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These Rare Arctic Birds Are Being Spotted All Over Missouri This Winter

Native to the high Arctic tundra and northernmost stretches of Alaska, Northern Canada, and Eurasia, record-breaking populations of migrating Snowy Owls have taken refuge across the state of Missouri.

The region combines spectacular scenery and diverse habitats for migrating Snowy Owls, from rolling hills and lush meadows to forested slopes and ancient mountain peaks. These nomadic birds prefer treeless and wide-open spaces, making Missouri’s vast stretches of rolling terrain and open pasture optimal for hunting. Although, well-adapted for life north of the Arctic Circle, and colored for camouflage during northern winters, migrating Snowy Owls rarely make an appearance in the Midwest.

 The sudden rise in numbers signifies a food shortage in the arctic range, Snowy Owls last appeared in Missouri and Kansas in noticeable numbers during the winter of 2011-2012.

“This is an irruption likely tied to a drop in the lemming population in the Arctic this summer and fall,” said Mark Robbins, an ornithologist at the University of Kansas who also works with Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Missouri.

“In their arctic habitat, they forage in grasslands and tundra for lemmings, ptarmigan, and waterfowl. They rely especially on lemmings, and when populations of those rodents are high, snowy owl populations rise. When lemming populations crash, the owls move south in search of prey.” – Missouri Dept. of Conservation

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these beautiful birds while they are migrating, Snowy Owls prefer extensive agriculture fields and terrain devoid of trees which closely resemble the Arctic tundra they are accustomed to. They can be 20-25 inches long with wingspans of 4 1/2 to 5 feet. Many juvenile birds have a darker coloring and may look even blackish. The Snowy Owl is a patient hunter that perches and waits to identify its prey before soaring off in pursuit, so they are commonly seen perched on high points such as fences, telephone poles, and the tops of buildings.


 

This Scenic Train Ride In Arkansas Looks Straight Out Of A Fairytale

The romantic journey on this whimsical scenic railway within Northwest Arkansas—in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, to the hill station in the historic town of Eureka Springs—offers spectators a glimpse of 1.2 million acres of pristine untouched wilderness, all from a 20th-century locomotive.

While the golden age of rail travel might seem like a reminiscence of the past, Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway is a reminder of what it means to experience luxury at a leisurely pace. Disembark on a journey recalling the golden era of rail travel while admiring the natural beauty of Northwest Arkansas.

The journey begins in the charming Victorian resort village of Eureka Springs in Northwest Arkansas. Awarded “30 Most Beautiful Towns in America” by Expedia, it is a place with its own culture and lifestyle. The city is famous for its steep winding streets lined with Victorian-style cottages and manors.

Awarded “2014 Best Small Town in Arkansas” by AAA Southern Traveler, you’ll discover specialty shops featuring local crafts, antiques, the works of local artists, and standard Ozark tourist fare. The downtown area also features various coffee shops and sidewalk cafés. More than 20 art galleries in the downtown area will keeps art lovers entranced for hours. A city-maintained trolley service provides transportation around town for those who prefer not to drive.

The old commercial section of the city has an alpine character, with an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings, primarily constructed of local stone.

Steeped in history, the area has provided shelter to prehistoric Native American Indian tribes, solace to wealthy business tycoons, and is a haven for outdoor adventure seekers.

 

The quaint 20th century train station promises to transport visitors back in time with its historic collection of antiquities and steam locomotives.

Explore the local gift shop to take home a memorable souvenir or a piece of history.

The conductor will narrate the scene as you leisurely pass through the Ozark Mountains and surrounding National Forest.

It’s worth booking tickets in the train’s luxury dining car, which provides a more intimate and down-tempo experience. All entreés are accompanied by the chef’s gourmet soup and salad, fresh baked rolls, rice pilaf, mixed vegetables with hollandaise and Flaming Baked Alaska.

Disembark on a journey recalling the golden era of rail travel while winding through the untouched beauty of Northwest Arkansas.

Ticket prices begin at only $16.00 each.

Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway will reopen next season in 2018, make sure to book tickets ahead of time to reserve your date!

These 7 Christmas Light Displays In The Ozarks Are Absolutely Magical

If you’re looking for a holiday getaway that captures the feel of a quintessential winter wonderland, look no further than these magical Christmas light displays in the Ozarks.

With amenities for the whole family—from horse-drawn wagon rides and plentiful shopping to exquisite dining and lodging—these beautiful winter festivities will create everlasting memories of a lifetime.

Silver Dollar City

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Silver Dollar City presents one of the most spectacular light displays in the United States. Totaling over 6.5 million lights, this 1800s-themed park draws more than 400,000 people to its annual holiday of lights celebration!

The Christmas In Midtown Light Spectacular will surround you with awe-inspiring scenes and lighted displays on the sides and tops of buildings and even in the air as a canopy of heavenly angels fly overhead. Encompassing the center of the city, from the Wilderness Blacksmith Shop to Bears At The Holler, past the corkscrew over to Valley Woodcarvers and back to Grandfather’s Mansion…you will be in awe of the single largest lighting expansion to date over the past 2 decades of the festival.

This comes in addition to all of the incredible shows, thrilling rides, and holiday shopping & dining that makes Silver Dollar City one of the world’s most awarded Christmas events!

Hailed as “The Most Illuminated Park On Earth” by the Travel Channel.

Voted “Best Theme Park Holiday Event” by USA Today’s 10 Best, you’ll discover the most incredible Christmas celebration with live entertainment, a total of more than 6.5 million lights1,000 decorated Christmas treestwo Broadway-style productions, a nightly parade, and more!

Silver Dollar City is a Christmas shopper’s dream with 60 storefronts featuring unique gifts and one-of-a-kind treasures for everyone on your list. And once the shopping is done, it is the only place where you and your family can stay and play for the rest of the day!


 Lights of the Ozarks

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS

The Lights of the Ozarks celebrates 20 years of holiday cheer.  For a classic winter treat, grab your coat and don your mittens for a horse-drawn carriage ride through town while listening to traditional holiday tunes. Warm up with fresh hot chocolate and explore the spectacular display of a half-million twinkling lights!

Photo Courtesy of Josue Enriquez

This holiday celebration of lights in Fayetteville begins on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and concludes on New Year’s Eve.


 Christmas Forest Tree Lighting Ceremony

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

More than 30 trees will adorn the holiday focal point of the Crescent Hotel’s nearly 15 acres. An event to raise money for local charities, the annual Christmas Forest Lighting Ceremony is a community wide decoration event that allows votes/collections with all money raised going directly to the charity. The top three nominees receive an additional bonus from the Crescent and Basin Park Family.


 The Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Home to the famous outdoor theatre, the 160-acre Shepherd of the Hills Homestead transforms into a holiday paradise, complete with a 230-foot-tall Christmas tree (otherwise known as the Inspiration Tower).

Rated by the Travel Channel as one of the “top five drive through Christmas displays in the U.S.”, the Trail of Lights features a series of story-telling animated characters surrounded with millions of Christmas lights.


 Promised Land Zoo

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo is home to the area’s longest drive-through light display. Drive through a two-mile display of twinkling lights and displays. See Santa and real live reindeer on display and available for photos nightly. Explore the Christmas Village with Living Nativity Petting Zoo, Christmas movies, and a fully-stocked Gift Shop!

Each admission includes many wonderful activities, but if you are looking to get closer to the animals and the Christmas Spirit, you should opt for all new Santa’s Safari VIP Tour where one of Santa’s helpers will take you on a guided tour through the lights and the animals! You will even have VIP+ encounters with sloths, lemurs, kittens, and owls available for those who want to experience even more!

The Zoo is also home to the region’s only live reindeer herd, giving patrons the opportunity to pet, feed, and take photos with the Sven, Rudolph, Prancer, and more!


 Bagwell Lights

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

Nominated as a contender on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Flight”, this drive-through light display in Springfield is a must-see!

Set your radio to 105.5 FM. and enjoy the show as the music syncs with the twinkling light display! Located in south Springfield’s Brentwood neighborhood, the lights will be displayed throughout the winter season (check their Facebook page for more information regarding display hours and directions).

The Bagwell display is very popular, so be prepared for a crowd on weekend nights. Lines tend to form, so in past years Bagwell has asked light-peepers to turn around at Field Elementary, on Luster Avenue near Barataria Street. This keeps traffic from backing up onto Battlefield Road. Be a polite driver; the car turning in front of you may be a resident of the neighborhood.

Keep in mind: If it’s rainy out, the inflatables and the train may be turned off for electrical safety.


 Arkansas State Capitol

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS

Following the Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade (Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.) in downtown Little Rock, the State Capitol will be illuminated in its annual holiday display at 6 p.m. Santa Claus will help lead the festivities, which include fireworks, music, and children’s activities. And don’t forget to take in the magnificent Rockefeller pine tree and elegant decorations in the Capitol building’s rotunda.


5 Lovely Christmas Tree Farms In Missouri That Are Perfect For A Winter Day

Make long-lasting holiday memories this winter season by visiting one of these charming Midwest Farms.

One of the hallmark experiences of the holiday season is piling the family in the car, taking a one-tank-trip to a local farm, and finding the perfect tree for your home. These beautiful Missouri farms cultivate as many memories as trees with a variety of winter activities including sleigh rides, hay rides, light displays, and more!

Schweizer Orchards

ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI

Nestled in the scenic bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, this gorgeous 86 acre farm has been in operation for over 100 years.

Come spend the day in the outdoors. Enjoy the fresh air, wildlife, and take home a high quality real tree. Schweizer Orchards has White Pine and Scotch Pine fields where you can cut your own tree down, or choose from a variety of pre-cut trees.

Warm up inside with hot apple cider or hot cocoa while they shake, wrap, drill, and load your tree!


Pea Ridge Forest Christmas

HERMANN, MISSOURI

Set in the rolling hills along the Missouri River, Pea Ridge Forest began as a small Christmas tree farm over 70 years ago, and is one of the largest choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms in Missouri.

The farm grows Scotch and White pine, as well as, Norway spruce and will provide a saw to make quick work of your choice. Once you have picked out your tree, they will shake and bale your tree to reduce needle drop and to make transportation easy. Back at the barn, the warm fire in the massive stone fireplace will warm you as enjoy homemade baked goods, warm drinks, kettle corn, and, perhaps, a little wine from the local wineries.

Start with a relaxing drive through the beautiful rolling hills surrounding the Missouri River. When you arrive, you and your family will enjoy a hayride to and from the growing fields where you will select just-the-right live Christmas tree and cut it yourself.

Santa will be there to greet the kids on the weekends and the farm’s holiday shop will be packed with wonderful ornaments from all over the world as well as handmade wreaths and bows.

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Choose from a diverse selection of evergreen and deciduous trees which are wholesaled as balled and burlapped trees to landscape companies and retail garden centers.


Ozark Valley Christmas Tree Farm

SOUTHWEST CITY, MISSOURI

In the foothills of the Boston Mountains, Ozark Valley Christmas Tree Farm offers a superlative combination of winter festivities. A gift shop serves up winter treats, which are a perfect snack while exploring the many activities throughout the farm.

Cut your own Christmas tree, take a hay ride, choose a fresh wreath, pick up some unique gifts in the gift shop, make crafts with your kids in the barn, get your family pictures taken by the on-site photographer, drink hot chocolate, enjoy the Christmas lights, have a sweet treat, and make memories!


Pumpkins and Pines

PLEASANT HILL, MISSOURI

This well-loved farm is one of the most popular winter destinations near Kansas City.

With over 14,000 Scotch, Red, Austrian and White Pine Christmas Trees and pre-cut Fraser fir, Canaan fir, Balsam fir, Concolor fit, and Blue Spruce Christmas Trees, Pumpkins and Pines is one of the top destinations for cut-and-choose Christmas trees.

Enjoy the many free activities on the farm including hay rides and hot chocolate while they shake, bale, and attach your tree to your car.

Visit their Christmas shop warmed by a vintage wood stove and enjoy the many selections of handmade wreaths, treats, decorations, and gifts.


Country Pines Christmas Tree Farm

WRIGHT CITY, MISSOURI

This scenic farm has been in operation for over 30 years, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the picturesque backdrops and quaint countryside this Winter.

In addition to their wide selection of Christmas trees, you can shop at their heated gift shop filled with Christmas decorations, ornaments, beautifully decorated trees, homemade treats, and handcrafted live wreaths! Also, try their hot spiced cinnamon apple cider and hot cocoa.

The Christmas tree shop & lot will be open November 18, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the weekends, and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. on the weekdays.

Visit their website for more information.

Warm up inside the heated gift shop, where the staff will give you helpful Christmas tree decorating tips.

If you are interested in stopping by at a time not listed, feel free to contact them to make an appointment.


These Cozy Cabins Are The Ultimate Fall Getaway In The Ozarks

More than twenty million visitors come to the Ozarks each year, and it’s not hard to see why.

Positioned in the heart of the Midwest, the Ozarks combines the breathtaking splendor of nature with the activities and accommodations of several world-class retreats. Visitors can be out the front door and immersed in the region’s top destinations when lodging in these charming cabins.

Big Cedar Lodge

RIDGEDALE, MISSOURI

Embrace the rustic elegance of a by-gone era at Big Cedar Lodge, a remote haven of natural beauty and contemporary luxury in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Steeped in history, the area has provided shelter to native American Indian tribes, solace to wealthy business tycoons, and pleasure to outdoor adventure seekers.

Explore a variety of luxurious cabins and lodging, offering the ultimate privacy and comfort with magnificent views of beautiful Table Rock Lake.

Awarded #1 Resort in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure, Big Cedar Lodge offers more than just premier lodging. Enjoy a full service marina, horseback riding, world class fishing, golf, and trails suited for walking, biking, and hiking.

Only 20 minutes away from Big Cedar Lodge, Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve is a one-of-a-kind experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers of all ages. Covering 10,000 acres of pristine Ozark Mountain landscape, the park has miles of crystal-clear trout streams, dozens of cascading waterfallsancient burial cavesunique hand-built bridges, and bottomless, blue-green pools.

Explore a beautiful custom treehouse built by the famous Treehouse Masters, an American reality television series that airs on Animal Planet.  Every step leading to the top is made with a unique type of wood native to the Ozarks.


Branson Cedars Resort

BRANSON, MISSOURI

With 133 acres of pristine Ozark wilderness to enjoy – this unique destination is Branson’s and Southwest Missouri’s only treehouse resort.

Enjoy several activities and amenities including a 19 hole golf course, RC track (radio control car course), bullseye paintball shootin’ gallery, children’s play areas, swimming pool, bicycles and scooters for rent, basketball, badminton, croquet, sand volleyball, tetherball, teeter totters, soccer nets, trails, community fire pit, plenty of dog walking/running areas, Log Cabin Cafe, and much more!


 Longbow Resort

PRIM, ARKANSAS

Experience the best nature has to offer at Longbow Resort’s private and comfortable cabins. Set in a rustic location, each cabin provides distinct lodging accommodations, making Longbow Resort an ideal getaway for honeymooners, couples, small families, and groups yearning for the stillness of nature in a pristine setting.

Longbow Resort invites guests to experience abundant natural Ozark beauty. Enjoy several trails leading to waterfalls and wildlife, a three-acre pond, and self-guided walking, hiking, biking, or ATV tours, using property maps provided in each cabin’s guest book to help plan your adventure.

Only 15 minutes away from Longbow Resort, explore a deep blue water lake nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks. Greers Ferry Lake, with its 40,000 acres of pristine water and 340 miles of wooded and cliff-lined shore is an expansive playground. It harbors 8 marinas and is ideal for water enthusiasts enjoying fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, or scuba diving.

Visit their website for more information.

Image Courtesy of Mark and Patty Welch.


Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles, and Hobbits

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

One of the most unique lodging experiences in the United States, Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles, and Hobbits is an Arkansas icon. Inspired by locations around the world, choose from the most incredible places to lodge including treehouses, hobbit caves, castles, forest caverns, and much more!

Image Courtesy of Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles, and Hobbits

Image Courtesy of Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles, and Hobbits


Lake Shore Cabins

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Escape the hustle and bustle of your busy life to Lake Shore Cabins on Beaver Lake. Reconnect with nature here in the beautiful Ozark Mountains and create memories that last a lifetime. Lake Shore Cabins on Beaver Lake is a tribute to nature, a one of a kind family owned resort that is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife, the rich history of Eureka Springs, the joy of family and true Ozarks hospitality. This resort is located 9 miles from downtown historic Eureka Springs, four miles from the beautiful White River and Beaver Dam.


Branson Treehouse Adventures

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Branson Treehouse Adventures—a hidden gem that has attracted travelers worldwide—is a piece of paradise located near the thriving city of Branson. Explore several trails, a playground for children, community fire pit, and much more within a short drive away!

Many incredible places are located near Branson Treehouse Adventures, including: Dogwood Canyon, Silver Dollar City, Talking Rocks Cavern, and Roaring River State Park!


 River of Life Farm

DORA, MISSOURI

River of Life Farm is the perfect vacation destination throughout all four seasons. Stay in authentic treehouse cabins with breathtaking views of the North Fork River. Canoe or kayak down the scenic riverways, or explore many miles of trails that wind through Mark Twain National Forest.

The North Fork River is ranked in the Top 100 trout streams in the US.

While trout are not native to Missouri, Rainbow trout were introduced in Missouri waters in 1882 and are restricted to a few areas of the Ozarks. The North Fork of the White River not only sustains trout, but is one of the few waters in the Ozarks that supports a naturally reproducing population of wild Rainbow trout. Fly fishing enthusiasts from all over not only enjoy the fishing, but also the natural beauty of the Ozarks.


7 Arkansas State Parks With The Most Breathtaking Autumn Color

From the scenic river bluffs in the Ozark Mountains to the lush forests of the West Gulf Coastal Plain, Arkansas puts on a spectacular display of autumn color unlike anywhere else in the country.

Scarlet oaks, maples, sweetgums, and hickories, have already begun to put on a jaw-dropping display of gold, orange, and crimson foliage. Witness some of the most beautiful fall color this year while exploring these state parks.

Use this interactive map to find out when and where the leaves are changing all across the country.

Petit Jean State Park

MORRILTON, ARKANSAS

Petit Jean State Park is an Arkansas icon, a state natural and historic treasure that has welcomed travelers over the decades. The natural beauty and ancient geology of legendary Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of Arkansas’s first state park, and with it our state park system.

Hiking trails lead through forestscanyonsmeadows, and along streams and mountainside. See where nature over time formed sheer bluffs, Cedar Falls, and the Seven Hollows, such distinctive features as Bear Cave, the Grotto, and the Natural Bridge, and other formations sculpted geometrically by nature called Turtle Rocks and Carpet Rocks.


Mount Magazine State Park

PARIS, ARKANSAS

Mount Magazine State Park is on the state’s tallest mountain, the 2,753-foot Mount Magazine. Sweeping vistas of broad river valleysdeep canyons, and distant mountains welcome outdoor enthusiasts to Arkansas’s highest point.

The park is a place to enjoy hikingsightseeing, exploring the mountain and nature study. It’s also a destination for outdoor sports and extreme adventure enthusiasts that offers rock climbingrappellinghang glidingmountain bikinghorseback ridingbackpacking, and ATV adventure. An ATV guide service is available.

Mount Magazine is the state park system’s most dramatic location for technical rock climbing. The park also offers overlooks, hiking trails, a picnic area with restrooms, pavilion, and visitor center with an interactive exhibit gallery and gift shop. Park interpreters lead a variety of programs that highlight the mountain’s natural diversity and unique species.

Website: http://www.mountmagazinestatepark.com/


Queen Wilhelmina State Park

MENA, ARKANSAS

A spectacular mountaintop setting. Breathtaking panoramic mountain scenery. Royal hospitality. Queen Wilhelmina State Park is this, and more. The park’s crowning attraction is its renowned hostelry, a historic lodging tradition born in 1898 with the original “Castle in the Sky” resort that graced this same lofty locale high above the Ouachita Mountains over 100 years ago.


Withrow Springs State Park

HUNTSVILLE, ARKANSAS

In the heart of the Ozark Mountains, nestled in a narrow valley cradled by the limestone bluffs of the War Eagle Creek, Withrow Springs State Park is a peaceful setting for camping, hiking, and quiet river floats. The namesake of this park, Withrow Springs, was named for Richard Withrow, a settler who established this area’s first grist mill. The spring’s clear, cold waters gush from a cave at the foot of a bluff near the park swimming pool.

The park offers a put-in point to the waters of the War Eagle, a north flowing stream usually floatable from march to mid-June, depending on rainfall. Floating and angling for catfish, bream, perch, and bass in this stream offers relaxation at its best. Rental canoes and shuttle service are available from the park.

Website: https://www.arkansasstateparks.com//park-finder/park.aspx?id=15


Pinnacle Mountain State Park

ROLAND, ARKANSAS

Pinnacle Mountain is a day-use park dedicated to environmental education, outdoor recreation, and preservation. Located just west of Little Rock, this natural environment of 2,356 acres was set aside in 1977 as Arkansas’s first state park adjoining a major metropolitan area.

The state park’s dominant natural feature is Pinnacle Mountain, which rises more than a thousand feet above the Arkansas River Valley. The mountain’s cone-shaped peak has long been a central Arkansas landmark and attraction for outdoor enthusiasts. Two of the park’s hiking trails lead hikers to the mountain’s beautiful summit.

Website: https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain/


Lake Ouachita State Park

MOUNTAIN PINE, ARKANSAS

Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita is known for its scenic natural beauty and the clarity of its waters. These pristine waters form the largest man-made lake within Arkansas’s borders. Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimmingskiingscuba divingboating, and fishing. Angling for bream, crappie, catfish, stripers, and largemouth bass can be enjoyed in open waters or quiet coves along the lake’s 975 miles of shoreline.

Located just a short drive from the spa city of Hot Springs on the lake’s eastern shore, Lake Ouachita State Park is your gateway to this popular water sports lake.


Devils Den State Park

WEST FORK, ARKANSAS

This valley in the renowned Ozark Mountains—ancient sedimentary mountains famous for their natural beauty and lush oak-hickory forest—offers a breathtaking display of fall color every year.

Miles of hiking and multiple use trails wind through Devil’s Den and the surrounding Ozark National Forest. Caves, crevices, and bluff overlooks can be explored here. Take a wet-water day hike up Lee Creek, or trek the 15-mile-long Butterfield Hiking Trail. This trail from the park through the Ozark National Forest leads backpackers deep into the hills and hollows of the rugged scenic Ozarks.

Seventeen fully-equipped cabins featuring kitchens and fireplaces are nestled in the natural beauty of this park. These cabins are available throughout the year. Each cabin has a wood-burning fireplace that is available seasonally. Book a stay at one of these cabins today for the ultimate escape from the city.

Website: https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/devilsden/


These Dreamy Road Trips Go Through The Best Fall Foliage In All Of Arkansas

In the Midwest, deciduous trees put on a spectacular display of color. Leaf viewing is one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to experience America’s awe-inspiring natural beauty. Take a weekend day trip and explore some of the country’s most beautiful autumn foliage on these dreamy road trips.

Scenic 7: Among the Most Scenic Drives in America

Drive Scenic Byway 7 in Arkansas, the state’s first state-designated scenic byway, and travel through four of the state’s varied geographical regions.

Arguably one of the most scenic drives in America, the route begins on the south end within the West Gulf Coastal Plain, a region that saw an oil boom beginning in 1921 near El Dorado. It continues to Camden and on to Arkadelphia through rolling terrain with dense pine forests and stream valleys with bottomland hardwood forests. Near Arkadelphia, the route enters the Ouachita Mountains, famous for their quartz crystals, and passes by DeGray Lake, home of Arkansas’s only resort state park. At Hot Springs, the byway journeys through the historic downtown and immediately in front of the famed Bathhouse Row of Hot Springs National Park. Continuing though the forested Ouachitas, it passes through the Ouachita National Forest and by Lake Nimrod, then reaches Russellville and crosses the more level terrain of the Arkansas River Valley.

Leaving the valley, Scenic 7 ascends into the Ozark Mountains, famous for fall foliage, and the Ozark National Forest, and passes through the mountain town of Jasper along the Buffalo National River on its way to Harrison.

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On the left is the Northern Route of the trip, and to the right is the Southern Route.

Scenic 7 can also be connected to two other Arkansas scenic byways: the West-Northwest Scenic Byway (it intersects in Ola) and the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway (at Jasper take Arkansas State Highway 74 to Ponca, then 43 to the top of the route).


Boston Mountains Scenic Loop/U.S. Highway 71 and Interstate 49

Two very different roads crossing the highest part of the Ozark Mountains combine to make the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop one of The Natural State’s most interesting driving tours and most scenic motorcycle rides.

Both routes offer impressive mountain vistas. I-49 offers a good look at the countryside while scaling high-span bridges and the state’s only highway tunnel; the Boston Loop on U.S. 71 offers many locations to pull off the road and commune with the mountains. There are also plenty of opportunities along the route to go hiking in the Ozarks.

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Mount Magazine Scenic Byway

From Havana, the Arkansas State Highway 309 / Mount Magazine Scenic Byway quickly begins its ascent through the forests on the slopes of Mount Magazine, the highest peak in Arkansas at 2,753 feet.

At the top you’ll find Mount Magazine State Park, which includes a full service lodge, conference center, restaurant, indoor pool, and hot tub, plus fully-equipped cabins with fireplaces and hot tubs on the deck overlooking the river valley. Park roads lead to overlooks with expansive views of Blue Mountain Lake and the Ouachita Mountains to the south and of the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark Mountains to the north. A park trail provides access to the state’s high point.

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West-Northwest Scenic Byway

The West-Northwest Scenic Byway was designated a state scenic byway in 2005 and encompasses 261 miles of interconnected highways. The route is unique in the fact that it travels through the Ouachita Mountains, the only mountain range in North America that stretches from east to west, and also that it travels both north-south and east-west in the southwest corner of the state.

Starting in Ola, travel Arkansas State Highway 10 west. Along this section you’ll go through the towns of Danville, Havana, Waveland, Magazine, Booneville and Greenwood. To the south is the Ouachita National Forest, and the Ozark National Forest is north of the route. To continue into Oklahoma from Greenwood, take the Highway 10 exit (toward Hackett, “Old Hackett Road”) which will feed out onto Highway 10 (or Excelsior Road). Follow to the Oklahoma border. Watch out for the right turn in Hackett! Arkansas State Highway 10 turns into Oklahoma State Highway 120.

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 Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway is the first National Scenic Byway in the state and roughly runs the length of its namesake – Crowley’s Ridge. It begins in the northeast corner at St. Francis, winding its way alongside the ridge through some of the most fertile areas of Arkansas,to its southern-most terminus at West Helena.

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.

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Talimena National Scenic Byway

From Mena, the Talimena Scenic Drive/Arkansas State Highway 88 Scenic Byway travels northwest and quickly enters the Ouachita National Forest, climbing Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak at 2,681 feet, and passing through Queen Wilhelmina State Park on its way to the Oklahoma border 18 miles to the west. The drive then continues along the Rich and Winding Stair mountains all the way to Talihina, OK. The route offers mountain vistas unsurpassed in mid-America of forested peaks and valleys, lakes and streams. The drive is especially picturesque when the surrounding mountains are clad in spring and autumn foliage and when it sits above clouds and fog in the lower valleys.

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5 Charming Pumpkin Patches In Missouri You Have To Visit This Autumn

Soon the forests will begin to transform and amber leaves will blanket the countryside.

Spend a crisp autumn day outside, hand-pick your favorite pumpkins, get lost in a corn maze, snack on a cider donut, or gather apples from a nearby orchard.

These beautiful farms provide an abundance of family-friendly activities to keep you busy, active, and well-fed all day. Whether you’re looking to stock up on decorative gourds or provide the kids with a fun-filled and fall-themed day, these charming farms in Missouri are the perfect fall destination.

Faulkner’s Ranch

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

This scenic ranch has been in operation for over 60 years, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the picturesque autumnal backdrops and quaint countryside this October.

Bring your family – the kids will enjoy the playgroundpony ridesbounce houseshay ridesziplinepetting zootrain rides, games, and much more! Also, be sure to try their specialty fresh baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts and other fall treats.

For more information and pricing, visit their website


Exeters Corn Maze

EXETER, MISSOURI

This well-loved farm is one of the most popular fall destinations in the Ozarks.

With over 40 acres of pumpkins, an 8 acre corn maze, ziplines, hot air balloon rides, hay rides, petting zoo, face painting, movie room, paintball arena, pumpkin and corn canons, train rides, swings, hay tunnels, fire-pits, along with lots of farm-fresh treats to eat, this unique farm is an all-in-one destination for all ages!

For more information and pricing, visit their website


fun farm pumpkins

Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch has an impressive array of activities for all ages including a corn maze, hay rides, and pumpkin patch.

Kids will enjoy the playgroundcarousel, barnyard and petting zoohay rides, observation beehive, train rides, tricycle track, and many other activities.

For more information on pricing and admission fees, visit their website

Shop for more than just pumpkins at this farm and discover thousands of autumn flowers ready to be planted in your garden.

The farm also has a rabbit ranch and other barnyard animals including sheep, miniature horses, goats, miniature donkeys, bottle-fed calves, pigs, and chickens.

Every year, the corn fields are cut into intricate and amazing designs!

You and your family can get lost between the giant stalks of corn and explore as much of the maze as you desire.


Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

In the foothills of the Boston Mountains, this 207 acre farm offers a superlative combination of pumpkins, festivities, and treats to sample. A gift shop serves up autumn treats, which are a perfect snack while exploring the many activities throughout the farm.

Admission is free and explore the nearby fishing pond, gardens, playground, and scenic walking trail that winds throughout the park.

For more information on pricing and hours, click here

This charming farm has a small pumpkin patch, corn maze, and a barn with dozens of friendly farm animals.

The 207-acre park was created by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of the area.


Centennial Farms

AUGUSTA, MISSOURI

This historic treasure has been in operation for nearly 200 years, and it’s the perfect place for fruit picking, picnicking, and sightseeing in the historic city of Augusta, Missouri. Centennial Farms offers a variety of applespumpkins, and gourds in the fall, as well as fresh flowers to transform your home for the autumn equinox.


These Apple Orchards In Missouri Are Perfect For An Autumn Day Trip

Autumn has finally arrived — in parts of the country, forests are beginning to transform into amber, crimson, and gold hues.

Celebrate the arrival of Fall by picking your own fresh apples at these beautiful farms in the Missouri countryside. Many of the farms on our list also have amazing shops, which sell jams and jellies, fresh produce, candies, cider donuts, hard cider, and all kinds of signature fall treats. Also, discover rare and uncommon apple varieties growing throughout the Ozarks that you may have never tried before.

Centennial Farms

AUGUSTA, MISSOURI

This well-loved orchard has been in operation for nearly 200 years, and it’s the perfect place for fruit picking, picnicking, and sightseeing in the historic city of Augusta, Missouri. This beautiful orchard offers a variety of apples, pumpkins, and gourds in the fall, as well as fresh flowers to transform your home for the autumn equinox.


Thierbach Orchards

MARTHASVILLE, MISSOURI

Head to Thierbach Orchards in Autumn and you’ll find more than just apples ready to be picked. Here, you can pick pumpkins and peaches in August and September.

Bring your family-the kids will enjoy the bounce houses and slide! For $5, kids can have unlimited access to the play area. Stop in the market for fresh apples, produce, jams, salsas, and more! The market is open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m.- 6 p.m.

You can pick your own apples on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m.- 6 p.m.


Sunshine Valley Farm

ROGERSVILLE, MISSOURI

This Missouri farm has ample views of the countryside and excellent apple picking throughout September.

Sunshine Valley Farm grows more than just apples, they also grow blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches as well as a varied crop of vegetables throughout all four seasons!

View their weekly apple picking schedule and updates here!


Schweizer Orchards

ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI

Nestled in the scenic bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, this gorgeous 86 acre farm has been in operation for over 100 years.

It is the perfect destination to pick apples in Autumn, and is located only an hour away from Kansas City, Missouri.

In Winter, take home a high quality real Christmas tree. Choose from a variety of trees including White Pine and Scotch Pine fields where you can choose and cut your own tree down. Schweizer Orchards also provides hayrides on the weekends. Warm up inside with hot apple cider or hot cocoa while they shake, wrap, drill, and load your tree.


Hermans Farm Orchard

ST. CHARLES, MISSOURI

This farm has an impressive selection of fresh produce including pumpkins, apples, peaches, squash, fresh eggs, and more. Once you’ve filled your basket, check out the hay rides and beautiful perennial grasses and autumn flowers for sale!

Apple picking hours are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Click here for more information.


These 8 Trails in Arkansas Look Absolutely Breathtaking In Autumn

From serene ancient mountains to lush oak forests, the Ozarks offers an unparalleled beauty unlike anywhere else in the country. These trails offer some spectacular views of the changing leaf color, and capture the beauty of the autumn season.

Lost Valley Trail

PONCA, ARKANSAS

Lost Valley Trail leaves the parking area and gently winds up the box canyon passing beneath groves of American beech trees. The trail leads you to an turquoise-blue pool of water with an 8-ft waterfall flowing out of a small opening in the bluff, known as the Natural Bridge.

The gem of the hike is Eden Falls. The picturesque Eden Falls cascades 53 ft over towering cliffs offering visitors a firsthand view of what the Ozark Mountains have to offer.

Wildflower and medicinal plant folklore enthusiasts will enjoy the trail immensely as it features a wide variety of species, including bloodroot, crested iris, columbine, mayapple, comfrey and Ozark trillium, just to name a few.


Whitaker Point Trail

KINGSTON, ARKANSAS

Radiant with wildflowers, and a waterfall in spring, and then graced with the crimson and amber foliage of turning maple leaves in the fall, this trail winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

This region was also featured in the opening scenes of the Disney film Tuck Everlasting.


North Rim Trail

MOUNT MAGAZINE STATE PARK, ARKANSAS

North Rim Trail, Mount Magazine State Park is a 4.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Paris, Arkansas.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. It leads through hardwood forests, scrub oaks, and cedar glades across several tumbling creeks. Windswept bluffs overlook a rugged hollow, the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark Plateau.


Glory Hole Waterfall Trail

OZARKS NATIONAL FOREST, ARKANSAS

One of the most famous and unique waterfalls in Arkansas is the Glory Hole.

The waterfall is formed by a stream that flows through the ceiling of an overhang cave. The trail to the Glory Hole is in the Ozark National Forest off highway 16 east just under 6 miles from Fallsville, or alternately 2 miles west of Edwards Junction.


Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail

WITTS SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Visitors can view picturesque rock bluffs, swim in crystal clear streams, and hike wooded hillsides. This scenic area consists of two hiking trails, Pedestal
Rocks and Kings Bluff. Pedestal Rocks is 2.2 -miles and Kings Bluff is 1.7-miles long. Although there are some steep sections, the trails are easy to hike with abundant resting places.


Centerpoint to Goat Trail

BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER, ARKANSAS

Breathtaking river bluffs combined with a world-class geologic experience makes this trail unique. This area also features the tallest sheer bluff face found between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.

The trail’s destination is the Big Bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. It is considered the tallest along the Buffalo, over 500 ft. tall. The side trail that leads to an outcropping on the bluff is called the Goat Trail, which is about 350 ft tall. It is not for children, the weak, or those afraid of heights.


Hemmed In Hollow Trail

COMPTON, ARKANSAS

Hemmed in Hollow Trail is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Compton, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is only recommended for experienced adventurers.

This trail features a spectacular piece of nature, the tallest waterfall in Mid-America.


Yellow Rock Trail

WINSLOW, ARKANSAS

Devil’s Den State Park is nestled deep in Lee Creek Valley, a picturesque setting in northwest Arkansas’s Ozarks Mountains, ancient sedimentary mountains renowned for their natural beauty and lush oak-hickory forest.

Yellow Rock Trail is a 2.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near West Fork, Arkansas that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, fishing, and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.