Ouachita National Forest


This wild and pretty forest is studded with lakes and draws hunters, fishers, mountain-bike riders and boaters. The small roads through the mountains unfailingly lead to hidden nooks and wonderful views. The Ouachita boasts two designated National Forest Scenic Byways: Arkansas Scenic Hwy 7 and Talimena Scenic Byway, navigating mountain ranges from Arkansas into Oklahoma. The forest is enormous, but can be easily accessed from Hot Springs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Arkansas attractions

1. Gangster Museum of America

12.95 MILES

Learn about the sinful glory days of Prohibition, when this small town in the middle of nowhere turned into a hotbed of lavish wealth thanks to Chicago…

2. Galaxy Connection

12.96 MILES

And now for something completely different: a museum dedicated to Star Wars. This fantastically geeky temple is the labor of love of one particularly…

4. Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum

12.98 MILES

This wax museum is a throwback to the days when an off brand wax museum was all your town needed to be a tourism attraction. From the moment you enter and…

5. Hot Springs National Park

12.99 MILES

On Bathhouse Row in the 1915 Fordyce bathhouse, the NPS visitor center and museum has exhibits about the park's history, first as a Native American free…

6. Hot Springs Mountain Tower

13.42 MILES

On top of Hot Springs Mountain, the 216ft tower has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains covered with dogwood, hickory, oak and pine – lovely in…

7. Anthony Chapel

15.57 MILES

Located just across from the Garvan Woodland Gardens, the Anthony Chapel is an architectural masterpiece. This soaring, wood-and-glass complex, built in…

8. Garvan Woodland Gardens

15.57 MILES

While these are technically the University of Arkansas' botanical gardens, Garvan feels more like a forest grove caught between the mountains and an…