The highest point in Arkansas can be found in this region of Arkansas at Mount Magazine State Park. Views from this elevation at 2,753 feet above sea level are spectacular. Outdoor adventures offered at the park include hang gliding, rappelling, rock climbing, camping and hiking. Other prominent mountains in the area include Petit Jean, near Morrilton, and Mount Nebo, near Dardanelle. These three points gave the River Valley area the nickname the Tri-Peaks Region.
The largest town in the River Valley region is Fort Smith, originally established in 1817 as a military post to keep peace between the local Native American tribes and those forcibly moved to the area by the federal government. In the town’s early years, it was a jumping-off place for California-bound forty-niners; then, it became a shoot-’em-up frontier town after the Civil War.
Around the early 1880s, federal judge Isaac C. Parker became infamous for hanging scores of desperados brought back from Indian Territory by U.S. marshals. His restored courtroom and reconstructed gallows are popular visitor attractions.
Soil is fertile in the valley near the town of Altus, where vineyards took root in the late 1800s when Swiss-German immigrants settled in the area. Chateau Aux Arc, Mount Bethel Winery, Post Familie Vineyards and Winery, Wiederkehr Wine Cellars and Vineyard, and Cowie Wine Cellars in neighboring Paris make up Arkansas’s wine country. Each offers a variety of wines, tastings and other specialty products including jellies and vinegar.
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