The beauty of Arkansas shines brightly in the fall

Arkansas is one of the nation’s top fall color destinations.

The state has three national forests, the Ozark, Ouachita, and St. Francis, which are wonderful destinations to experience the beauty of the season.

From the ridges of the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains to the plains of the Delta, Arkansas’ highways offer incredibly scenic views.

The state is home to many designated scenic drives, three of which are National Scenic Drives and one that has a prestigious All-American Road designation.

Along these routes, you will have the opportunity to explore the state’s impressive history, heritage, wildlife and nature.

In 2021, Arkansas’ section of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway was designated the state’s first all-American highway.

To receive this designation, a road must have unique characteristics that do not exist elsewhere.

The scenic route traverses 10 counties from the Arkansas Delta through the eastern portion of the state, roughly paralleling the Mississippi River.

There are many historic sites to visit along the long route, including the Arkansas Grand Prairie Museum in Stuttgart; Arkansas Post National Memorial in Gillett; the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum at McGehee; Dyess Historic Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess; Hampson Archaeological Museum State Park in Wilson; the Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion; the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena; Louisiana Purchase State Park and Natural Area near Brinkley; and more.

Scenic drives abound in the Delta. Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway is the state’s first National Scenic Byway and runs roughly the length of its namesake, Crowley’s Ridge.

Along the way, museums, state parks, and historic sites offer a chance to get outside and stretch your legs. Village Creek State Park and Crowley’s Ridge State Park are along the route.

The Talimena National Scenic Byway offers scenic views of the Ouachita National Forest and is one of the most scenic drives around.

The route stretches 54 miles along forested peaks between Mena in southwestern Arkansas and Talihina, Okla. The road is beautiful all year round and stands out in the fall due to the color that can be seen there.

In Mena, the road climbs Rich Mountain, Arkansas’ second highest peak, and through Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway was Arkansas’ first state-designated scenic route and travels nearly the entire state from north to south.

It runs from near the Arkansas/Missouri state line, south through Harrison, Russellville, Hot Springs, and Arkadelphia, through El Dorado to the Louisiana border. Along the way, you’ll pass through the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks in Jasper, cross the Buffalo National River, pass through Hot Springs National Park, cross Lake DeGray, and more.

More scenic routes can also be found through Arkansas.

The fall color change begins in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas in late September or early October.

Trees in central Arkansas and the Ouachita Mountain Range of west-central Arkansas begin to change noticeably in early to mid-October. Foliage in southern and eastern Arkansas typically begins to change in mid-October.

Typically, the color peak occurs about two or three weeks after the color changes begin.

However, please note that these are not predictions.

For updates throughout the season, sign up for weekly fall color reports at https://www.arkansas.com/things-to-do/attractions/fall-attractions.

Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, works to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and improve the quality of life for all Arkansas. Details: www.arkansas.com.

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