Crowley’s Ridge in Arkansas

crowley's ridge, by pflyIf you’ve ever driven through the northeastern part of Arkansas, you know just exactly how flat and treeless it is. With rice and soybean fields as far as the eye can see and only a few stands of trees between properties, it looks nothing like the Ozarks. And yet there’s a slice of the Ozarks in northeast Arkansas—or at least it feels a lot like the Ozarks. It’s called Crowley’s Ridge.

The Ridge runs between Port Girardeau in Missouri and Helena in Arkansas, hitting Jonesboro along the way. The area was not widely settled until the very late 1880s and early 1900s and much of it is still wild. Formed as a sandbar between the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers, the ridge stayed after the rivers shifted and joined up further upstream. The forested sandbar rises up above the rest of the Mississippi plains and boasts spectacular views and hiking.

Crowley’s Ridge State Park offers campsites that are perfect for an overnight stay to enjoy a sunrise and sunset on the ridge. Located near Paragould, the park has primitive and RV campsites for tent camping and a few trails for hiking during the day. If you’re looking for a family outing to a new area of Arkansas, be sure to visit the Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center south of Jonesboro and drive along the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway for some promising views. At the Nature Center you’ll find educational displays, a video about the history of the area, and hiking trails that go through different types of habitat you’ll find in the area. A lookout tower at the top of a crest is worth a visit to see for miles and miles, especially at sunset.

We recommend going before the trees have leaves so you can enjoy the views for all they’re worth before the foliage starts to block the view!

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