Arkansas: The Natural State.
Nowhere is that motto more fitting than this place I love and call home. Located in the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks, I can see why my fellow RVers gravitate to our rugged and sparsely populated county.
What brings them here is the same thing that originally lured us; forested hills and hollers that offer the promise of endless outdoor activities among beautiful surroundings. Just when you think there can’t be any more to do, you find a local that will give you directions to another site over “yonder” that you must see. Take their advice and you’ll see that they’re right.
Hiking in Arkansas
Hiking in the Ozarks is a beloved pastime and we’re blessed enough to live within a short drive of many of the most popular trails.
Photos of Hawksbill Crag, the most traveled trail destination, grace many magazines to advertise the beauty of Arkansas.
There are so many more miles of supreme paths to enjoy, though. Take the time to research the options available within your preferences and you’ll find trails leading to very old home-sites, historical locations and awe-inspiring waterfalls.
Civil War history and tales of bandit hideouts are plentiful, along with locations that bear traces of the Native American inhabitants that once called this area home.
RV Camping on the Buffalo National River
As attractive as the trails are, there is one place that seems to be the center of attention, America’s first National River: the Buffalo.
This beauty begins its trek from a trickle in the western hills of Newton County and winds nearly 150 miles northward through the valleys of the Ozarks until it merges with the White River in Baxter County. The clear, pristine waters of the Buffalo National River are a priceless resource and camping along the Buffalo is a magnet that attracts people year after year.
For those who love to float, whether in canoe or kayak, the water is irresistible and spring rains provide a level that give experienced paddlers a memorable trip.
As the water levels drop, Buffalo National River becomes a mecca for floaters that desire a more leisurely view of the majestic bluffs and waterfalls along the route.
Anglers on the Buffalo National River (Photo credit: NPCA Photos on Flickr)
Whether you like to fish for trout or take a swim in the pristine waters of the river, there are plenty of deeper holes even in the dry summer to please, too!
RVing in Arkansas with Motorcycles, Horses and Bikes
For those who enjoy exploring on two wheels, this entire region is known for a welcoming attitude toward motorcyclists. In nearby counties, there are whole festivals dedicated to bikers, as well as stores to provide everything you may need on the road. From early spring to late fall, riders are seen taking in the sights along our scenic byways.
Determined bicyclists are also be seen miraculously pedaling up and down the steep grades of our narrow mountain roads, and a bike race is held once a year for those who enjoy this extreme form of road bicycling.
Yet another mode of travel is by horseback and trails can be found throughout the National Forest, as well as horse camps where campers and RVers bring their favorite four-legged mounts with them. Enjoy a feeling of nostalgia as you see riders taking advantage of hitching posts available in front of many nearby businesses.
RVing in The Natural State
I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love about RVing is getting to be closer with nature as I travel and visit new places.
These serene mountains and woods provide shelter to all kinds of creatures, putting nature right at your doorstep. As you can imagine, wildlife is abundant here.
Some are not shy at all, such as the elk who seem to barely notice the lines of cars stopped to photograph them as they feed in nearby fields. They even entertain themselves by causing brief traffic jams when they choose to stand in the roadway.
Other wildlife are seldom seen, such as the black bear, but occasionally you may catch a glimpse of one as you travel along a woodland path. Deer, eagle, turkey, coyote and even cougar call these hills home, too, and quietly share it with the many visitors.
Once you’ve had all the nature you want for the day, there are places to come back to civilization for hot meals and cold drinks.
One of these places is Jasper, where you’ll find treasures like one of their downtown cafes which has been featured in foodie magazines and even on Travel Channel. Stick around long enough and you’ll get to take in one of many music events.
If you want to learn more about the county lore, true or not, just offer to buy a local a drink and listen to them spin their tales.
RVing in Arkansas
Don’t let the thought of soaring mountains deter you from visiting here in your RV. The hills here can be steep and winding, and some roads are narrow with no shoulder, but they are nowhere close to traveling the Rockies or Appalachians.
The weather here is moderate, but can be unpredictable in the winter, so keeping an eye on weather forecasts is wise.
Slow and careful will get you safely to the few parks located here in the county or you may opt to travel another hour up the road to the Escapees Turkey Creek RV Village at Hollister, Missouri, for lodging.
Arkansas RV Travel
There’s no way to write a short piece about everything that we have to offer here in our neck of the woods, because there are so many things to mention…
If you find yourself wandering this way, make plans to visit Newton County in the Ozarks, where the locals are welcoming, the food is memorable and nature is always ready to tempt your return.
Lockie Sailer is a native of western North Carolina, with deep roots in Texas. Her travels, both for recreation and employment, have carried her through many states and countries while full- and part-time RVing.
Married for 29 years and the mother of three sons, she has managed to juggle family and career, while still continuing her journeys that ultimately led her to set up a homestead in the beautiful Ozark mountains.
Lockie has been honored to be the Escapees Chapter/BoF Director since 2016.
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