Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Arkansas

Ozarks Rival New England for Color

Coin-operated telescope at a Highway 7 public viewing point in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
Wesley Hitt / Getty Images

Some may not be aware that Arkansas, the Natural State, is the perfect place to see fall foliage in all of its glory. Some say fall colors in Arkansas rival the New England states, especially in the Ozarks and northern Arkansas.

Leaves normally start to change color at the beginning of October when the temperature starts to drop. This varies somewhat from year to year, but it usually occurs by mid-October. The color change moves from north to south, with brilliant peak color coming in by the end of October to mid-November, depending on the region.

Arkansas' rich variety of trees and mild climate make the changing foliage especially striking. A moist growing season and a dry, cool autumn with little to no frost make for the most vivid leaf colors, and Arkansas weather often fits that profile. To see the fall colors in Arkansas, take the time to visit a state park or take a scenic drive to one of the state's nature-rich regions.

Arkansas fall landscape and lake in Petit Jean state park
kanonsky / Getty Images

The Ozarks

The Ozarks and northern Arkansas are the first places in the state to be painted bright red, orange, and even a pretty purple color. The first leaves usually start to change here in early October. The Ozarks have many acres of national forests that contain black gum trees, which will turn red early on in the season, plus maples, hickories, and oaks. Many of the trees look their most brilliant in late October, so be sure to plan to make a trip through the Ozarks then.

The Ouachitas

In mid-October, the leaves in the southern part of the state start to change to their vivid fall palette, and they reach their peak of color in early to mid-November. Ouachita State Park is the best place to see the beautiful hues that the many oaks, maples, and other hardwood trees take on. The colors you see while driving through the forest or hiking down a nature trail in this part of the state make those activities more interesting during this time of the year, and the mild climate makes Arkansas state parks even more appealing. Pinnacle Mountain and Petit Jean are great places to view foliage, too. They are close to Little Rock and make nice day trips.

Delta and Gulf Coastal Plain

In Arkansas, this is one of the last areas to be painted by nature's palette. You should venture down south and east in mid-November. Many state parks are in the southern portion of the state; they include Lake Chicot, Moro Bay, and Logoly. All of these have many trees that will be showing off their pretty new leaves in November.

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