Arkansas' Favorite Overlooks

When asked to list my top Arkansas lookouts it turned out to be quite a challenge. Because the Natural State has both the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain ranges, there are a lot of great lookouts to choose from. However, after much contemplation, I was able to narrow the list down to six I felt stand out above the others. Below are my choices and why they made my list. 

By Bob Robinson

 Bob Robinson takes a break from driving and looks out over the River Valley after arriving at Petit Jean Mountain State Park in Morrilton.

Bob Robinson takes a break from driving and looks out over the River Valley after arriving at Petit Jean Mountain State Park in Morrilton.

 

Petit Jean Mountain

GPS: 35.1600849°N, -92.9260029°W
Near Morrilton

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Although it does offer a spectacular panoramic view of the Arkansas River Valley several hundred feet below, it was the stirring legend of Petit Jean Mountain that tipped the scale in favor of including it on my list. Adrienne DuMont’s fiancée was on a ship sailing for the New World. In order to accompany him, she disguised herself as a cabin boy and sneaked aboard the ship. After becoming gravely ill of fever, Adrienne’s body was laid to rest atop the mountain that bears the name her shipmates bestowed on her, which translates as “Little John.” My favorite view is located at the rocky point near her gravesite.


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Roark Bluff

GPS: 36.0440° N, 93.3421° W
Near Ponca

If it was good enough to be featured on a Tim Ernst poster commemorating the Buffalo National River’s 25th Anniversary, Roark Bluff definitely deserves a place on my humble list of favorites. The sheer sandstone bluff is impressive from any location; however, my favorite spot is the lookout located one mile east of Steel Creek Campground on the Buffalo River Trail. Even with the dense foliage of an Arkansas summer you are rewarded with an unobstructed view of the bluff and valley several hundred feet below.

 

Roark Bluff from the lookout on the Buffalo River Trail, with Stacy Price of Bentonville


White Rock Mountain

GPS: 35.6926° N, 93.9571° W
Near Winslow

 Stacy Price takes in the sunset from White Rock Mountain after driving in from Shores Lake.

Stacy Price takes in the sunset from White Rock Mountain after driving in from Shores Lake.

I have many fond memories of watching the sun set from White Rock Mountain. In my opinion it offers one of the best sunset views in the state. The bluff towers over the surrounding forest, affording unhindered views as the sun slowly fades beyond rolling Ozark Mountains; it’s one of my favorite places to celebrate the end of a day.


Mt. Magazine

GPS: 35.1673° N, 93.6449° W
Near Dardanelle

As the highest mountain in the Natural State, Mount Magazine has several sweeping vantage points atop the sheer bluffs that encircle the mountain and make it a worthy, if obvious, choice. Foremost among them, in my opinion, is the view from the recently restored 1939 Works Progress Administratiwon amphitheater. The site was overgrown and forgotten for decades before being rediscovered by Interpreter Don R. Simons in 2001. The amphitheater is adjacent to the Cameron Bluff Overlook. 

 Mt. Magazine, from the restored amphitheater, with Bob Robinson.

Mt. Magazine, from the restored amphitheater, with Bob Robinson.


 Hawksbill Crag is one of the most photographed spots in Arkansas. Here, Stacy Price peeks over the edge after hiking in from the Cave Mountain Road trailhead near Boxley.

Hawksbill Crag is one of the most photographed spots in Arkansas. Here, Stacy Price peeks over the edge after hiking in from the Cave Mountain Road trailhead near Boxley.

Hawksbill Crag

GPS: 35.8983° N, 93.4580° W
Near Kingston

Promoted as the most photographed place in Arkansas, Hawksbill Crag is sure to be on a lot of peoples’ favorite lookouts list. The jutting rock formation offers unobstructed views 100 feet below into Whitaker Creek drainage, as it courses it way to join the Upper Buffalo River. The trailhead is located on Cave Mountain Road.


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Hemmed- in Hollow Falls

GPS: 36.0721° N, 93.3074° W
Near Compton

At 209 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains. The view of Hemmed-In Hollow Falls from the lookout on the hike from the Compton Trailhead offers an entirely different perspective of the falls than can be viewed by visitors from the base. From above, you can actually see the canyon carved into the bluff from centuries of runoff. 

 

From the lookout on the Compton Trailhead, visitors can get a good look at Hemmed-In Hollow Falls, the tallest waterfall between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains at 209 feet.