Today seems like a great day to add to your Arkansas bucket list, doesn’t it? You’re in the right place, then, because below you’ll find 14 epic adventures you need to take before you die, and they’re all right here in the Natural State. Each adventure takes you to a location that is so perfectly Arkansas, places you really can’t find anywhere else. You’re going to love every single one, so you best get started ticking them off your bucket list right away.
1. Stroll through the beauty of Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista.
Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is located on private property, but luckily that property owner has decided to open it to public use. Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is only 2.2 miles long, and it’s pretty easy, so there’s no excuse not to take this gorgeous hike. You’ll find the trail on Westford Lane in Bella Vista.
2. Walk with the ghosts of Rush Ghost Town.
They’re not literal ghosts, of course, but the ghosts of buildings long abandoned. Rush was once a thriving city, the second largest city in the Natural State at the time, until the zinc dried up and people moved away from the mining town. Today the buildings remain, and they are stunning reminders of a time long past. You’ll find Rush in the Buffalo National River region, near Yellville.
3. Check out Arkansas’s most haunted battlefield at Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Pea Ridge National Military Park has a rich history, and many incredible reports of haunting. From hearing cannons on the battlefield to feeling ghastly presences at their backs, folks say all kinds of spooky stuff about Pea Ridge. But even if you don’t believe in the hauntings, Pea Ridge is a fascinating place full of Civil War history that will chill you to your core. Pea Ridge National Military Park is located at 15930 US-62 in Garfield.
4. Go birding in Bayou De View near Brinkley.
The Arkansas Delta is the perfect place to look for birds, especially species of waterfowl. There may not be any place better than Bayou De View near Brinkley for just such an adventure. Especially because in 2004, Bayou De View was the site of the first sighting of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in more than 60 years.
5. Dig for treasure in Mount Ida at Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines.
I’m pretty sure you already know that you can dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, but did you know that Arkansas is also home to the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World? Mount Ida is home to several pay-to-prospect mines where you can dig for the gorgeous crystals. One of the most impressive is Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines, which is located in the Ouachita National Forest at 82 Wegner Ranch Road in Mount Ida.
6. Discover the many wonders awaiting you at War Eagle Cavern.
War Eagle Caverns is located on the shores of Beaver Lake, and it’s got more things to do than you can shake a stick at. Not only can you explore the cave through its natural entrance and experience the underground stream that flows through the cave, you can also work your way through their maze, and pan for semiprecious gems. You can find War Eagle Cavern at 21494 Cavern Road in Rogers.
7. Visit every island in Lake Ouachita.
Okay, this one is quite the task. You’re going to have to make a serious effort here, because depending on the lake level, there are about 200 islands in the Natural State’s clearest lake. Visiting every single one will probably require lots of trips to Lake Ouachita, which is such a shame. It’s not like it’s one of the most scenic spots in Arkansas. Oh wait. Actually it is, so you should probably taken on this adventure, don’t you think? You can find Lake Ouachita at 5451 Mountain Pine Road in Mountain Pine.
8. See the Arkansas Grand Canyon.
You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen the pictures, now it’s time to get in your car and drive up Highway 7 near Jasper. It’s not quite as large as the Grand Canyon proper out west, but it is pretty darn grand, and if you go this spring you’ll be overlooking miles and miles of gorgeous greenery.
9. Figure out that there’s also a Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas and drive to see it too.
Hiding in White Oak Lake State Park, you’ll find something you may not have heard of before. It’s called Chidester Canyon, but most people refer to it as the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas. It’s a stunning natural formation created by some really cool erosion. White Oak Lake State Park is located at 563 Highway 387 in Bluff City.
10. Step back in time at Historic Washington State Park.
By step back in time, I mean wander through the streets of a 19th-century village, where the buildings are old, the artifacts are authentic, and the park interpreters can tell you all about what the Natural State was like way back in the day. Historic Washington State Park is located at 103 Franklin Street in Washington.
11. Grab a photo op at Arkansas’s most famous rock, Hawksbill Crag.
I’m not recommending that you do any risky acrobatics here or anything, please be careful. But I am saying your life is missing something if there’s no shot of you on top of the most intensely beautiful place in the Natural State. You’ll find the trailhead in the Ozark National Forest on County Road 5 in Kingston.
12. Take in the greenery at Devil’s Den State Park.
Devil’s Den has a number of wonderful attractions. From the spillway to Yellow Rock to the naturally occurring crevices, you’re going to love every spot at Devil’s Den State Park. But perhaps the most magical place in the state park is the forest itself, which in the springtime becomes a place of endless greenery. Devil’s Den State Park is located at 11333 AR-74 in West Fork.
13. Try to see the ruins of Monte Ne at Beaver Lake.
You’re going to have to have great timing to see the Natural State’s most impressive underwater ghost town. Though you can see parts of the remnants of Monte Ne, the ruins are far less visible at average lake levels. What you’ll have to do is wait until the lake begins to shrink back away from the shoreline, revealing parts of the resort community that now rests below the lake.
14. Admire the geological wonders on Seven Hollows Trail.
Seven Hollows Trail is located in the Natural State’s oldest first park, Petit Jean State Park. Like most first children, Petit Jean is quite the overachiever. Among the many wonders you’ll find there is the 4.5 mile trail called Seven Hollows. Along that trail you’ll find a number of cool geological formations, including the incredible "turtle rocks" pictured above. Petit Jean State Park 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road in Morrilton.