Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma
Hot Springs National Park
Beautiful Bathhouse Row is
one of the historic features
preserved at Hot Springs
Wilhelmina State Park
This beautiful Arkansas state
park offers spectacular views
of the Ouachita Mountains as
well as cabins and a hotel.
Horse Thief Spring
Legend holds that this spring
in Oklahoma were used by
"Old West" outlaws hiding out
in the Ouachitas.
The Ouachitas of Arkansas and Oklahoma
|The Beautiful Ouachita Mountains
Stretching from Hot Springs, Arkansas into western
Oklahoma, the Ouachitas are the tallest mountains
between the Smokies and the Rockes.
History and Mountain Beauty
One of America's most beautiful and historic
mountain ranges is also one of its least
The spectacular Ouachita Mountains of
Arkansas and Oklahoma are the tallest
mountains between the Appalachians and
the Rockies. They rise near Hot Springs,
Arkansas and stretch far across the border
into eastern Oklahoma.
A beautiful and mysterious region, the
Ouachitas are rich in history and scenic
wonders. The eastern part of the mountains
may have been explored by Hernando de
Soto during the 1500s and residents near
Heavener, Oklahoma believe early Viking
explorers penetrated the region hundreds of
years earlier. The town's historic Runestone
is believed by some to have been carved by
The famed "hot springs of the Ouachita" have
been a marvel for thousands of years. Early
Native Americans visited the springs,
followed by explorers and brave souls from
back East who came to Hot Springs hoping
to find cures for various diseases in the
steaming waters. Hot Springs National Park
was the first natural resource preserved by
the government of the United States.
Overtime settlers drifted into the Ouachitas.
Along the Arkansas section of the mountains,
hardy mountain people scratched a living
from the thin soil while timber companies
clear cut thousands of acres of land. On the
Oklahoma side of the line, the mountains
extended into the lands set aside for the
Choctaw Nation at the time of its removal
from Mississippi. Choctaw settlers hunted
and explored the mountains, establishing
settlements in the valleys and near water
In time the National Forest Service acquired
vast areas of the mountains, restoring the
stripped and eroding hillsides and creating
the Ouachita National Forest. President
Ronald Reagan also declared the Winding
Stair area a National Recreation Area during
Today, the Ouachita Mountains are a
wonderland of scenic beauty and history.
Thousands of acres of public land are
available for outdoor pursuits of all sites and
well-preserved historic sites dot the
The mountains are easy to explore by car.
Beautiful scenic highways, including the
famed Arkansas Highway 7, lead out from
Hot Springs. To the west, the spectacular
Talimena Scenic Drive connecting Mena,
Arkansas with Talihina, Oklahoma is one of
the most beautiful scenic highways in
Hundreds of miles of hiking trails also wind
through the mountains and there are cabins,
campsites, picnic areas and lodges.
To begin your exploration of the beautiful
Ouachita Mountains, follow the links below:
The Winding Stair
This beautiful view was taken
from an overlook along the
Talimena Scenic Drive. The
Winding Stair region played
an important role in the book
and movie "True Grit."
|Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: May 2, 2014