I’m here, once again, to encourage you to go outside. It isn’t that I’m particularly invested in your getting Vitamin D, it’s that there are some places in the Natural State that you need to see with your own eyes. There are at least 11 seriously popular places in Arkansas nature that are surrounded by a lot of hype, and you’re going to believe the hype as soon as you feast your eyes on these wonders.
1. Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point)
The big rock overlooking a gorge in the Ozarks has been featured in tons of articles all over the web—it was even featured in a movie. Hawksbill Crag is so popular that you’d have to arrive at odd hours to find yourself completely alone on the trail, but once you see that incredible view, you’ll never wonder again whether or not the place is overrated.
Hawksbill Crag is located near Kingston. It’s also called Whitaker Point and the trail you’ll take to get there is called Whitaker Point Trail.
2. Buffalo National River
The Buffalo is so impressive that it was the nation’s first federally protected recreational river. People flock from all over to enjoy the gorgeous, unobstructed waterway, and they’re not wrong—the Buffalo definitely deserves to be fawned over.
3. Lake Ouachita
Much has been said about the intense clarity of Lake Ouachita and its many, many islands. The truth is, though, there’s scientific evidence for that clarity—freshwater jellyfish that can only live in the clearest of water thrive in Lake Ouachita, and depending on the water level, there really are hundreds of islands for you to explore.
Lake Ouachita is located near Mountain Pine.
4. Pinnacle Mountain
There’s something to be said for a natural area less than a half hour from Arkansas’s largest city. Pinnacle Mountain’s unique shape makes it extra appealing, but there’s definitely something to be said for its central location as well.
Pinnacle Mountain is located near Roland.
5. Mount Magazine
Look, you probably already know that Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas, and you probably already know you can see forever from the overlooks there, but until you stand on that mountain and gaze out at all the wonder below, there’s no way to overestimate that stunning beauty.
Mount Magazine is located near Paris.
6. Mirror Lake
For a three-acre lake, Mirror Lake does seem to get a lot of attention. Whether it’s because of the CCC-built dam that forms a spectacular two-tiered waterfall or the cool, clear water that pours in from Blanchard Spring, Mirror Lake is a trout haven and a feast for the eyes that cannot be praised highly enough.
Mirror Lake is located near Fifty-Six.
7. Richland Creek Wilderness
The Richland Creek Wilderness Area is rustic, remote, and one of the remaining truly wild places in our neck of the woods. The Richland Creek Wilderness is also totally full of stunning waterfalls, which is why it has become a destination for nature lovers from all over.
The Richland Creek Wilderness is located near Witts Springs.
8. The Delta Wetlands
If you’re interested in observing birds, you can’t do any better than the wetlands of the Arkansas Delta. Birds flying south for winter come to the ground in the wetlands, and at least one species though extinct has been rediscovered near Brinkley. The wetlands of the Delta are a birding paradise.
9. Lost Valley
You’re not going to be able to get lost in Lost Valley. That’s largely because you’ll find lots of people there and you can ask them for directions. From the edenic Eden Falls to the total awe of the forest there, Lost Valley is popular because it’s totally breathtaking.
Lost Valley is located near Ponca.
10. Beaver Lake
One of the most popular summer destinations in the Natural State is Beaver Lake. You’ll never be lonely on the shores there, and that’s because Beaver Lake is a place of cool water, great location, and stunning surroundings.
Beaver Lake is located in northwest Arkansas, near Rogers.
11. Crowley’s Ridge
Crowley’s Ridge is a natural wonder unlike any other in Arkansas—a place that rises from the flat lands of the Delta to impress and delight. There’s nothing like seeing the unique ecology of this truly exceptional natural wonder.
A great place to explore Crowley’s Ridge is at Crowley’s Ridge State Park, located near Paragould.