Preview of Travel Guide The Arkansas Delta Byways Travel Guide

Scenic Byways

We refer to our 15-county region as Arkansas Delta Byways because we are linked by two National Scenic Byways. Crowley's Ridge Parkway and our Arkansas segment of the 10-state Great River Road are among 150 diverse routes designated by the U. S. Department of Transportation to encourage travelers to get off the interstates and experience the heart of America.  You can use these routes as primary arteries through the Arkansas Delta, then follow the numerous loops and spurs to venture even further off the beaten path.

Logo for the American Byways. Map of Crowley's Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road. Logo for the Mississippi River.

Crowley's Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway traverses the ridge that rises out of the otherwise flat Delta region. The unusual landform is an erosional remnant of the Ice Age, carved out over millions of years by torrential rains. It has been built up even further over the past 12 million years by glacier gravel and windblown loess.

The ridge actually begins in Missouri, just below Cape Girardeau, and forms a crescent shape ending at Helena-West Helena in Arkansas. You'll find lots of natural attractions on the ridge, including plant communities trapped here by changing climate at the end of the Ice Age. Crowley's Ridge Parkway signage guides you along the 200-mile Arkansas segment of the route.

Named for the first documented white settler to this region, the highways that make up the scenic byway take you by sights that include museums, Native American sites, historic districts, cemeteries, Civil War battlefields, African American heritage sites, galleries, cultural centers and festivals. There are scenic vistas, wild flowers, forests and farms, old-fashioned country stores, antique shops and stands for home-grown fruits and vegetables.

Recreational opportunities along the route include five state parks, a national forest, and wildlife management areas - offering everything from fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, hiking, wildlife and bird watching, to tennis, photography, hunting, camping, and golf.

Designated official visitor centers for the parkway include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, the Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro, the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro, the St. Francis County Museum in Forrest City and the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena.

Our Great River Road-Arkansas National Scenic Byway is part of a route that originates in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and extends to the Gulf of Mexico, along both sides of the Mississippi River. The route is marked by green Pilot's Wheel signs.

The Arkansas segment follows Delta lands shaped by the awesome power of the river, but the river rarely shows itself as it is hidden behind giant levees. Over time, the river's rich alluvial soil has been adapted into America's most productive farmland.

The mighty Mississippi River carries transportation, recreation, energy and industry through the heartland of America. Fascinating stops along the way recall great moments in history. From the days of Native Americans, de Soto, Marquette and Joliet, the Civil War, steamboats and Mark Twain, the Mississippi River has played a vital role in the development of the nation. Treat yourself and your family to an unforgettable view of the Eastern Arkansas segment of this great route.

Official Arkansas interpretive centers for the Great River Road are located at the Delta Gateway Museum in Blytheville, Mississippi County Museum in Osceola, Hampson Archeological Museum State Park in Wilson, Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion, Parkin Archeological State Park in Parkin, Mississippi River State Park in St. Francis National Forest, Helena Museum of Phillips County in Helena-West Helena, Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena, Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge and Visitor Center in St. Charles, Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart, Arkansas Post National Memorial in Gillett, WWII Japanese American Internment Museum in McGehee, Lake Chicot State Park at Lake Village, and the Lakeport Plantation near Lake Village.

Great River Road Loops

To assist you in wandering through the Arkansas Delta Byways region, the National Scenic Byway designation for the Arkansas Great River Road includes seven recognized loops or spurs off the main route. You can find them in "Things to Do," along with a brief description of key attractions you should look for as you travel. From north to south, they include: