Danville, on the banks of the Petit Jean River, possesses an aesthetics and quality of life that only a small town located in an area of rich natural beauty can.
As a hometown, Danville has plenty of available land for new homes and farms, an inexpensive cost of living, the pluses of small town living, a good environment for raising a family and a culturally diverse population.
However, for those living or visiting Danville, a capital enticement is that it also has access to natural resources like lakes, mountains and two national forests. It’s an excellent hub for outdoor recreational activities.
Three mountain peaks – Petit Jean, Mount Nebo, Mt. Magazine - containing state parks are each within a 30-minutes drive of Danville. The town is part of the Mt. Magazine South Gate Region. Over the years, the Danville side of the Mt. Magazine, the state’s highest peak, has remained somewhat of a secret. Danville is 19 miles from the Mt. Magazine State Park Visitors Center. Also part of this South Gate Region is Belleville, which is 14 miles from the mountaintop and Havana, which is only nine miles from and the last stop south of the peak. These communities are great places to pick up supplies before heading to campgrounds, the lodge or cabins atop Mt. Magazine. The state park contains state-of-the-art facilities including banquet rooms, a restaurant and indoor swimming pool as well as outdoor offerings such as hiking trails, equestrian trails, bicycle paths and scenic overlooks.
In addition to state parks, numerous other outdoor opportunities are nearby to Danville. The Danville Mountain Trail is a local trailhead, while the Womble Trail and Ouachita Trail are about 35 miles away near Mt. Ida. Within 20 miles of Danville, fishing opportunities abound at locales such as the Petit Jean River, Cedar Piney Lake, Spring Lake, Lake Ola/Dale, Kingfisher Lake, Pullen Pond, Fourche LaFave River, Lake Nimrod, Blue Mountain Lake and the Arkansas River. Hunting opportunities for turkey, deer, quail and bear can be found in the Ozark National Forest, just nine miles away and the Ouachita National Forest just two miles from Danville. Danville is situated between the two national forests with the Ozark St. Francis National Forest to its north and the Ouachita National Forest at its southern border.
Camp sites with varying amenities can be found at Spring Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Lake Nimrod, Mt. Magazine State Park, Mt. Nebo State Park, Petit Jean State Park and numerous other U.S. Forest Service facilities.
Danville is one of two county seats in Yell County. The other is Dardanelle in North Yell County. Danville serves as the more central location. Yell County was created in 1840 when it was divided from parent counties Pope and Scott. The county is named for Archibald Yell, the second governor of Arkansas. The county was the setting for Charles Portis’ novel “True Grit,” which was later made into a moving starring John Wayne as U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn.
With a prime location on the banks of the Petit Jean River, Danville was first settled in the early 1840s and was incorporated as a town on February 6, 1899. Danville is named after the steamship that plied the Petit Jean in those early years when the river was navigable. Danville is located in West Central Arkansas approximately 70 miles east of Fort Smith and 70 miles west of Little Rock, the state’s capital.