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johnnydr87

Favorite Natural Features of the Natural State

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Alright, what does this have to do with urban development? WELLLLL.....clearly... we need to plan strategically how we grow in the coming years so that it does not turn into mindless sprawl. We do not want our metro areas to infringe on delicate eco-systems!

That said, what are some of your favorite natural landmarks of the state (be specific, please)?

My top five:

1. Buffalo River

The first national river, and it's a beeaut. Towering cliffs, up to 500 feet high. Emerald green water. All enclosed in a valley of towering mountains.

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2. Lake Ouachita

The pictures just don't do the place justice. It's such a scenic lake. I recently went on a trip kayaking the lake with my family to some of the islands nearby the state park. There are over 300 islands in the lake. If you look at Google maps and satellite imagery, you'll see how immense the place is. We were only able to reach the closest islands in our alotted time.

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3. Mount Magazine State Park

The highest mountain in Arkansas. Oddly placed in the Arkansas River Valley, so the elevation depression is greater than if it were placed in the Ozarks or Ouachitas. They are building a lodge at the top. It seems whenever we've visited (summer) that there was always wildflowers at the top. It was always so colorful, mostly due to the fact taht it averages 6-10 degrees cooler than the valley below. It is such an strange ecosystem at the top of the mountain; it even has its own species of snail and several endangered butterflies make their home there. Stunning view at top.

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A small portion of my own pictures I took a few years ago:

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4. Little Missouri River:

It is designated a "Wild and Scenic" riverway. It was almost designated the second national river in Arkansas, after the Buffalo. It is the Ouachitas' answer to

the Buffalo River. Indeed, it is one of the few Ouachita attractions that stand up against the southern Ozarks.

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There are around 200 documented waterfalls in the state, and this is the most popular by virture of beauty and of course location. But there are so many that are practically untouched, especially in the Ozarks. Check out Tim Ernst's "Arkansas Waterfalls" if you're interested in more.

5. Cedar Falls, Petit Jean State Park

This is the most reliable major waterfall in Arkansas. A steady creek of water pours down all year long (although considerably less in summer). It's pretty big, and the canyon around it is pretty big as well. It's 90 feet high. The highest waterfall in arkansas is Hemmed in Hollow, which is over 200 feet, but only good to view during winter months.

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Viewing dock

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I left off a lot of interesting areas that I'm hoping some of you can pick up on. Queen Wilhelmina, Cossatot River (Arkansas only steady class V rapids), Crowleys ridge, the Delta, Ozark Highlands Trail, etc. etc. come to mind.

Interesting fact:

Arkansas holds the highest Ozarks (Boston Mountains) and Ouachitas (Rich Mtn.)

They are they highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and Rockies.

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Another interesting topic johnnydr87. I've heard of the Little Missouri River, but I must admit I don't know that much about it. I think it's the only place on your list I haven't been to. I'm not big on top ten list, but I'll list some areas I really like. Of course you gotta love the Buffalo River. Luckily I live close enough to it to visit it on a somewhat regular basis. I'd like to divide it down some more into some particular areas that I like quite a bit. Off Hwy 43 near Boxley is Lost Valley. It's not a particularly big area, but still a really nice place to visit. This is the place I like to take friends who are visiting if they aren't real big into hiking. A little further north off of Hwy 43 near Compton is Hemmed In Hollow Falls. The tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies. I don't know if anyone has the exact height, I always seem to see it listed at different heights usually around 190 to 220 ft. Just try to go after there's been some rain. It's not a heavy flow type waterfall, but I don't think I've ever seen it totally dry either. There are different ways to get there, if you happen to take the trail that goes past California Point give yourself plenty of time. I've heard many people say this trail is one of the steepest if not the steepest trail in the state. This next area is one a relatively short trail but you've probably seen a picture from this point. Hawksbill Craig/Whitaker Point seems to make it way onto a lot pictures dealing with the state of Arkansas. It's off of Hwy 21 just south of Boxley. Moving on to some other areas. I really enjoy Blanchard Springs Caverns near Mountain View a little further east of the Ozarks. It's a shame it doesn't seem to be as recognized as much as it should. It has a huge amount of formations for a cave it's size. Mt Magazine has to be on my list too. It's got so much unique flora and fauna. It's also the highest point in Arkansas. It's height is deceiving because it's in the Arkansas River Valley. I just hope they don't overdevelop it. If you've been recently you're sure to notice the huge lodge being built on the southern overlook area. I really like the days when you go up and it's 20 degrees cooler up at the top compared to the river valley. Mt Nebo and Mt Petit Jean are also two nice places that are also in the river valley. Mt Nebo has a really nice rim trail and Mt Petit Jean is also a great place that helped establish the Arkansas Park System. Which I'd like to point out that I haven't been to another state that has a state park system done as well as Arkansas's. I always just assumed other states did things like Arkansas's state parks, only to go visit other areas and feel a little disappointed. Our park system is a lot similar to the Natl Park system just on a smaller scale. One more area I'd like to mention that's back in the Ozarks. White Rock Mountain is in the Ozark Natl Forest. It's near the center of a boundary formed by four roads. East of I-540, north of I-40, west of Hwy 23 and south of Hwy 16. There's a nice rim trail on it also. There is some development on the mountain, some cabins some picnic areas. But it's one of the few places I can think of that you can look off the mountain in every direction and see no development or anything, just trees.

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Another interesting topic johnnydr87.  I've heard of the Little Missouri River, but I must admit I don't know that much about it.  I think it's the only place on your list I haven't been to.  I'm not big on top ten list, but I'll list some areas I really like.  Of course you gotta love the Buffalo River.  Luckily I live close enough to it to visit it on a somewhat regular basis.  I'd like to divide it down some more into some particular areas that I like quite a bit.  Off Hwy 43 near Boxley is Lost Valley.  It's not a particularly big area, but still a really nice place to visit.  This is the place I like to take friends who are visiting if they aren't real big into hiking.  A little further north off of Hwy 43 near Compton is Hemmed In Hollow Falls.  The tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies.  I don't know if anyone has the exact height, I always seem to see it listed at different heights usually around 190 to 220 ft.  Just try to go after there's been some rain.  It's not a heavy flow type waterfall, but I don't think I've ever seen it totally dry either.  There are different ways to get there, if you happen to take the trail that goes past California Point give yourself plenty of time.  I've heard many people say this trail is one of the steepest if not the steepest trail in the state.  This next area is one a relatively short trail but you've probably seen a picture from this point.  Hawksbill Craig/Whitaker Point seems to make it way onto a lot pictures dealing with the state of Arkansas.  It's off of Hwy 21 just south of Boxley.  Moving on to some other areas.  I really enjoy Blanchard Springs Caverns near Mountain View a little further east of the Ozarks.  It's a shame it doesn't seem to be as recognized as much as it should.  It has a huge amount of formations for a cave it's size.  Mt Magazine has to be on my list too.  It's got so much unique flora and fauna.  It's also the highest point in Arkansas.  It's height is deceiving because it's in the Arkansas River Valley.  I just hope they don't overdevelop it.  If you've been recently you're sure to notice the huge lodge being built on the southern overlook area.  I really like the days when you go up and it's 20 degrees cooler up at the top compared to the river valley.  Mt Nebo and Mt Petit Jean are also two nice places that are also in the river valley.  Mt Nebo has a really nice rim trail and Mt Petit Jean is also a great place that helped establish the Arkansas Park System.  Which I'd like to point out that I haven't been to another state that has a state park system done as well as Arkansas's.  I always just assumed other states did things like Arkansas's state parks, only to go visit other areas and feel a little disappointed.  Our park system is a lot similar to the Natl Park system just on a smaller scale.  One more area I'd like to mention that's back in the Ozarks.  White Rock Mountain is in the Ozark Natl Forest.  It's near the center of a boundary formed by four roads.  East of I-540, north of I-40, west of Hwy 23 and south of Hwy 16.  There's a nice rim trail on it also.  There is some development on the mountain, some cabins some picnic areas.  But it's one of the few places I can think of that you can look off the mountain in every direction and see no development or anything, just trees.

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No prob :-). The White Rock Mountain is pretty cool. I late May I went camping there on the Shores Lake loop with my dad. It was completely packed (memorial day weekend). The Shores Lake Loop trail was rated one of the five best in the nation by readers digest. The only bad thing was that the water falls (3 on the westloop, plus plenty of tricklers) were not well marked and the really dense brush (it was like a jungle) obscured your view of it from the trail unless you took a detour. The water was pretty.

Blanchard Springs and the other areas are nice too.

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Fourche Lafave River- has some of the most fun whitewater in the state, located in the Ouachitas, and has the best trail in Arkansas located right next to it.

Whittaker Point/Hawksbill Cragg- Beeuuutihfuhl. It took three men and a goat to keep me from leaping off it.

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Blanchard Springs Caverns in the Ozark National Forest outside of Mountain View is also worth a look.

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