended to make a reservation ahead of time.

If you’re traveling with kids, there are several hiking trails that lead to stunning panoramic views. Additionally, there is a train ride around the park and the Wonder House, a seemingly two-story rock building that stretches nine levels of living space.

7. Ouachita National Forest

The Ouachita National Forest is the South’s oldest and largest federally owned land. It compromises 1.8 million acres in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Located in west-central Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma, the forest offers multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, scenic driving, trail riding, water recreation, and fishing.

The rugged mountains that make up the Ouachitas were formed by a collision of the South American and North American tectonic plates. This unique geological formation has created a variety of unique rock formations, which include anticlines and synclines.


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