Fascinating Facts

Little Red River in the Arkansas Ozarks

Little Red River in the Arkansas Ozarks

Facts about Arkansas Geography

Arkansas is bounded on the north by Missouri; on the east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee; on the south by Louisiana; and on the west by the plains of Oklahoma and Texas. In size, it stands 27th among the states, with an area of 53,187 square miles. Of these, over 600,000 acres are lakes with 9,740 miles of streams.

The state is about equally divided between lowlands and highlands, with the Gulf Coastal Plain on the south, the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain (Delta and Grand Prairie) on the east and the Interior Highlands on the west and north. Elevations in the lowlands range from 54 feet above sea level in the south to 683 feet above sea level in the northeast. The hill section is divided into two areas of nearly equal size. To the north are the Ozark plateaus, and to the south is the Ouachita province. Between them flows the Arkansas River, through a wide valley included in the Ouachita subdivision. In this Arkansas River Valley stand the highest and most impressive peaks of the state—Nebo, Petit Jean and Magazine. Petit Jean is cleft by a canyon with a 75-foot waterfall, and Mount Magazine has the highest elevation in the state at 2,753 feet above sea level.

Main rivers of the state are the Mississippi, Arkansas, White, St. Francis, Red, Ouachita,and their tributaries—all of which drain to the south and southeast. Arkansas has scores of small streams and lakes, and the plateau section is noted for the many springs. Mammoth Spring, in Fulton County near the Missouri line, has a maximum flow of nine million gallons per hour. More than one million gallons of water flow daily from 47 springs at the base of Hot Springs Mountain in Hot Springs National Park, with an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit.

Man-made lakes of major proportions have been created by the installation of flood control or power dams at Norfork, Bull Shoals, Blue Mountain, Nimrod, Catherine-Hamilton-Ouachita, Greeson, Beaver, Dardanelle, Greers Ferry, Millwood, DeGray, and Maumelle.

Autumn in the Ouachita Mountains

Autumn in the Ouachita Mountains

Arkansas Facts about Natural Resources

Arkansas possesses a wide variety of minerals, with annual production valued in excess of $1,000,000,000. Petroleum, natural gas, and bromine, in that order, are the top three minerals produced. Arkansas leads the nation in production of bauxite, providing over 80% of this valuable ore from which aluminum is made. Arkansas also ranks first in production of bromine, accounting for about one-half of the world's output, and in silica stone, a natural abrasive. Murfreesboro, Arkansas, is the home of the only diamond mine open to the public in the world.

Other mineral deposits include barite, ceramic clay, chalk, gypsum, glass sand, limestone, manganese, novaculite, nepheline syenite, titanium, zinc, tripoli, vanadium, and coal.

Arkansas has 17.2 million acres of forest land. The forests are divided into three principal classifications: the loblolly, short-leaf pine of the West Gulf Coastal Plain and Ouachita Mountains; the mixed short-leaf hardwoods of the Ozark Mountains; and the bottomland hardwoods of the alluvial plains of eastern Arkansas. Three national forests, the Ozark, St. Francis, and Ouachita have a total of 2,648,825 acres (1,572,879 in Ouachita, 22,600 in St. Francis, and 1,055,000 in Ozark).

Arkansas State Facts - Industry

As a predominantly agricultural state in the past, Arkansas has been successful in effecting a more favorable balance of industrial and agricultural production.

Today production in Arkansas includes such a wide range of finished items as color television sets, clothing, furniture, prepared foods, chemicals, aircraft components, communications equipment, boats, electric motors, machine tools, and pulp and paper products.

Interesting Facts about Arkansas Agriculture

Arkansas has five major types of soil: the flat alluvial lands of the Delta, the fine silt and wind-deposited loess of Crowley's Ridge, the sandy loam of the forested Coastal Plain, the residual shale and sandstone of the Ouachitas, and the residual limestone of the Ozarks.

The state produces all crops normally grown in the temperate zone and, with the exception of citrus fruits, grows practically every crop produced in the United States. Arkansas ranks 14th among states in cash receipts from farm marketings, with a total of 4,973,164 harvested acres. Nationally, we are #1 in rice and poultry production; #5 in sorghum, grain; #6 in cotton and #8 in soybeans and grapes.

DeGray Lake Lodge

DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge

Facts about Arkansas Tourism

The scenic beauty of The Natural State appeals to travelers from all over the country. As a result, tourism is a major factor in the state's economy. Travel and tourism expenditures in Arkansas amount to over $5.7 billion each year, contributing over $400 million in state and local taxes. Annual visitation exceeds 23 million travelers, providing direct employment for some 58,600 Arkansans.


Among the state's greatest assets are its seven national park sites, 2.6 million acres of national forest lands, 13 major lakes, and two mountain ranges. Scenic drives lead to breathtaking vistas in the Ozarks and the Ouachitas, more than 9,000 miles of streams and rivers provide incomparable canoeing and fishing opportunities, and over 16,000 publicly and privately owned campsites allow access to the outdoor world in every corner of the state.

Popular visitor destinations include Hot Springs National Park, the country's oldest and one of the most visited parks; Eureka Springs, a resort since the 1880s; two water theme parks -- Wild River Country and Magic Springs --  and numerous restorations and museums.  You don't want to miss the Clinton Presidential Library and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  The Buffalo National River was the country's first national river, and Blanchard Springs Caverns is the major cave find of the 20th century. The Great River Road links eastern Arkansas on a marked route that parallels the Mississippi.

Arkansas' state park system is one of the finest in the country, preserving and interpreting special features of the state's scenic, historic, geologic, and archaeological heritage for this and future generations. Unusual parks include the Ozark Folk Center, where the mountain culture of the pioneers is on display; Crater of Diamonds, where visitors may search for precious stones and keep what they find; Historic Washington, one of the state's most historic towns; and Village Creek, the second largest park in the system at just under 7,000 acres, has a first class golf course. Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area, the largest park in the system at just over 12,000 acres. Queen Wilhelmina, DeGray, Petit Jean, Devil's Den, Crowley's Ridge, Lake Chicot, and Lake Catherine are other major parks. Impressive  visitors centers at Lake Dardanelle and Mountain Magazine are just some of the improvements and expansions taking place at various Arkansas state parks.

Devil's Den State Park

Devil's Den State Park

Arkansas Facts about Climate

Arkansas is situated between the parallels of 33 and 36 30' North Latitude and 89 41' and 94 42' West Longitude. The climate is usually without extreme heat or cold, with average annual temperatures varying from 58 to 65 degrees. Rainfall varies from about 45 inches annually in the mountainous regions to 50 to 55 inches in the Delta. Annual average snowfall ranges from 10.4 inches in the extreme northwest to 2.8 inches in the lowlands of the southeast. The growing season ranges from 180 days on the high plateau in the northwest to 240 days in the southeastern part of the state.

Arkansas State Facts - Population

Arkansas reached a high point in population growth during the 70s, adding 19 percent, or 363,000 people, to reach a 1990 census population of 2.4 million. It was during this period that, for the first time in Arkansas' history, there were more urban dwellers than rural.

Much of the state is still rural, with population centers in Little Rock-North Little Rock (approximately 350,000), Conway Ft. Smith, Pine Bluff, and Jonesboro. The towns of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville form an almost unbroken complex of development in the northwest corner of the state. In the 2000 census, Arkansas ranked 33rd in size with 2.67 million residents.

Interesting Facts about Arkansas - From Desoto to Statehood

Hernando DeSoto became in 1541 the first European to visit the land that would become Arkansas, which had already been occupied by Native Americans for some 11,000 years. Marquette and Joliet followed in 1673 and in 1682 LaSalle claimed possession of the territory in the name of France. The first permanent European settlement in what is now Arkansas was established by Henri DeTonti in 1686 at Arkansas Post. In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory (including Arkansas) from France for $15 million, bringing Arkansas for the first time under the U.S. flag.

In 1819, the Arkansas Territory was organized and Arkansas was admitted to the Union as a state in 1836.

Facts about Arkansas - How Arkansas Got Her Name

The term Arkansas means south wind and is derived from a name used by some Native Americans to describe the Quapaws, an early tribe in the area. The French Jesuits pronounced the tribe name Oo-gaq-pa, which the Algonquins pronounced Oo-ka-na-sa, and Marquette wrote Arkansoa; LaSalle wrote Arkensa; DeTonti, Arkancas; and LaHarpe, Arkansas. When the state was admitted to the Union in 1836, it was spelled Arkansas. The legislature of 1881 appointed a committee to ascertain the rightful pronunciation of the last syllable, and the result was a resolution declaring the pronunciation to be Ark-an-saw.

Arkansas Facts about the State Capitol

The greater part of the stone used in the construction of the State Capitol Building is commonly known as Batesville marble and was quarried in Arkansas. The massive bronze front doors are 10-feet tall, four inches thick and were purchased from Tiffanys of New York for $10,000. Today their estimated value is $250,000. Construction of the Capitol building started on November 27, 1900, and finished in 1915. The Legislature of 1911 was the first to sit in the new building, then only partially completed.

Arkansas State Facts - The Old State House

Located at 300 West Markham Street in Little Rock, The Old State House is recognized architecturally as one of the most beautiful antebellum structures in the South. Construction was begun in 1833 and completed about 10 years later at a cost of $125,000. In 1836, while still incomplete, the building was used as the meeting place of the first state legislature and for the inauguration of Arkansas' first governor. The building and property are owned and maintained by the state. It is known throughout the country as the scene of President Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 election-night celebrations.