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Northwest Arkansas

Scenic Byway 7, the longest Arkansas state highway, crosses the Ozark Mountains and passes through the Buffalo National River Valley in a route spotlighted by National Geographic in its world “Drives of a Lifetime” series. Canoe trips are popular on the 150-mile river, and the 95,000 acres of surrounding public land offer campgrounds, cabins, springs, caves, waterfalls, natural bridges and walking and hiking trails.

Eureka Springs is a charming town tucked away in the Ozark Mountains. Eureka Springs’ entire downtown shopping district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Popular attractions include Thorncrown Chapel and The Great Passion Play. American Style magazine has repeatedly named Eureka Springs as one of the top 25 art destinations in its small cities and towns category.

The Northwest Arkansas metropolitan corridor includes the towns of Fayetteville, Rogers (on Money magazine’s “America’s Best Small Cities” list), Springdale and Bentonville – the location of international retail giant Walmart, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and 21c Museum Hotel. This growing urban area also attracts thousands of University of Arkansas fans each fall to watch the Razorbacks at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

The highest point in the state, at 2,753 feet above sea level, is Mount Magazine State Park in Paris. It, along with Petit Jean near Morrilton and Mount Nebo near Dardanelle, give the River Valley region the Tri-Peaks nickname. Each has cabins with Petit Jean and Magazine also having lodges. Outdoor sports such as hang gliding and hiking plus magnificent views over the Arkansas River Valley are available.

The Arkansas Wine Trail can be followed throughout the Northwest Arkansas region, from wineries dating back to the 1880s at Wiederkehr Village and Altus to established vineyards in Paris and new facilities in Tontitown, Springdale, Morrilton and Eureka Springs. Each offers a variety of wines, tastings and other specialty products.

Mena is located at the foothills of Arkansas's second highest peak, Rich Mountain. The town is home to the picturesque Talimena Scenic Drive, a 54-mile byway that travels the crests of Rich and Winding Stair mountains between Mena and Talihina, Okla. The route is popular with motorcycle riders. Thirteen miles northwest of Mena, the drive passes by Queen Wilhelmina State Park. The byway and park provide expansive views of the Ouachita Mountains.

The largest town in the Northwest Arkansas region is Fort Smith, originally established in 1817 as a military post. Around the early 1880s, federal judge Isaac C. Parker became famous for hanging scores of desperados brought back from Indian Territory by U.S. Marshals. His restored courtroom and reconstructed gallows are popular visitor attractions. A national museum is in the planning stages for Fort Smith honoring U.S. Marshals; a statue honoring famed U.S. marshal Bass Reeves stands downtown -- celebrating the first black deputy marshal west of the Mississippi.

Fort Smith is also known as the town in which Arkansas author Charles Portis set his work of fiction, True Grit. The Fort Smith Visitors Center – located in Miss Laura’s, a former bordello listed on the National Register of Historic Places – offers visitors tons of interesting information about the city’s colorful history.

Head to Northwest Arkansas to explore the Ozark Mountains and delightful cities and towns.