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Great River Road National Scenic Byway

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What to know

Travel the Mississippi River through the Arkansas Delta
Marked by green-and-white highway signs depicting a steamboat’s pilot wheel, the Great River Road runs through 10 states along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Designated a national scenic byway in 2002, Arkansas's portion of the route crosses the east side of the state from north to south. The route traverses part of the nation's largest alluvial plain, Crowley’s Ridge, allowing travelers to experience both the mighty river and its legacy of shaping landscapes and lives along its path. A trip along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway is a family-friendly getaway that immerses visitors in art, culture, history, unique food and much more.

Crowley’s Ridge covers more than 15,000 square miles in eastern Arkansas alone, including all or part of 27 of the state's 75 counties. Contained within the level expanse of the Delta, Crowley's Ridge extends for 160 miles and rises as much as 200 feet above the surrounding lowlands. The unusual geological feature was formed when the ancestral Mississippi and Ohio rivers eroded away the land on each side and deposits of wind-blown soils added height to the remnant ridge, completely changing the region. At the time of pioneer settlement, most Delta terrain was lowlands and swamps, rich in virgin timber and wildlife. Some two centuries later, it is now largely agricultural, producing voluminous crops of soybeans, rice, cotton and wheat.

For much of its length, the Arkansas portion of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway journeys through those agricultural lands, passing remnants of the original wetlands and traveling through towns whose histories and economies were influenced by the river. From Marianna to Helena, however, the route penetrates the woodlands of the St. Francis National Forest on Crowley's Ridge, offering plenty to do for those who love the outdoors.

Route: 391 miles

Turn-by-turn directions:

U.S. 61
Blytheville, AR 72454