Is anyone else looking for a way to escape? A quiet place to get away from social media and social pressure and the daily grind of work, politics, worry, and stress? Is the slight chill already in the air making you nostalgic for a way to connect to the best parts of the Natural State? That’s how I’m feeling lately, and I’ve found a way to cure our modern age blues. We need to drive way out into the sticks. We need to get in our cars and go out in the deep woods, into the boonies, and enjoy the man-made and natural wonders of the Natural State.
1. Oark General Store
Established in 1890, Oark General Store is a historical place every Arkansan needs to visit at least once. The thing that kept the Oark General Store in business all this time, though, is also the thing keeping people away from it. You see, Oark is a fairly secluded place. The Oark General Store is now a café that serves mouthwateringly delicious diner fare, and the burgers alone are enough excuse to venture out into the wilds of secluded rural Arkansas.
2. White Rock Mountain
White Rock Mountain isn’t really near a highly populated area, and you’ll really feel like you’re driving out into the sticks on your way there. Once you arrive you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time, too, as the three stone cabins on the mountain were built in the 1930s. In short, White Rock Mountain is secluded, out in the boonies, and may in fact be part of a disturbance in the space/time continuum.
3. Black Fork Mountain Wilderness
Arkansas shares this sprawling wilderness with Oklahoma, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re into seclusion and mountainous landscapes, you won’t find a better place to get away from it all. It may up your state pride a bit to know the maintained six mile one way trail is on the Arkansas side of the wilderness. Seclusion reigns in that part of the Ouachitas, and you won’t want to miss it.
4. Devil’s Den State Park
The winding path that leads to Devil’s Den lets you forget you’re near one of the most populated regions in the Natural State. What you’ll never forget when you get to the park, though, is the pure unadulterated beauty of the Natural State. This park is unmatched for its dreamy trails, overlooks, caves, and waterfalls.
5. Richland Creek Wilderness Area
This place has been repeatedly called a “waterfall paradise,” and rightly so. The place is overflowing with some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Natural State. When it comes to rustic, this place is unmatched, but those falls are more than worth it.
6. Arkansas Grand Prairie
The Arkansas Grand Prairie was once a natural feature of the delta region, but most of it is gone due to agricultural development for Arkansas’s thriving and much needed agricultural industry. There are still wide expanses where you can see the glory of a true prairie land, and the expansive sky there is well worth the drive.
7. Louisiana Purchase State Park
Unless you’re from the surrounding area, really into bird watching, or a huge fan of history, you might not know about the town of Brinkley. You definitely need to get in your car and go there after the first frost kills off the mosquitoes. Hiding in a swamp there, you’ll find a historical marker that is as historically important as any other landmark in Arkansas.
8. Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge
This wildlife refuge is more remote than remote. This isn’t some small little wilderness, either. It’s nearly 65,000 acres of pure wilderness. These wetlands are home to some truly amazing waterfowl, and all of those acres are brimming with incredible wildlife.
9. Alum Cove National Recreation Trail
Part of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, at Alum Cove you’ll find a spectacular natural bridge that is unlike anything else. This natural formation is truly stunning, and it’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life in the modern age.
10. Caney Creek Wilderness
The southern edge of the Ouachita Forest holds another gem of a rustic landscape. Caney Creek Wilderness has a gorgeous creek in a state full of gorgeous creeks. The natural formations and pretty forested land will make you feel a million miles away from it all, and that’s what makes it so worth the drive it takes to get there.
11. Whitaker Point Trail
There’s no better way to feel connected to the land and separate from your digital life than hiking out to one of the most scenic spots anywhere, where you can gaze off a natural rock formation unlike any other place in the world. Whitaker Point, or Hawksbill Crag, as it is sometimes called, is the perfect place to do just that.
12. Hurricane Creek Wilderness
Meandering through the Boston Mountains you’ll find Hurricane Creek. This tumbling creek is the very heart of the Hurricane Creek Wilderness, and that wilderness is wild indeed. You’ll feel like you never knew what a road looks like, and let yourself fade into the forest all around. The beauty alone is definitely worth the drive.