Arkansas Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide

Arkansas fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Arkansas fall foliage. — Andres Jauregui

The Ozark National Forest

Ozark National Forest in Arkansas is home to more than 130,000 acres of predominantly hardwood forest. Sumac and dogwood trees lead the area's autumnal parade of colors with reds that start showing in early October. Cooler temperatures bring out golden hickories and oaks that peak toward the beginning of November. One popular fall festival in the area is the annual Bean Fest held in the Ozark's Sylamore District town of Mountain View, which draws about 30,000 visitors every year. Local arts and crafts -- sold at various shops in town -- include jewelry, woodwork and artisan soap. Start your quest at the historic Courtsquare in downtown Mountain View.

Courtsquare, 107 W. Main St., Mountain View, AR 72560 | Get Directions

Talimena Scenic Drive

The town of Mena is the gateway to the Talimena Scenic Drive, a 54-mile-long byway that passes through the Ouachita National Forest and Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas before crossing the border into Oklahoma. Travelers along the route will enjoy picturesque views of fall foliage from misty Rich Mountain. The rocky mountain is the state's second-tallest peak and is known locally for its Civil War-era pioneer cemetery and corresponding ghost legend.

Talimena Scenic Drive East End Visitor Information Center | Get Directions

Lake Chicot State Park

Situated on the shores of Arkansas' largest natural lake, Lake Chicot State Park combines the scenic beauty of the Mississippi Delta with loads of recreational programming. Although the park provides amenities like rental cabins, Civil War reenactments and guided boat tours, its best-loved attractions are natural. Birding and fishing are popular year-round, and the oxbow lake's shores are set ablaze by fiery cypress and willows in the fall.

2542 Highway 257, Lake Village, AR 71653 | Get Directions

This photo slideshow includes colorful scenes of Arkansas fall foliage, including the Ozarks' "Grand Canyon."

Did we miss an Arkansas fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.