Arkansas Fall Color Updates Available

Story by:

Kerry Kraus, Travel Writer for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

First posted on 09-18-2009

School is back in session, weekends are marked by the sounds of football games, and the weather is turning cooler. That means one thing in Arkansas: It’s fall color season A team of spotters begin reporting on Sept. 24. The up-to-date foliage changes are added to late Thursday afternoons until the season ends. The reports are also available by calling 501-682-7777 or 1-800-NATURAL.

Predicting when the peak of the oranges, golds, reds, bronzes, and yellows takes place is about as easy as knowing the exact moment it will snow. Generally speaking, the Ozarks of northern Arkansas turn first, usually around the end of September into early October. The Ouachitas, Central Arkansas, and the Arkansas River Valley change a week or so later. The Arkansas Delta and Timberlands of south Arkansas take-on color by early November. This ripple effect allows for multiple opportunities to view fall color and discover new regions throughout Arkansas.

Autumn is an eagerly awaited season in The Natural State. In addition to the glowing colors, there are tons of events each week—large, medium, and small in size but all high on the fun scale. Among these are the Arkansas Apple Festival in Lincoln, the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in Helena-West Helena, the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, Crossett’s Wiggins Cabin Festival, and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Others include the Haunted Cathedral in Little Rock, the Grand Prairie Rice Festival in Hazen, and Mountain View’s annual Beanfest and Outhouse Races. War Eagle Weekend, possibly some of the busiest days of the year in Arkansas, is the third weekend in October. A shopper’s fantasy, it features over 10 major festivals taking place in northern Arkansas. Additional events can be found in the calendar of events on

Arkansas is blessed with many highways perfect for viewing autumn’s splashy show. Scenic Ark. 7 is the most familiar route. Ample opportunities to experience fall color and small town charm are found as the highway winds through the Ozark Mountains, the Arkansas River Valley, the Ouachita Mountains, and into the timberlands. On Sept. 16, named Scenic 7 as one of their top 15 picks for fall excursions. Descriptions of this thoroughfare and others are available on the page.

Other well-known routes include Arkansas’s three national scenic byways: the Talimena Scenic Drive, the Great River Road, and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway. Talimena rides the crest of Rich Mountain near Mena, crossing the border into Oklahoma. Don’t miss Queen Wilhelmina State Park atop the mountain. A Sept. 10 National Geographic Traveler blog named Talimena one of the Top Ten Fall Foliage Drives in the country. Crowley’s Ridge follows its namesake geological formation through the eastern Arkansas Delta and the St. Francis National Forest. Also in this area of the state, the Great River Road parallels the Mississippi River while showcasing some of Arkansas’s most historic places.

U.S. Forest Service-designated scenic drives, and those selected by the Arkansas Legislature, afford even more viewing opportunities. All of these routes are marked on the official Arkansas State Highway Map, which is included in the Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit It can be ordered through, 1-800-NATURAL, or 501-682-7777.