The Ozarks occupy a broad swath of some of the most pristine land in the United States. North Central Arkansas is rich in, evergreen forests, mountainous terrane, subterranean caves, year-round springs, rivers, lakes, creeks, and wildlife all of which make up this region's natural beauty. When considering where to go for a getaway this year, you may want to explore the beautiful Ozark Mountains and its many amazing natural treasures, some of the most captivating in the United States. North Central Arkansas is rich in both culture and outdoor adventures. Below is a list of natural treasures and popular attractions in North Central Arkansas.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is ranked among the most beautiful underground discoveries of the 20th century. This limestone cavern is easily considered one of the Ozark Mountain's natural wonders. It's located deep in the Ozark National Forest but only 15 miles north of Mountain View, Arkansas. Blanchard Springs Caverns is the only developed cave system operated by the U.S. Forest Service. It offers lighted walkways that lead to stunning formations and massive rooms. Blanchard Springs Caverns is open year-round and located just off Ark.14 near the town of Fifty-Six.
Blanchard Springs Recreational Area is located nearby. This recreational use area provides scenic campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing, and a huge natural spring.
Bud Walton Arena
Bud Walton Arena (referred to as the Basketball Palace of Mid-America) is home to the Arkansas Razorback's men and women basketball teams at the University of Arkansas. The arena features the Bud Walton Arena Razorback Sports Museum and the history of Razorback basketball, track and field, baseball, tennis and golf.
Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River is the country’s first national river (1972). It flows roughly 135 miles and includes nearly 95,000 acres of public land along its corridor. Discover year-round springs, caves, waterfalls, natural bridges, canyons, and an abundance of trails. The waters of the magnificent Buffalo River travel nearly 2000 feet through layers of sandstone, limestone and chert. This area is full of hidden gems and is tucked away ready for discovery. The bluffs of Buffalo River are some of the highest in all the Ozark Mountains. Spring and early summer is prime floating season, but the lower section of the Buffalo can be floated year-round.
Many outfitters service the Buffalo River (area maps, kayak and canoe rentals, apparel, etc.). You will find several campgrounds, cabins, motels and other lodging nearby.
Chaffee Crossing is a 7,000-acre resource of residential, commercial and industrial development. Natural and historical sites provide wonderful locations for family activities such as picnics and get-togethers. The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center sits on 170 acres overlooking Wells Lake. Enjoy fishing, hiking, biking, and other outdoor adventures including a nine-hole Deer Trails Fort Chaffee Golf Course. The museum district includes the Fort Chaffee Barbershop Museum, Enchanted Doll Museum, Museum of Chaffee History, and the Vietnam Veterans Museum. Chaffee Crossing is located in Fort Smith and Barling Arkansas.
Greers Ferry Lake is located between Clinton and Heber Springs. Greers Ferry is the third-largest lake in Arkansas's Ozark Mountains (covers 31,500 surface acres). Per the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this reservoir has served as a national model for environmental cleanliness. The icy cold waters of the Little Red River flow from under the Greers Ferry Dam and provide for excellent trout fishing. A world-record brown trout was caught here in 1992.
The lake and river visitor center is located on Ark. 25 at the western end of the dam. Find campgrounds, five star lodging, resorts, championship golf courses and outfitters nearby.
Hardy Old Town
This quaint town overlooks the cool, flowing waters of the Spring River. The town of Hardy is truly a Historic treasure with its preserved 1920s-era Ozark village. It boasts three museums, bed and breakfast inns and a dinner theater and the National Historic District extends the length of the old business district. Stores have been converted to craft and gift shops, antique malls, and specialty outlets.
Loco Ropes is a fun high wire forest adventure for all age groups. Three Loco Lines make up 30+ obstacles, such as ziplines, rope bridges, Tarzan swings, and swinging logs. The End of the Line is comprised of three rope challenge courses and takes approximately two to three hours to complete. The Short Line, consist of one challenge course and takes about an hour to complete. Loco Ropes’ also offers a Flying Pig ZipLine, a HotShot FreeFall, and Planks Peak Climbing Wall. These Tower Adventures are available on a walk-up basis. Team building programs for groups are also available.
Loco Ropes is located beside the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Mammoth Spring State Park
One of the Ozarks great natural wonders, Mammoth Spring flows at an hourly rate of some nine million gallons. This cold water spring creates a 10-acre lake that becomes Spring River. Mammoth Spring State Park is very popular for year-round canoeing and fishing. Also you will discover several walking trails, picnic sites, playgrounds, an early hydroelectric power plant and an official Tourist Information Center.
The park is located at the big spring and includes a restored 1886 Frisco Depot with engaging exhibits, a "crew" of workmen, and waiting passengers from the early 1900s.
Mark Martin Museum
The Mark Martin Museum is located in the Mark Martin's hometown of Batesville, Arkansas. This state-of-the-art museum features several of Martin’s race-winning cars, trophies, racing outfits and helmets, personal memorabilia, and a museum store with authentic Mark Martin merchandise available for sale. There is no entry charge.
Ozark Folk Center/The town of Mountain View
The town of Mountain View is the home of the only park in America devoted to the preservation of Southern mountain music. The park offers a restaurant, lodge, library, conference center, visitor center and a gift shop. Ozark Folk Center State Park is a "living museum" filled with traditional pioneer skills, such as furniture making, quilting, blacksmithing, tintype photography, woodcarving and many other craft demonstrations. Enjoy concerts featuring songs and instruments from America's past. The town of Mountain View has a variety of music shows, shopping, restaurants, plus impromptu folk music gatherings on the downtown square and festivals throughout the year.
The White is famous for its beauty and great fishing, it flows through the Ozark Mountains and across the Delta (approximately 720 miles) before connecting to the Mississippi River. The White River originates in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas,and flows northwards through southern Missouri before turning back into Arkansas, flowing southeast to the Mississippi River. Its flow is interrupted by eight dams, six in Arkansas and two in Missouri. Trout fishing below U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-built dams is a major draw for fishermen from all parts of the world. In the Fall of 2002, a rainbow trout, weighing in at 24.7 pounds, was caught and released in the North Fork River (a major tributary of the White). There's been record size fish caught in lakes Taneycomo and Bull Shoal's as well, both part of White River's flow system. Resorts and full-service marinas are available along the White's corridor.