The Ozark Plateau, commonly known as the Ozark Mountains, is an area of rolling hills accentuated by rugged slopes and divided by deep valleys, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. This forested region stretches from northern Arkansas into central Missouri and eastern Kansas and Oklahoma. The highest peaks of the region, the Boston Mountains are located in the northwestern part of Arkansas. The Ozarks are beautiful year round and offer unlimited outdoor adventure activities and scenic views. Residents of the Ozarks are known for their hospitality, traditional crafts and music.
The Buffalo National River, federally protected since 1972, showcases the range of outdoor activity and nature available in the Ozarks. The best way to see this unpolluted stream is by boat, canoe, raft or kayak. The 150-mile, free-flowing river offers a mix of swift-running and calm stretches of water that pass by limestone bluffs, gravel bars and forests. More than 100 miles of trails surrounding the river are available for hiking and horseback riding. Camping, fishing, hunting and swimming are also popular. Rental cabins and outfitters are located nearby.
The Ozark National Forest includes more than 1.2 million acres of forests and provides endless recreational activities. Hiking trails as well as trails for bikes, all terrain vehicles and horses are available throughout the forest. The Mulberry, Big Piney and Buffalo rivers offer whitewater action in the spring. Camping, cabin rentals and picnicking areas are available.
The Ozark Highlands Trail from Lake Fort Smith State Park to the Buffalo National River covers 165 miles. It is perfect for overnight backpacking trips or day hikes.
Scenic byways traverse the Ozarks allowing spectacular views year round. Scenic 7 Byway and the Ozark Highlands Byway are popular motorcycle and auto journeys during the fall foliage season.
Spelunkers enjoy a wealth of caving opportunities in the Ozarks. Eight caves are open to the public and many others are open for exploration by permit. Blanchard Springs Caverns near Mountain View is one of America's top cave destinations.
Other outdoor activities throughout the region include hot air balloon rides, golfing, birding and rock climbing. The rivers and lakes of the region provide world record fishing and plenty of boating, water skiing and other water sport venues.
The cities and towns of the Ozark region have preserved much of their heritage and showcase it in festivals, museums, music and crafts. The Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View is a living museum of traditional mountain heritage offering folk art, craft and musical demonstrations.
The Ozarks region is located in northern Arkansas and is accessible via Interstate Highway 540, U.S. Highways 62, 65, 71, 167 and 412. Lodging is available in cities and towns throughout the region and includes: cabins, bed & breakfast, resorts and hotels.