It’s time to talk about places in Arkansas that are truly iconic, places you really can
only find in Arkansas. If you haven’t already come to the conclusion that living in a unique state is the best way to live, and that living in a state that is famous enough for its natural beauty to be called the Natural State is the actual best, maybe this list will help make up your mind. Below you’ll find 15 places that are so iconically Arkansas that you’d know them anywhere, and they deserve a little attention.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
15. Natural Dam
Natural Dam may appear to be a misnomer, but it’s not. Though it appears to be man-made, Natural Dam is actually a naturally occurring formation that dams Mountain Fork Creek perfectly. During times of heavy rainfall, it turns into an incredible waterfall, but it’s incredible no matter when you choose to go.
Natural Dam is located just south of Cedarville on AR-59.
14. Richland Creek Wilderness
The Richland Creek Wilderness Area is a little slice of paradise hiding right here in the Natural State. It has been called "one of the most places in this country—and I do mean the United States" by wilderness guru Tim Ernst. That’s largely because the Richland Creek Wilderness has an extraordinary number of breathtaking waterfalls.
You can find the Richland Creek Wilderness Area on Campground Road in Witts Springs.
13. War Eagle Mill
You’re going to want to call War Eagle and make sure they’re open. It’s not because they keep weird hours, it’s because the mill tends to flood when the rains come down too hard over NWA. War Eagle Mill is not only incredibly picturesque, it’s also historic and Arkansas’s only remaining working gristmill. Bonus: you can eat a meal at the Bean Palace, where they use ingredients milled on site.
War Eagle Mill is located at 11045 War Eagle Road in Rogers.
12. Cosmic Cavern
Cosmic Cavern has not one, but two underground lakes, the bottoms of which have not yet been found. The lakes are just part of the experience, however. Cosmic Cavern is one of the most showstopping showcaves in Arkansas.
Cosmic Cavern is located at 6386 AR-21 in Berryville.
11. Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake was made possible by the CCC built dam on Blanchard Spring. The spring is absolutely lovely, but those still, cool waters on Mirror Lake make it even more incredible. To add to the impact of the lake and spring, you’ll find a two-tiered waterfall created by the dam, and it’s just about the prettiest waterfall anywhere.
Mirror Lake is located near Mountain View.
10. The Rice Fields of the Grand Prairie
Arkansas is responsible for about half of the rice production in the entire United States. This is possible due to the rich soil of the Grand Prairie in the central Delta region. The rice fields appear to go on forever, and we sure are grateful for all that rice.
The most intense rice producing counties in the Natural State are Arkansas, Poinsett, Cross, Lawrence, and Lonoke, so if you want to take in the impressive green, go there.
9. Lake Ouachita
Lake Ouachita is one of the clearest lakes in North America and is renowned for its hundreds of islands. There isn’t a more pristine or breathtaking lake in Arkansas, and you need to see those clear, cool waters. It’s the largest lake entirely within Arkansas, and you’re going to love it.
Lake Ouachita is located on Highway 270 West in Mountain Pine.
8. Bathhouse Row
Bathhouse Row is not quite as old as the hills or the hot springs that supply the water, but most of the beautiful bathhouses still on the row date back to the early 1900s. Hot Springs National Park was actually the first bit of land set aside for recreation in the United States, pre-dating Yellowstone by almost exactly four decades, and you can learn all about that on stunning Bathhouse Row.
You can find Bathhouse Row on Central Avenue in Hot Springs.
7. Pinnacle Mountain
Pinnacle Mountain’s stunning cone shape is unlike anything else in the Natural State, and the view from the top is pretty amazing, too. In fact, there’s no angle from which Pinnacle Mountain is unimpressive, especially in the spring and fall.
You can find Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road in Roland.
6. Arkansas Grand Canyon
To find the Arkansas Grand Canyon, you need to drive up Highway 7 to Jasper. That’s it. You really can’t miss it. It might not possess the brilliant golds and rusts of the big one out west in the springtime, but it certainly does show some color year round.
You’ll find gorgeous sweeping views of the Arkansas Grand Canyon just south of Jasper on AR-7.
5. Buffalo National River
The Buffalo was the first river in the United States to be federally protected for recreation, which is only one of the reasons you should make sure to see it at least once. There are so many recreational opportunities there that there really is no excuse for not experiencing the river one way or another. Fish, float, camp, or just go sit by it a little while. You’re going to love the gorgeous bluffs that tower over the clear, cool water.
For more information about visiting the Buffalo,
4. Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls
Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls requires quite a hike, but you should go see it anyway. It’s the tallest waterfall between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rockies, and it’s well worth the energy you’ll expend to reach it. It’s actually easier to reach the waterfall by floating the Buffalo National River, and that’s another adventure you need to cross off your bucket list, anyway.
You can find directions to Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls by
visiting this link.
3. Cedar Falls
Located in the Natural State’s oldest state park, Petit Jean State Park, Cedar Falls is one of the most viewed and most photographed waterfalls in Arkansas. Part of that is because it’s one of the tallest continually flowing waterfalls in the state. It’s 95 feet tall, and absolutely stunning.
You can find Cedar Falls on Cedar Falls Trail in Petit Jean National Park, which is located at 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road in Morrilton.
2. Mount Magazine
You may have learned about Mount Magazine in school. It’s the highest point in Arkansas, and the views are absolutely staggering. In addition to those staggering views, you’ll find one of the most impressive lodges in Arkansas, charming Cove Lake, and trails where you can enjoy Mount Magazine State Park.
Mount Magazine is located at 577 Lodge Drive in Paris.
1. Hawksbill Crag
Hawksbill Crag, or Whitaker Point, is one of the most recognizable spots in the Natural State, for good reason. The view is absolutely stunning, the hike isn’t overwhelmingly difficult, and nothing looks quite like that beak-shaped crag jutting over the valley beneath it.
You can find directions to Hawksbill Crag