Arkansas December 31, 2017
These 8 Arkansas Trails Lead To Some Incredible Pieces Of History
There’s no question that Arkansas is brimming with history. From Native Americans to Civil War battle sites, the state has something for everyone. No matter if you’re a history buff or just enjoy a good story, we’ve found the trails that lead to some incredible pieces of history.
1. Trail of Tears National Scenic Trail — Fort Smith
Besides being a significant stop for the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, Fort Smith is also an end point for the Trail of Tears. This is where Native Americans would gather supplies before forging homes in Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears Overlook can be viewed from the ruins of old Fort Smith at the downtown National Historic Site.
2. Louisiana Purchase Boardwalk — Brinkley
The largest headwater swamp remaining in the Mississippi River Valley will transport you back to the early 1800s. The boardwalk in the Louisiana Purchase State Park leads to the point from which land surveys of the Louisiana Purchase Territory began.
3. Visitors Trail — Pea Ridge
Pea Ridge National Military Park is the site of one of the largest Civil War battles west of the Mississippi. The 7-mile trail in the park tours different significant stops including overlooks, artillery, and the Elkhorn Tavern. The tavern was used as a field hospital and its yard served as the Federal Army's main supply camp. The tavern survived many hits including a cannonball blast.
4. Butterfield Overland Mail Trail
To tackle the whole trail, you'll need to drive since the Arkansas portion runs from West Memphis to Fort Smith. Before the Pony Express, John Butterfield established the fastest mail service route at the time. Starting points from Memphis and St. Louis would meet at Fort Smith then lead all the way to San Francisco. The total trip would take nearly 600 hours but was definitely an improvement over the mail ships originally having to circle around the Panama Canal before reaching their destination.
5. The Village Trail — Parkin
This mound is found in the .8-mile trail at Parkin Archaeological State Park. It's the remaining foundation for the village chief around A.D. 1000. This is the site of the oldest recorded history in Arkansas.
6. Rush Mountain Mining Loop Trail — Rush
This trail zigzags through the ghost town of Rush. Hike past significant zinc mining equipment, smelter, and blacksmith shop. The 3.6-mile trail leads uphill to the (closed and gated) abandoned mines.
7. Historic Townsite Trail — Pocahontas
Explore the last remains of Davidsonville along this trail at the Davidsonville Historic State Park. The town had been the site of Arkansas Territory's first post office, courthouse, and land office. Little is left of the town above ground, only "ghost structures." Archaeological digs have uncovered multiple artifacts that can be viewed at the visitors center.
8. Arkansas Post National Museum Trail — Gillett
Before Little Rock became the capital of the Arkansas Territory, the title was designated to the Arkansas Post. The 2.2-mile trail is filled with historical goodies, including the site of the original village.
What’s your favorite piece of Arkansas history? Share with us in the comments below!
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