Arkansas Fall Foliage

PEAK WEEK has been determined for the Arkansas Buffalo River Region as November 1 – November 7, 2014

Featured Araknsas Fall Foliage drives can be viewed here on Arkansas.com

The #1 Arkansas Foliage Drive is Here in the Buffalo River Region

Post Pictures of Fall foliage at #visitarkansas

Here an up to date Fall Foliage report around Eureka Springs Here

 

 

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Buffalo RIver highlighted in release featuring Eureka Springs Vacations – Less than one hour from Downtown

FAMILIES VACATION “TOGETHER” IN EUREKA SPRINGS

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — What, in 2014, brings mom and dad with kids under 14 to a wonderful village set in The Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas for a family vacation?  This was the question to which local businesses here that are active in serving family vacationers wanted to know.  So an informal survey was conducted and the one overriding comment that kept surfacing was, “In Eureka Springs our whole family can vacation together.”

“That’s it!  Sure,” exclaimed Jack Moyer, general manager of the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.  “Thanks to our unusual collection of family attractions everyone does everything together.  You don’t see half the group, usually the younger ones, standing in line to ride the skyscraper, loop-de-loop ride while the other half bakes on the asphalt waiting for ‘em.”

He continued, “I guess you can say added to that is the fact that our set is authentic.  Downtown is an attraction in itself that boasts hundreds of unique buildings, shops and eateries that are still individually owned and operated by the same people as decades ago.  We’ve got the best people watching anywhere in Arkansas.  Our crazy streets, caves, springs and sidewalks offer exciting urban exploring.  Eureka Springs is truly a family adventure enjoyed still today by those special groups known as ‘the family’.”

Although downtown is the crown jewel of Eureka Springs, family fun certainly doesn’t stop there.  For surrounding this vacation community are hills, hollers, and water holes.  The Ozark Mountains may afford families stimulating wilderness hiking trails but summer calls for water fun.  Nearby venues for families to get wet include three rivers -Kings, White and Buffalo- and three lakes -Beaver, Table Rock and Leatherwood- with those first two being considered “big water”.  Many families like to bring their own boats, kayaks and canoes with rentals at area marinas.  Numerous picturesque places to swim, such as the beaches at Beaver Dam, can accommodate any sized family’s penchant for splashing.

Two of Eureka Springs’ newest family attractions are Ozark Mountain Zipline and Intrigue Theater.  Both get hearts pumping a little bit faster.  Ozark Mountain Zipline, which accepts five-year-old children and up, is the largest zipline adventure in the state.  Families love the exhilarating thrill of being 200 feet in the air and flying along on an 1,800-foot journey through the canopy of Ozark hardwoods.  Intrigue Theater takes families’ breath away as mystery and illusion appear then disappear in the blink of an eye.  A surprise visit of a special guest from “the other side” will have the family asking each other “How’d he do that?” long after they have left this small, historic, limestone, some say eerie, retrofitted Victorian church.

Atop Eureka Springs’ two facing city mountains, families will experience ghost stories on one and “the greatest story ever told” on the other.  Nightly, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, “Americas Most Haunted Hotel”, takes families on a ghost tour through century-old hallways that some say are inhabited by those “guests who check out but never leave”.  Later that night, Flickering Tales will have families sitting around an open campfire while listening to Ozark ghost stories followed by a midnight sojourn to the hotel’s morgue.  The Great Passion Play is performed in an open amphitheater by a huge cast with live animals on a set that expertly replicates biblical locations.  The play sits in the shadow of the Christ of The Ozarks, the second tallest Christ statue in the western hemisphere.

Most vacationing families do not leave Eureka Springs until they have visited some well established and greatly loved local attractions.  Feeding time at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge serves up “Oohs” and “Ahs “ as families watch hundreds of nature’s most powerful beasts -big cats and huge bears- enjoy “dinner at home” in their habitats.  Great music and clean family comedy is enjoyed nightly at the Ozark Mountain Hoe-down and Pine Mountain Theater.  And not many families get to ride on the open-air, back platform of a trolley but sprawling intra-city travel aboard several operated by Eureka Springs Trolleys will and all for just one daily fare per person.

“And when your family screams for ice cream, two places that will quiet them while exciting the sweet tooth of each are Colossal Cupcakes and Cones and The Big Dipper,” Moyer added.

Moyer concluded, “Eureka Springs is family budget friendly.  Families will find more than 2,500 sleeping rooms with a comfortable range of affordability.  Within our vast assortment of wonderful restaurants, ranging from the casual such as Pancake’s Family Restaurant to the more upscale like Local Flavor, families can find a menu that best fits their family’s tastes and pocketbook.

“Simply put, Eureka Springs is just a great complete family vacation destination enjoyed by the complete family.  Lifetime memories are generational too. I guess that is why we see so many grandparents bringing back their grandkids.  They want to share, to repeat that ‘family vacationing together’ experience.”

For a full list of Eureka Springs lodging visit EurekaSpringsonline.com or for a list of attractions and things to do visit ReserveEureka.com.

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17th annual Buffalo River Elk Festival

17th annual Buffalo River Elk Festival

If you have some time to drive to the Ozarks, the 17th Annual Buffalo River Elk Festival is happening in Jasper. This event celebrates Newton County’s title of “Elk Capital of Arkansas.” You will find artists, crafts, entertainment, a fishing derby and much more. More details at:http://on.kthv.com/Tpg3rB

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Buffalo River Long Range Interpretive Plan Meetings announced

Harrison Tuesday May 20th 5:30 303 N Main St

Jasper Tuesday May 20th 3:30 Newton County Library

St. Joe Thursday May 22 5:50 Tyler Bend Visitor Center

Buffalo Point Wednesday May 21 5:30 Buffalo Point Restaurant

 

With questions contact caven_clark@nps.gov

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Tulsa World writes about the Buffalo River Region

PONCA, Ark. — For those who grew up in the hills of Oklahoma and Arkansas, the outdoors were our playground.

Our expansive, wooded, sometimes dangerous playground.

And with springtime ushering in warmer weather, it’s time to get back outside and keep playing.

Opportunities for hiking, camping, canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding and more are plentiful across the hills of eastern Oklahoma and northern and western Arkansas. Often the activities are available at reasonable prices, many even free.

My favorite part of any playground was the slide, and nature’s slides are the many rivers that cut through the landscape

About three hours east of Tulsa, drop into the Buffalo National River, the first river to receive federal protection in the country.

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Boston Globe reports on teh Buffalo River Region

 

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The Boston Mountains in northwest Arkansas are subtle features as mountains go. They don’t loom across the plains like the Rockies or overshadow the piedmont like the Appalachians. These mountains, with some of the highest summits between those two more famous ranges, have a hidden grandeur that sneaks up on you.

 

Instead of soaring peaks that define the landscape from afar, steep valleys emerge suddenly from behind the curves of winding mountain roads. Down wooded paths, sandstone platforms extend into the air atop eroded columns that seem barely capable of holding them in place. Waterfalls cascade into secluded pools. Wild elk call from the hills and amble across open fields. And because the area is home to huge swaths of protected land, most of it can be explored free of charge.

 

Frontier settlers named these the Boston Mountains — not because of any connection with Massachusetts but because of the area’s challenging terrain. To Westerners of the day, the word “Boston’’ was shorthand for any very difficult thing. One 19th-century stagecoach passenger who crossed the region declared that many hills and roads in the Northeast were “pimples and sandpaper compared with the Ozark ranges,” which reach higher than 2,500 feet in places.

Read the Full Story

The stark face of Roark Bluff along the Buffalo National River.

BRAD SCRIBER FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

The stark face of Roark Bluff along the Buffalo National River.

 

Ambitious hikers can tackle the area’s landscape with a multi-day trek up and down the steep slopes of the 165-mile-long Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail. But luckily, family-friendly day hikes will take you to the most iconic sites, including Pedestal Rocks and Whitaker Point, known affectionately as Hawksbill Crag for the birdlike shape of its profile.

 

Even a tour by car will serve up more than its fair share of vistas since almost every road carries some sort of scenic route designation. The most well known is the Scenic 7 Byway, which runs north from Interstate 40 to Jasper, a logical base for exploring the Buffalo River area. Cliff House, six miles south of Jasper, has rooms that directly overlook the state’s Grand Canyon. In town, the Arkansas House Inn’s Boardwalk Cafe serves an organic-focused menu with entrees made from locally-raised, free-range elk and buffalo and locally-trapped razorback.

 

A short drive west from Jasper will bring you to Lost Valley, where you can squeeze through a passage in a cave at the end of an easy mile-long hike to find a hidden 25-foot waterfall. Nearby you can make the roughly 4-mile round-trip hike to Hawksbill Crag.

 

After these hikes, pull to the side of the road in the Boxley Valley just south of Ponca at dusk to watch the elk emerge — the region’s top wildlife-spectator event. A herd of about 500 animals thrives here thanks to repopulation efforts in the 1980s. In the fall breeding season, the sound of bulls bugling to attract mates and scare off rivals fills the valley. On weekend nights stop at the Low Gap Café on the drive back to Jasper for dinner on the covered patio complete with live mountain music.

 

Jasper and its surrounding areas are home to some of the most stunning natural sights, but the entire range is worth exploring.

 

In the Arkansas River Valley that parallels Interstate 40 you will find a cluster of vineyards, anchored by Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. Founded in 1880 as the eighth bonded winery in the country, Wiederkehr continued producing during Prohibition thanks to an allowance for sacramental wine. The original cellar is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers free tastings and tours.

 

North of I-40 to the west, the Boston Mountains scenic loop starts by taking you up a former stagecoach route along Highway 71 past Lake Fort Smith State Park. Originally a Depression-era Works Progress Administration project, the park serves as the western trailhead for the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail.

 

The recently built Interstate 540, the other half of the scenic loop, offers stunning views as well. It doesn’t allow you to pull off the road for pictures, but it will bring you to Bentonville, birthplace of the Walmart empire. The first Walton’s five and dime storefront is preserved here and serves as a museum celebrating Walmart founder Sam Walton. The front counter is full of nostalgic toys and candies, and the museum exits through a soda shop at the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street in the town square.

 

The jewel of Bentonville and the other Walton family legacy is the two-year-old Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, showcasing a world-class collection of works by American artists from Thomas Cole to Andy Warhol. Free to the public thanks to underwriting from Walmart, it has already welcomed a million visitors.

Steep forested slopes meet agricultural land in a valley just north of Cass, Arkansas.

 

History buffs may want to venture east to Pea Ridge National Military Park, site of a battle that beat back Confederate troops and kept Missouri in the Union.

 

Tourist trap buffs may want to continue to Eureka Springs, a town founded around waters believed to have healing properties, now busy competing with itself for the attention and dollars of out-of-towners. Alpine themed inns intermingle with Old West restaurants, hippie chic boutiques, go-kart courses, and more than one musical revue. At the edge of town the king of local spectacle is a seven-story statue of Jesus that anchors a Bible theme park where a troupe performs an outdoor Passion Play from May to October.  Visit Eureka Springs

 

Route 23, known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, will lead you back from Eureka Springs to the understated rural landscapes at the heart of the region, like the tiny farm village named Boston near the headwaters of the Kings, Mulberry, and Buffalo rivers.

 

The region’s waterways typically run deeper after healthy rains in the spring and summer, making them easier to explore. But you may also choose to head down in late October when paddling is less crowded and the hillsides are carpeted with color amid the change of seasons. Whenever you’re ready, the biggest little mountain range you’ve never heard of will be waiting.

 

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Controlled Burn in the National Park

FIRE ALERT for Arkansas Spring Break Travel

Buffalo National River had a 350-acre controlled burn at Slay Branch in Searcy County which remained contained and controlled according to plan. The majority of the smoke affecting Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Boone counties are attributed to multiple prescribed burns totaling 16,000 acres by the United States Forest Service as well as a number of authorized controlled burns on private property. But volunteer fire departments, Arkansas Forestry Commission, and National Park Service fire crews have been kept busy throughout with smaller burns that have easily gotten out of control with the persistent dry conditions and winds.

The most recent burn threatening Buffalo National River, called the Moore Creek Fire is believed to have started yesterday but was not identified until late in the day as its smoke was cloaked by that of other fires in the area. Very rough topography prevented deployment of assets last night. The current location of the fire straddles Moore Creek, west-northwest of Boxley Church (the church is not threatened). The cause of the fire is unknown. There are three homes and a stationary bus that are threatened by the fire.
There are currently six National Park Service, three Arkansas Forestry Commission (including two dozers), and three Ponca VFD firefighters assigned to the Moore Creek Fire and additional assets have been requested, not only for this blaze, but in anticipation of a generally very busy day. Asset availability is very limited in this part of the state given the number of fires.
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Spring break in the Buffalo River Region / Eureka Springs

Just when you thought the Winter Warlock would never leave town, he has.  Defrosted and ready to welcome students, families and couples ready for Spring Break is probably the most popular destination in the Arkansas Ozarks, Eureka Springs.  Not only is flora beginning to blossom but area attractions are opening up as well.

“We anticipate this to be our biggest Spring Break in decades,” stated Bill Ott. past chairman of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.  “Folks in our market area have been held hostage in their  homes much too much this winter by cold, snow and ice.  Cabin fever is at epidemic level and Eureka Springs has the cure.”

“A huge portion of our fever-reducing Rx is the list of area attractions that reopen just in time for these marvelous weeks in March,” Ott explained.  “Everything from ghosts to big cats, from downtown tours to uptown illusions and everything in between will keep “spring breakers” well entertained while being just steps away from Mother Nature’s reawakened living room.”

A partial list of Eureka Springs attractions that will be open during Spring Break 2014 include Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours, Eureka Ghost Tours at Basin Park Hotel, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, “Hell Raisers, Hoodlums & A Heated History” Walking Tour, Eureka Springs Downtown-N-Underground Tour, Intrigue Theater, and Pig Trail Kart N Golf.  A complete list of open attractions is available by calling the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce at 800-638-7352.

“Those ‘big kids’ who really want to unwind during their spring break visit here, will visit one of the many spas that dot the hillsides of this stair-step town,” Ott continued.  “And when optimum relaxation is reached, interest turns to food.  For that, Eureka Springs boasts one of the greatest selections of quality restaurants in the state.”

Unfortunately, some in Arkansas and the surrounding states have had their spring breaks cut a day or two short this year because of make-up snow days.  This means many families will be looking for an exciting destination closer to home so valuable “break” time will not be lost to hours of driving.  Plus, “spring breakers” have said that Eureka Springs is a compact enough community that even a few days can be filled with a week full of activities.

“Our research shows that one of the most popular activities during Spring Break is simply exploring this historic, distinctive destination,” noted Ott.  “Just a few feet off of a busy downtown street will put you on a forested trail that will take you to hidden treasures of a town that time forgot.  Best of all, parents feel safe enough here to allow their older kids a chance to explore on their own when accompanied by a cell phone.”

With the compact spring break season, travelers to Eureka Springs are urged to make their lodging reservations far in advance.  Some attractions, spas and restaurants require advance reservations as well.

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TouringtheOzarks.com features the Buffalo River Region

The region’s largest motorcycle touring site has featured the Buffalo River Region and its motorcycle roads.

“With some of the most scenic roads in Ozarks, we wanted to make sure our site visitors from all over the country would know about and plan to visit the Buffalo River Region”

http://touringtheozarks.com/html/buffalo_river.html

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ALERT: Visitors should be aware of the new trash policy in the Buffalo River Park

From the Springfield News Leader

Jane Goodall once said, “It is individual efforts, collectively, that make a noticeable difference — all the difference in the world!”

Managers at Buffalo National River in Arkansas will put this theory to the test this spring as they implement a new solid waste management strategy that relies on park visitors to dispose of their own trash.

The new “Give Us a Hand” policy Read More at http://www.news-leader.com/article/20140213/LIFE06/302130051/Buffalo-River-trash?nclick_check=1

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