ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ozark National Forest - Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ozark National Forest - Arkansas
Ozark National Forest
The forest spreads across the Ozarks of Arkansas,
preserving hundreds of miles of beautiful mountain
scenery rich in history and ecotourism opportunities.
Ozark National Forest
Clear, blue mountain springs
like this one add great beauty
to the rugged mountains of
Waterfall in the Ozarks
A myriad of natural waterfalls
flow unspoiled in the Ozark
National Forest. They can be
found along almost every
creek and stream.
Floating the Mulberry
Rising in the mountains, the
beautiful and wild Mulberry
River is a major draw for
those who love to canoe and
Ozark National Forest, Arkansas - Historic Sites & Ecotourism
Protecting the Ozark Mountains
Lake Wedington
A popular area for swimming
and sunbathing, the lake is
convenient to the growing
Northwest Arkansas metro
Some of the most beautiful, historic and
rugged country in the South is protected by
the vast Ozark National Forest in Arkansas.

The national forest covers 1.2 million acres
and is home to a wide array of historic sites,
ecotourism opportunities and points of
interest. Accessible from a number of points
across much of the northern half of
Arkansas, the forest features stunning Ozark
mountain scenery, waterfalls, hiking trails,
campgrounds, picnic areas, lakes and a
variety of other natural and historic features.
Please click here for a map.

The mountains of the Ozark Natural Forest
were a key hunting ground for prehistoric
Native Americans and traces of these early
Indians can be seen at points throughout the
forest. Early hunters, for example, once made
use of the unique caves and rock shelters at
Pedestal Rock Scenic Area. Ancient cave
paintings were once common in the Ozarks
but many have been vandalized and most of
the surviving ones are protected and not
generally accessible.

After France laid claim to the region, French
hunters and fur trappers explored the
mountains and some of the names they
applied still survive today. Ozark, for example,
is thought to have come from the French term
"aux arc," which referred to the long curve of
the Arkansas River in western Arkansas.

By the time of the Civil War (or War Between
the States as it is known in most of the
South), settlers had moved into the Ozark
mountains, carving out farms and building
homes. These ranged from quite prosperous
farms in the valleys to traditional hard-luck
mountain cabins and rocky gardens.

The people of the Ozarks suffered horribly
during the war as armies and guerrilla bands
moved back and forth through the region,
burning or destroying anything of value, often
killing even civilians or taking their last
morsels of food. Stories of atrocities echo
down through the years to this day.

The road now known as the
Pig Trail Scenic
Byway was a key road during the Civil War
and was used by both Confederate and
Union forces. Numerous small skirmishes
were fought in what is now the national forest
and traces of Civil War era homes and
cabins can still be found deep in the woods
and mountains.

The forest, of course, is also a great place to
explore natural history and is a haven for
those interested in ecotourism. One of the
most popular attractions,
Blanchard Springs
Caverns, gives visitors the chance to go
beneath the forest to view one of its few
publicly-accessible cave systems.
Other fascinating geological areas include
Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, where time,
water and wind have carved the natural stone
of a mountain side into a variety of
formations. The preserve is also home to
King's Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in

White Rock Mountain, named for a lichen that
grows on its steep bluffs causing it to appear
brilliantly white from a distance, offers rugged
scenery, hiking trails, overlooks, camping,
picnicking and even rustic cabins.

Mt. Magazine State Park, surrounded by
national forest lands, includes the highest
point in Arkansas and features numerous
historic sites, stunning views and an
outstanding lodge and restaurant.

Always check the official forest service site
before visiting for the latest information on
closures, conditions, etc.
Please click here
for direct access.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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