Take a Sunday drive any day of the week and enjoy The Gladlands' spectacular views along our meandering scenic roads.
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway
Crowley's Ridge, the narrow strip of land rising out of the Arkansas Delta from Clay County to Phillips County, is the only geological formation of its kind in the United States. A 200-mile route that runs along this ridge was designated in 1998 as Arkansas' first National Scenic Byway.
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, and historic districts and cemeteries.
Along the way are Civil War battlefields, African-American heritage sites, galleries, cultural centers and festivals. There are scenic vistas, wild flowers, forests and farms, plus old-fashioned country stores, antique shops and stands for homegrown fruits and vegetables.
Recreational opportunities along the route include four 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.
The parkway runs through The Gladlands on various roads. It enters St. Francis County on Hwy 284 just North of Forrest City. (There is a side trip the Crowley’s Ridge parkway offers taking you to the town of Colt on Hwy 306). The route through Forrest City is as follows: South on S.H. 284 to Forrest Street, south to E. Broadway, west to Izard Street, south to East Front Street, west to the intersection with S.H. 1 South.
Depart Forrest City via S. H. 1 South to U. S. 79, then east into Marianna.
The Route through Marianna is as follows: South on U.S. 79 and S.H. 1 to Chestnut, east to Poplar Street, south to its intersection with S.H. 44 South.
Depart Marianna via S.H. 44 and through the St. Francis National Forest. Depart the St. Francis National Forest via S. H. 242 south, then east on U.S. 49 B into Helena.
The Great River Road
Eastern Arkansas is a vital part of The Great River Road, a scenic parkway that follows the Mississippi River through the ten states bordering the river.
From its headwaters at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to its entry into the Gulf of Mexico, the mighty Mississippi River flows transportation, recreation, energy and industry through the heartland of America. Fascinating stops all along the way recall great moments in history.
The history of America evolved along the banks of this mighty stream. 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. Just follow the green and white pilot wheel highway markers as you travel. Arkansas interpretive centers for The Great River Road are located at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena and Lake Chicot State Park at Lake Village.
The Great River Road-Arkansas follows Delta lands shaped by the awesome power of the Mississippi River. Throughout the journey, the river rarely shows itself. But its handiwork is evident in the natural landforms and the rich alluvial soil that once nurtured only swamps, bayous and bottomland forests. Over time, diverse cultures have inhabited the region, adapting the river's fertile gifts into the most production farmland in the world, and leaving echoes of their history on the landscape.
Out-of-state travelers are likely to enter The Great River Road-Arkansas via connecting Great River Road segments in Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi or Louisiana. Access points include U. S. 61 South from Missouri, I-55 North from Tennessee, U. S. 49 West from Mississippi, U. S. 82 West from Mississippi, or U. S. 65 North from Louisiana. For convenience, driving directions are given from North to South. But feel free to pick up the byway from any direction and take plenty of time to enjoy the sights.
The Great River Road winds through The Gladlands on various roads. It enters St. Francis County in the Southeast corner on Hwy 38. It travels west to Hughes. There are two side trips available on the Great River Road in this particular area. One is to Madison and one is to Forrest City. Hwy 38 West to Hwy 50 West then to Hwy 70 West takes you through Madison and Forrest City. At Hughes, take U. S. 79 South to Marianna.
Drive through Marianna on S. H. 44 (Chestnut and Poplar Streets in the downtown area) and enter the St. Francis National Forest. Lee C. R. 221, Phillips C. R. 217, and Phillips County 239 will take you through the St. Francis National Forest to Helena.