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The Arkansas Ozark Mountains: A Scenic Journey

Updated on February 5, 2015
donotfear profile image

Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.

northwest arkansas:
Northwest Arkansas, United States

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An Ozark Hillbilly Vacation: Six days in the hills....

I knew it was time to take a vacation. I was burned out, bored, and summer was coming to an end. Then POOF! Out of the blue comes a friend from the past. And better, she was living in the deep boondocks of NW Arkansas! Oh, it gets even better. ON A MOUNTAIN. Yes, on a mountain in the Ozarks with horses, dogs, cats, goats, and chickens. Not to mention the untamed wildlife: deer and bears.

Now let me tell you, I'm no stranger to the boonies. I live in the bloomin' Sulphur River bottoms myself, surrounded by mosquitoes and buffalo gnats. Tons of armadillos, coon, skunks, and possums too. Ah. And the deer, coyotes, and bobcats. So wildlife is nothing new to me. But a chance to visit the untamed hills of Arkansas was too good to pass by. I took off for the Ozarks only 10 days after contacting my old friend again.

Upon arrival, I first had to master the driveway to her house. OMG! First, it's a straight shot down, then over the creek...up again..curve a little while the car is groaning and straining. Then the tires are churning but the car's staying in the same place. I'm spitting out rocks..bang! Oh rats, sounded like it hit the gas tank. Luckily, all was intact when I arrived at the quaint farmhouse on the Arkansas hill.

Farmhouse on the Hill.

Peaceful and rustic.
Peaceful and rustic.

Fox Trotters

First, I met all the animals.

What a surprise! I expected a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, but what I got was a woodsy, rustic hilltop strewn with rocks. I mean rocks are everywhere! But a nice view. Lots of animals greeted me. Dogs, cats, goats. Oh! And the Foxtrotters! These little mountain ponies can go go go! Little biddy things, built like deer. Slender as well, but tough as nails. I actually rode one of these fabulous animals. Wow, I loved it! Almost like Snowy River. This little mare, the spotted horse pictured, actually RAN up the side of the hill, kicking rocks in every direction like it was nothing. All the horses have shoes or they'd have tremendous footsores. The foxtrotter has an amazing gate. Smooth, swinging....and fast.

First couple of days sightseeing.

I got the tour of the countryside the next day. Had a great time seeing the hills and creeks, the little towns nestled in the mountains. The towns are remote and traveling time takes a while since you're in the hills. Roads are curvy and slow, so it takes time to get where you're going. We stopped at a couple of souvenir stores. Of course, I had to try to show how brave I was and attempted to climb a lookout tower designed for tourists, only to chicken out at the second level. But what lovely country! We planned to take a trail ride the next day, so I wanted to see everything possible the first day.

Deep hills of Arkansas beckon.
Deep hills of Arkansas beckon.

We both agreed.....

...this had to be the worst picture ever made of us!
...this had to be the worst picture ever made of us!

The next day, we got a late start. By the time we had the trailer hooked up and the horses loaded, it was early afternoon. It took about an hour & a half to get to where we were going. By the time we got the horses unloaded, huge, gray clouds were rolling in. Thunder was rumbling and lightening flashed in the distance. A park ranger drove up and told us the storm was expected to be intense. So we loaded up the horses and headed back. Not too far down the road, the truck starts acting up. Now what? We lost all oil pressure and heard a tapping noise. We pulled over next to a house where there were 2 kids playing. A really nice 'hill guy' came out and talked to us, looked under the hood and stuff. Amazing how the dialect changes when you visit other states. "You'ens from around here?" he asked. Well, we got the truck going and made it almost home, then it started acting up again. So we stopped at a lumber company to let the truck cool off. We had to unload the horses again, to keep them from getting too hot, since it was getting late in the day & it was still August. By the time we made it home, the day was shot. We were really disappointed but managed a quick ride before dark.

How many memories in this old house?

Reckon it's haunted?
Reckon it's haunted?
The "Hillbilly Cabin"
The "Hillbilly Cabin"

Rained out!

Well, what a bummer. It rained all night so that spoiled our plans for the next day. Since it rained so much, there was a chance the creeks would flood over the road and we'd be stuck somewhere for hours waiting for it to go down. I considered leaving a day early since our plans had been dashed. We were both bummed out about it, but spent most of the day talking and watching movies. By late afternoon, the sun was out, so we headed out to meet another friend of hers who had the same interests. On the way, I found a wonderful old house! And even better, check out the cool hillbilly house! Couldn't figure out if somebody actually lives there or not, but on the side of the old car, it says "Hillbilly Cabin". This was totally tasteless! I loved it!!!!

Old picture of the mill.
Old picture of the mill.
Here it is, Quigley's Castle
Here it is, Quigley's Castle

Plenty of excitement in Eureka Springs

Here's the artist I talked to.
Here's the artist I talked to.
This is a piece of the Berlin Wall.
This is a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Here we go, the final full day.

Well, it hardly seemed like I'd been there any time! Had to leave in 2 days, so we decided to get an early start for my last full day in the Arkansas Ozarks. Since there's tons of caves in the area, it made sense to visit a cave: War Eagle Cavern. You can read more about the cave here: Very interesting and fun. Privately owned, the cave had an underground stream with cold, clear water. Bats were flying around, too. I was impressed, it was very primitive. Next stop was War Eagle Mill. (picture at top right). We ate lunch in the cafe there and they had a pecan carmel dessert that was out of this world! Talk about a sugar high! After about an hour, my body crashed from the sugar and I dozed off. Next place on the list: Quigley's Castle!! Now this was an unusual tour. The house was made entirely of stone, rocks, and gems. The inside of the home is an actual greenhouse. You'd have to see it to believe it, so check it out. Finally, our last stop of the day was the fabulous, artsy, quaint Eureka Springs.

Eureka Springs

This little town reminds me of Hot Springs, with a German flair. It's full of old, cottage style type homes built very close together. There's lots of art, so if you are into it, this is the place to be. I snapped a pic of this artist dude who was trying to sell his work. I just thought the work was very colorful.

There's lots to see and do in this town, you really need to go to their website. I would like to mention a great leather shop Spring Street Leather at #11 Spring St and another at #37 S. Main. They had lots of leather purses, reasonably priced. It was well worth the visit. At right are a couple of pics I snapped in the area. There's so much more there, I didn't get to see it all. I hated to leave, but It was time to head home for the night. My last night.

What more can I say?

I had a really great time visiting the Ozarks. I plan to go back very soon. As I drove away, down the 'grand canyon' driveway, I felt sad to be leaving it behind. At the same time, I was really inspired to write about the trip. I'd been lots of places in this country, but never the Ozarks. Now I'm hooked!

So hooked, in fact, that I'd like to encourage everyone to visit this deeply cultural area and experience the "down home goodness" of the local people.

If anyone has ever wondered if there is anything to see in Arkansas, the answer is YES! Check out some of these links for information on one of the most beautiful states in the country.


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    • katrinasui profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It seems to be a wonderful place to visit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nice vacation. thanks for share.

    • mythbuster profile image


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      This is a great hub, donotfear. Thanks for sharing the details of your experiences during your Ozark Hillbilly Vacation - and the awesome pics - with us!

    • healthgoji profile image


      8 years ago

      Great stuff - the real America - you don't have to worry about these people trying to oppress others. Just laid back common folk!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      I have folks in that area. It does in fact have endless spots of the old hillbilly life style. I have dropped in from the Missouri side coming from Poplar Bluff. Great hub of your trip! I'll have to check on a map as to where you were in regard to the areas I have seen.

    • Kind Regards profile image

      Kind Regards 

      8 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

      donotfear, What a joy to read! I'm a huge fan of the Ozarks and Eureka Springs. I'm real curious about your neck of the woods too. I hope to see it someday. Kind Regards

    • profile image

      Steven Atwell 

      8 years ago

      Great article...

    • Mike the salesman profile image

      Mike the salesman 

      9 years ago from birmingham alabama/sherwood oregon

      Liked the article...Great pics! BTW!!!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Glad I was able to inspire yall' to visit!!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      nice vacation. thanks for share. it looks great place to visit. good picture also.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Love the pics! You really made me want to be there. Thanks for becoming a fan of mine. I'm looking forward to reading more of your hubs! You've got a new fan!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Neat travel story about an off-the-beaten-path destination. I love it! Thanks.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      No Apple Pan Dowdy....but that pecan carmel sweet fix I had at the Gris Mill was GOOOOD.

    • maven101 profile image


      9 years ago from Northern Arizona

      What !! No Apple Pan Dowdy..? No Shoo Fly Pie..? MY, MY...sounds like you had a lot of fun just exploring...Thanks for the travel Hub and pics...Larry

    • breakfastpop profile image


      9 years ago

      Great diary of a memorable trip. Thanks for sharing!


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