Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway: America’s largest alluvial plain
Eastern Arkansas lies within the nation's largest alluvial plain, a vast flatland leveled over eons by the erosive floods, depositions of silt and course changes of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Contained within the Delta's level expanse, Crowley's Ridge rises as much as 200 feet above the surrounding terrain and stretches from Malden, Missouri to Helena, Arkansas. It 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. A magnet for human settlement, the ridge was named after Benjamin Crowley, who moved there in 1800 to escape flooding in the Delta lowlands.
Today, Crowley's Ridge is characterized by upland hardwood forests, farmland, orchards and a variety of recreational and historical resources. Seven state parks lie along the parkway, which also passes through the St. Francis National Forest
and makes for one of the most scenic motorcycle rides
in the state. Arkansas's portion of the Crowley's Ridge Parkway was designated one of Arkansas's scenic highways and byways in 1997 and became one of America's national scenic byways in 1998. The route traverses a combination of U.S. highways, state highways, city streets and county roads deep into the Arkansas Delta.
Route (Arkansas portion): 198 miles
St. Francis River at the Missouri-Arkansas border to Helena, Arkansas
Turn-by-turn directions: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2588/directions
Things To Know:
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway offers the unique experience of traveling over many of the state’s lesser-known roads, taking you through several small towns and communities in the lush Arkansas Delta. Be sure to follow the turn-by-turn directions as navigating could be considered difficult.
This parkway is also unique from Arkansas’s other scenic byways in the history lesson it offers along the way. The legacy of Arkansas's largest concentrations of Native Americans can be explored at the Arkansas State University Museum and Parkin Archeological State Park. Arkansas's role in the development of blues music can be explored in interactive and audio exhibits at the Delta Cultural Center.
Crowley’s Ridge can be combined with Arkansas’s Great River Road along the Mississippi River. The southern portion of the Great River Road follows the last leg of Crowley’s Ridge Parkway through the St. Francis National Forest, and then continues on through the state’s Lower Delta region.
Area Attractions, Lodging & Dining:
listed from north to south:
Regional Tourism Associations:
Arkansas Delta Byways