Petit Jean Mountain
The views from the top of Petit
Jean Mountain are among the
most scenic to be found in the
Natural Passage
The Bear Cave area at Petit
Jean State Park is a natural
maze of narrow passages
and unusual rock formations. - Petit Jean State Park & Mountain, Arkansas - Petit Jean State Park & Mountain, Arkansas
Petit Jean State Park & Petit Jean Mountain - Morrilton, Arkansas
Cedar Falls at Petit Jean Mountain
This magnificent waterfall is one of the favorite
attractions at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas.
The First Arkansas State Park
From its stunning scenery to its amazing
archaeological sites, Petit Jean State Park is
one of Arkansas' crown jewels.

Containing 2,568 acres, this was Arkansas'
first state park and for good reason. Petit
Jean State Park protects cave paintings and
archaeological sites dating back thousands
of years, along with numerous other
historical and geological treasures.

The park takes its name from Petit Jean
Mountain, the magnificent ridge that towers
over the Arkansas River Valley just west of
Little Rock.

Arkansas legend holds that the mountain
was the scene of a young French girl. So
petite in stature that she was called "Petit
Jean," she had disguised herself as a cabin
boy in order to follow her lover on a voyage of
discovery to America.

The story tells of how she followed him on a
journey up into the wilderness of Arkansas,
only to mysteriously sicken and die in the
valley below the east face of Petit Jean
Mountain. Local Native Americans took her
up to the top of the mountain and buried her
in a still visible grave nestled in a natural rock
garden overlooking the vast Arkansas River
Valley below. It is said that her restless ghost
lingers there to this day.

Petit Jean Mountain, in fact, is a national
treasure rich in history and scenic beauty.
The massive state park offers waterfalls, a
beautiful canyon, unusual rock formations
and more.

The centerpiece of the park is Cedar Falls, a
beautiful waterfall formed as Cedar Creek
tumbles 90 feet into Cedar Creek Canyon.
The stunning waterfall can be viewed from an
overlook platform and is also accessible via
hiking trails through the valley floor.

On the mountain surrounding the waterfall
can be seen a variety of unusual geological
formations. Among the most popular are
"turtle rocks," so named because the
resemble the backs of giant turtles.

Overlooking Cedar Falls from the west side
of the canyon is Rock House Cave, a unique
archaeological landmark.  Inside this
unusually deep rock shelter can be found
Native American paintings dating back more
than 1,000 years. The cave is accessible to
the public, just be sure to take along a
flashlight for a better view of the amazing

Petit Jean State Park is the oldest state park
in Arkansas and is especially unique
because its preservation came about not
through the efforts of state and federal
conservationists, but instead from the vision
of a group of logging company executives.

These men came to Petit Jean Mountain in
1907 to consider the timber prospects of the
area. After spending a weekend enjoying the
stunning scenery, however, they agreed to a
person that the trees should be allowed to
continue to grow and the mountain preserved
for future generations. The Fort Smith
Lumber Company offered to donate key
acreage to the U.S. Government for the
establishment of Petit Jean National Park.

The federal government, however, declined
the offer believing that the mountain did not
include sufficient land or significance to
become a national park area. It was an
amazing oversight, but the lumber company
turned next to the state legislature. It took
some cutting of red tape, but the land finally
became the first state park acquisition in
Arkansas in 1921.
Construction of key features including roads,
trails, pavilions, cabins, overlooks and
historic Mather Lodge was carried out by the
Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great
Depression. CCC Company 1781 worked on
Petit Jean Mountain from 1933 to 1938 and
the work done by the men is recognized
today by three National Historic Districts at
the park.

In addition to Cedar Falls, Rock House Cave
and Cedar Creek Canyon, points of interest
include a pioneer log cabin dating from
before the Civil War, Mather Lodge (currently
closed for renovation), cabins, picnic areas,
hiking trails, scenic overlooks and more.

An often overlooked but remarkable
experience at the park is Red Bluff Drive.
Located opposite the canyon from the lodge,
the drive takes visitors to overlooks that
provide outstanding views of the remarkable
palisades of the mountain. These dramatic
bluffs are among the most beautiful to be
found in the South.

Petit Jean State Park and Petit Jean Mountain
are located near Morrilton between Little
Rock and Russellville.  The mountain is
easily accessible from both Interstate 40 and
Scenic Highway 7 via S.R. 154 (Petit Jean
Mountain Road). The address is 1285 Petit
Jean Mountain Road, Morrilton, Arkansas.

The park is open during daylight hours
throughout the year and is free to visit. Boat,
canoe and picnic pavilion rentals are

Please click here to visit the official website
for information on cabins, camping and other

**Please note that Mather Lodge, the pool
and the restaurant are currently closed for
renovations. The rest of the park is open!**
Petit Jean's Grave
An iron fence surrounds the
low mound that according to
legend marks the grave of
Petit Jean. Her restless ghost
supposedly still roams the
top of the mountain.
Rock House Cave
This unusually deep rock
shelter on Petit Jean
Mountain is noted for its
remarkable collection of
Native American paintings.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Pioneer Log Cabin
The historic John Walker log
cabin was built on Petit Jean
Mountain before the Civil War.
Arkansas River Valley
The mountain's views of the
Arkansas River as it winds its
way between Fort Smith and
Little Rock are spectacular.