Fort Smith is a river city of 82,000 with a historical heart. Established in the 1800s, Fort Smith served as a U.S. Army frontier fort playing key roles in westward expansion, Wild West justice, the Civil War and The Trail of Tears.
This historic past takes front stage at museums, festivals and events in Fort Smith. The Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves parts of the original military forts and the courtroom, jail and gallows used by Isaac C. Parker, a judge who sentenced 160 people to death during his time in office. One popular event, Old Fort Days Rodeo in late May features evenings of cowboy thrills including bull riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling.
Tours of the city's historic areas, including Bell Grove Historic District, a 22-block area of restored homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are possible via classic horse-drawn carriage, electric streetcar and trolley bus. Antique and arts and crafts shops along Garrison Avenue make downtown Fort Smith a popular shopping destination.
Fort Smith is an excellent starting point for Ozarks and Arkansas River Valley trips. A 70-mile journey through the Ozarks on the Arkansas and Missouri Railway's authentic 19th century passenger railway car provides outstanding views especially in fall. Scenic drives, white-water rafting, canoeing, fishing, camping and hiking are available a short drive from the city.
Fort Smith is located on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border in the central western part of Arkansas. It is 160 miles northwest of Little Rock and is accessible via Interstate Highways 40 and 540.