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Tour the Communities of Searcy County

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Leslie, Arkansas

Harriet/Cozahome/Big Flat

Make wild, Northeast Searcy County your home for adventure! Home to the Buffalo National River (Spring Creek and nearby Dillard's Ferry access points), the Ozark National Forest, and the Loafer's Glory Wildlife Management Area! Crockett's Buffalo River Canoe Rental of Harriet is the local outfitter. Twelve camping spots at Spring Creek Campground. Shelton's Big Flat Getaway is a large horse stable, trail riding destination in Big Flat. Between Big Flat and Harriet is the grand Shepherd of the Ozarks Christian retreat. Loads of family fun on the farm awaits at Dogwood Hills Guest Farm of Harriet. Great mountain lodging also available at Starlight Cabin, Buffalo River Retreat, and Beulah Cabin Rental all of Harriet. Hungry? Then Kaylee's Lil Shop & Snack Shack of Harriet is a must stop. The fabulous Ozark Highlands Trail (aka Buffalo River Trail) is an amazing hiking destination that hugs the high bluffs of the Buffalo River, America's 1st National River! Two great motorcycle routes, the Push Mountain/Sylamore Scenic Byway and the Leslie Lasso wind, dive, and climb along gorgeous State Highway 14. This area is also home to the Arkansas Quilt Trail and the annual Water Creek Knap In. Enjoy some of America's darkest night skies and practice your milky way photography! Plan your fun adventure here!


Leslie, Arkansas

Leslie

“One of Arkansas’ Best kept Secrets!”

Leslie is a quaint Ozarks town that retains historic charm from a bygone era, a throwback to a simpler time in America! This is clearly evident on Main Street, which hosts a Commercial Historic District! Geographically, Leslie sits at the foot of two mountains, is nestled along Cove Creek, and is the starting point of a rich, flat agricultural cove, Wiley’s Cove, named after a Native American, Chief Wiley.

Crossroads Town!

US Highway 65 brings travelers through town on their way to Branson, Missouri and to the nearby Buffalo National River. Highway 65 is intersected in Leslie with State Highway 66. State Highway 66 connects Leslie with Mountain View, the Folk Music Capital of the World, only about 30 miles away!

Great Trails!

Motorcycle, Cycling, and Quilt!

The Leslie Lasso Motorcycle Route is a 64-mile round trip loop on some great roads! The curves, hills, and scenery of our lightly travelled Ozarks highways are ideal for riding! The climb out of Leslie on State Highway 66 is on an 11 percent grade! The Leslie Lasso combines with the Bear Creek Growl to form the heralded 120+ mile Growl-Lasso route!

The Ozark Grinder Trail for cyclists passes over the Cove Creek Bridge in Leslie as part of an epic gravel-grinding route of almost 160 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation between the Ozarks resort towns of Gilbert and Fairfield Bay! The trail covers some of the most wild, scenic, and remote parts of the north central Arkansas Ozarks. There are both 14-mile and 18-mile loops connecting Leslie with Baker and Rail Roads. Each December, local cyclists ride the loops in an event called the “Chocolate Roll” in tribute to Searcy County’s famous local specialty dessert that is baked at both Wade’s Convenience Store and the Leslie Shell Convenience Store! The Arkansaw High Country Race for cyclists comes through town each year. The race brings some of America’s greatest long-distance, multi-surface bikepackers into town in the midst of a 1,000+ mile journey that involves approximately 84,000 feet of climbing!

Leslie is also part of the Arkansas Quilt Trails for painted barn quilts!

Great Food!

Leslie has some of the finest places to eat in all the Ozarks! Serenity Farm Bread bakes old-world sourdough bread in a wood-fired brick oven at its downtown location on Main Street and has world-class pastries at its pastry shop on Highway 65! The Skylark Café is known for its gourmet cuisine and scrumptious desserts, and Ryan’s Main Street Grill is renowned for its mouthwatering and delicious steaks and desserts! If fast food is your choice, you can pick up fried chicken, pizza, a variety of breakfast foods, home-made fried pies, or chocolate rolls at Leslie Shell or Wade’s Convenience Store. Don’t forget to visit the seasonal Caston’s Fruit Stand along US Highway 65 or to get a latte’ or ice cream at Cove Creek Emporium downtown! If fresh meat is more your speed, Carnivore’s is a wild-game processor available during hunting season!

Great Shopping!

Huge selection of rare and desirable antiques available at Antiques And, Cove Creek Emporium, and the Leslie Antique Mall! Excellent gifts available at L.A. Salon & Boutique, Morrisette Pottery, Brick House Artisans, and beautiful wood crafts from Wisakon Woods and the Eleazar Wood Company!

Great Lodging

Leslie has multiple cottage-style lodging facilities and RV parks! For information, contact the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce at 8704482557.

Live Music

The Ozark Heritage Arts Center is a stunning performing arts theatre that hosts frequent live performances of different genres of music as well as plays, Shakespeare, musicals, and other special events! 

Events

The Leslie Homecoming is held the third weekend in June and is the largest event of the year! A main attraction of the homecoming is the Leslie Rodeo! Other events include the Leslie Mountain Man Rendezvous the second weekend in October and Christmas in the Park the first Friday in December. Smaller events are also held throughout the year.

Leslie Fun Park

The Leslie Fun Park has a nine-hole disc golf course that is free and open to the public as well as horseshoe pits, playground equipment, a quarter mile walking track, basketball court, and pavilion!

Area Attractions

Just outside Leslie at Pine Grove Trails along Trace Ridge Road is fabulous horseback riding on miles of scenic Ozark Mountain riding trails! Featuring RV sites, western style bath house, and clean horse stalls. Out on Highway 66, the Stem Rock Natural Area offers a gentle hike through pine and hardwood forest to an amazing geographic feature known as Stem Rock. It also has a hidden geocache!

Leslie is also served by Leslie Intermediate School, the North Central Career Center, North Arkansas College Adult Education, the Leslie Cyber Center, a US Post Office, the Leslie Medical Center for alternative medicine, the Leslie Volunteer Fire Department, Dave’s Auto Parts, rock yards, Circle M Feed, the Searcy County Humane Society’s animal shelter, United Country Central Ozarks Real Estate, Mossy Oak Properties, storage units, Vic’s Body Shop, Ozark Firearm Finishers, two apartment complexes, churches, veterans and service groups, and its very own radio station, KCGS “The River” 98.9 FM and 960 AM!

When you’re off the beaten path looking for a new home, or just great experiences, shopping, or world-class dining, stop into Leslie. You’ll be glad you did! Call for information to 8704482557. http://www.lesliearkansas.org/ Find us on Facebook!

Visit Leslie

Marshall, Arkansas

Marshall

“Always in Season!”

Marshall is one of Arkansas’s finest mountain towns and holds the distinction as the largest city in the Buffalo River Watershed! Located just a few miles south of the Buffalo National River, Marshall is also centrally located between two segments of the Ozark National Forest and is a base camp for a large variety of Ozark’s outdoor fun! Wild elk roam just outside the city limits!

US Highway 65!

Scenic US Highway 65 transits Marshall and is a highly travelled route to Branson, Missouri and the Buffalo National River, America’s 1st National River! The scenic overlook above Marshall is one of the finest panoramic scenes in all of Arkansas and comes with a roadside park, coffee shop, historic marker, and interpretive sign. This is a great selfie spot! Just northwest of town along US Highway 65 sits the Smith Barn, one of the most photographed barns in all of Arkansas!

Great Trails!

Marshall is a great motorcycle town and the gorgeously beautiful Growl Lasso Motorcycle route runs through Marshall. On the cycling side of things, the annual Arkansaw High Country Race transits Marshall each year! This epic, self-supported event attracts some of the greatest long-distance cyclers in the world to tackle a course that is approximately 1,034-miles with approximately 84,000 feet of total elevation! The Ozark Grinder Trail is a nearby gravel grinder bicycle trail covering approximately 200 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation in some of the most wild, scenic, and remote parts of the north central Arkansas Ozarks!

Close to Marshall is some of the finest horseback trail riding experiences east of the Rocky Mountains with miles of scenic trails at both private horse camps and on public lands! Marshall sits near one of the greatest long-distance hiking trails in Middle America, the Ozark Highlands Trail and is also part of the Arkansas Quilt Trails for painted barn quilts!

Great Food!

In addition to a host of diverse food options, USA Today selected Searcy County in 2017 as its Food Capital to represent all of Arkansas as Searcy County is the Chocolate Roll Capital of the World™. Searcy County is the home of the Chocolate Roll Festival™, who’s centerpiece is the World Champion Chocolate Roll Contest™ held in Marshall at the high school. This is a unique competition of local bakers to crown the World Champion Chocolate Roll maker! Reader's Digest July/August 2021 recognized our cultural dessert, the chocolate roll, as the Best Dessert in Arkansas! The local Daisy Queen has been in operation for more than 50 years and is an Arkansas Food Hall of Fame nominated dairy bar!

Great Lodging

Marshall has nearby tent camping, cabins, lodges, cottage-style, and apartment-style lodging facilities, as well as a bunk house, and an RV park! For information, contact the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce at 8704482557 or online at https://searcycountyarkansas.com/lodging

Kenda Drive-In

The Kenda Drive-In movie theater is the town’s leading tourism attraction. It’s one of only three drive-ins in Arkansas and the only one running year-round. In the warmer months they have monthly throwback Thursdays that accommodate vintage automobiles, and they occasionally have concerts and other special events.

Free Museums

The Buffalo River Historic Jail & Museum tells the story of the land and people of the Buffalo River watershed in a fabulously renovated 1902 jail. It also showcases native son Elton Britt, the first performer in Country Music to be awarded a Gold Record! The Searcy County Veterans Memorial Hall has an incredible museum of local military history. The Searcy County Library is one of Arkansas’s finest public libraries with historic art and displays and a renowned genealogy department!

Parks

Marshall has two nice parks. Raccoon Springs Park has a small fishing lake, pavilions, and a walking track near the courthouse square. The Searcy County Park is located near the Dr. Charles D. Daniel Civic Center where there’s a swimming pool, ball fields, and tennis courts.

Antiques

Marshall and the local area are also a favorite for antique lovers with multiple flea markets and thrift stores and the big annual event held the first week in October, called Junkfest!

Agritourism

The area is also well known for its embracing of agritourism. The two most visited locations are Ratchford Buffalo Farms near Marshall, and Dogwood Hills Guest Farm near Harriet.

Marshall is home of the Searcy County Fairgrounds and the annual county fair each September. Next door to the fairgrounds, the Flintrock Saddle Club rodeo grounds host both annual rodeos and bull riding events! The fairgrounds are also the site of the Kitchen of the Arkansas Ozarks, a certified kitchen that is available for private individuals to lease in order to start a food business or aggregate garden crops for distribution.

The Searcy County Farmer’s Market is located nearby at the old berry shed and operates two days a week in the warmer months.

Town

Marshall was designated a 2021 Trendsetter City by Arkansas Business magazine by winning Honorable Mention in Wellness and Fitness for the new Raccoon Springs City Park and Honorable Mention in Tourism Development/Creative Culture for the Buffalo River Historic Jail & Museum!

Marshall is the county seat of Searcy County and hosts the fabulous Searcy County Airport-4A5, a 4000x75 ft lighted runway, 24hr self-serve fuel, tie-downs, very nice pilot lounge, courtesy car, and overnight hangar space as available.

The town also serves as the corporate headquarters for Boston Mountain Rural Health Center, Inc. and is served by numerous clinics as well as Highland Court, a rehabilitation and resident care facility. Marshall has two excellent campuses for Marshall Elementary School and Marshall High School.

Marshall has high-speed broadband internet delivered by Kinetic Windstream and Ritter Communications! It also has several industrial buildings and nearby available industrial real estate.

Climate

Marshall sits beautifully located in the Ozarks at the foot of the Boston Mountain Range! Marshall has a distinct four seasons and is well suited for many outdoor activities. Waterfalls, dogwoods, and redbuds grace the spring forest, hayfields and swimming holes call out in summer, beautiful autumn colors dress up the fall hillsides, and winter brings open forest vistas and spectacular ice formations! Several inches of snowfall are not uncommon.

Searcy County hosts approximately 48 miles of the Buffalo National River, the 1st park in Arkansas to be named an International Dark Sky Park! Searcy County has some of the darkest night skies in the Eastern United States with Bortle Dark-Sky Scale Two designations for sites along the Buffalo from Woolum to Tyler Bend to Gilbert. With a designation of two, the Milky Way can be seen in great detail! Star Parties are occasionally held at the Tyler Bend Campground. 

Visit Marshall

St. Joe, Arkansas

St. Joe

St. Joe is the gateway to the Buffalo National River access points of Woolum and Baker Ford!  Visitors can tour the educational St. Joe Depot Museum, and get delicious smoked meats and cheeses at the superb Big Springs Trading Company restaurant! Craw Billy's Seafood Boil brings outstanding Cajun cuisine to the Ozarks along US Highway 65! Wood products is a way of life here for many at Layton's Ozark Timber http://www.ozarktimber.net/   St. Joe is home to the Tomahawk Loop of the Ozark Grinder Trail for gravel grinding cycling! St. Joe also has motorcyclists ride through the area on the The Lost Mine Run! St. Joe has a K-12 school here as part of the Ozark Mountain School District. Ample lodging exists at many cabins and lodges throughout the area. https://searcycountyarkansas.org/lodging

Visit St. Joe

Witts Springs, Arkansas

Witts Springs

Witts Springs is the gateway to the Richland Wilderness of the Ozark National Forest! At approximately 1,900 feet in elevation, Witts Springs is a launching point for hiking the nearby Ozark Highlands Trail, experiencing the Richland Waterfalls Welcome Center, visiting a Civil War Historic marker, horseback riding in the Ozark National Forest, following the Arkansas Quilt Trail, rock climbing at Stack Rock, area ATV rides, whitewater kayaking and waterfall photography along the Falling Water Creek and Richland Creek watersheds, hunting, camping at the Richland Creek Recreation Area & Campground, riding the Growl and Lasso and Lost Mine Run motorcycle routes, viewing the amazing naturally dark night skies, and cycling the Ozark Grinder Trail gravel grinder bicycle route! The annual Pedestal Rock road bike ride and Lick Fork gravel grind takes place here each October, as well as the 1,000+ mile Arkansas High Country Race, an epic bikepacking adventure race that transits the area each June! For more information visit https://wittssprings.org/ or to help plan your trip, visit https://searcycountyarkansas.com/attractions or call the chamber of commerce at 8704482557.

Visit Witts Springs

Gilbert, Arkansas

Gilbert

Not only is Gilbert the “Coolest Town” in Arkansas, often with the lowest recorded temperatures in the state, but it’s also Arkansas’ smallest incorporated town. The short drive along Highway 333 is simply beautiful. When you arrive, you’ll find a town that time forgot. Welcome to the quiet community, surrounded by the cool mist of the Buffalo River. Gilbert is the smallest sister city in the world. Her sister city, Bride, is on the isle of Man in the Irish Sea.


“Population 33” reads the sign as you come into town. The historic cemetery contains more headstones than people currently living in Gilbert, but don’t let the size fool you. Gilbert may be a tiny town, but it’s big on beauty and charm. It’s location can’t be beat: nestled on the banks of the Buffalo National River in the Ozark Mountains.


The main road in town offers access to the river, which is noted for its beautiful limestone bluffs, smallmouth bass, and year-round floating. Canoe rental and shuttle service is available.


The Gilbert General Store, built in 1901, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the name Mays Store. The community was founded in 1902, when the Missouri & North Arknasas Railroad was built. Gilbert was a hub for commerce. Cotton, logs, ore and grain came by rail. The railroad tracks were removed and sold as scrap, after the railroad ceased operation in 1946, but there are still signs of where the old tracks lay. The former rail bed is now a hiking route along the river.


The Buffalo River Art Gallery is a lifelong dream of artist and owner, Jamie Craddock Johnson (artbyjamiej). The gallery is located in the charming, historic town of Gilbert, Arkansas on the Buffalo River. The home was built in the 1920s and has been beautifully restored by Jamie and her husband into a gorgeous gallery featuring Arkansas artists. There is something for everyone at Buffalo River Art Gallery! 


Today, Gilbert contains homes, guest houses, cabin rentals, a fabulous RV park, and camping facilities. The Gilbert General Store is still in operation, a short walk from the river, providing supplies, and hunting and fishing licenses. Check out the live music and snack bar at Ben's Place! Gilbert welcomes visitors to stay a day, a week, or even a lifetime! Remember: You may leave Gilbert, but Gilbert will never leave you! 

Visit Gilbert

Northern Searcy County

Northern Searcy County is wonderful! Who hasn’t seen the incredible photos from the Red Bluff Overlook high above America’s 1st National River! The middle river sweet spot for Buffalo National River Tourism runs from Tyler Bend to Gilbert! Public campgrounds available at Woolum, Tyler Bend, Shine Eye, and Grinder’s Ferry. Tyler Bend has 10 walk-in and 28 drive in sites on a first come first served basis. The campground provides flush toilet restrooms, one with hot showers. Water spigots are located throughout the campground. Woolum camping area is open year-round located seven miles southwest of St. Joe on paved and gravel roads. Vault toilet will be open with limited or no servicing. No fees charged. Horse camping is permitted. This is a pack in/pack out facility with no trash service provided. Private campgrounds in Gilbert at the Gilbert R.V. Campground and Buffalo Camping & Canoeing! Gilbert RV Campground RV section has 18 grass and gravel lots. 20, 30, and 50 amp electric hookups. The tent section of the campground offers eight tent sites, including “shot gun cabins".


Outfitters provide float and shuttle services at Buffalo Camping & Canoeing of Gilbert, and Silver Hill Float Service just outside Tyler Bend!


Not only is Gilbert the “Coolest Town” in Arkansas, at times with the lowest recorded temperature in the state, but it’s also Arkansas’ smallest incorporated town. The short drive along Highway 333 is simply beautiful. When you arrive, you’ll find a town that time forgot. Welcome to the quiet community, surrounded by the cool mist of the Buffalo River. Gilbert is the smallest sister city in the world. Her sister city, Bride, is on the isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

St. Joe School is a K-12 public school in the Ozark Mountain School District. St. Joe also has a thriving wood products business, Ozark Timber Treating Company. Cattle ranching thrives throughout the area.


The area’s lodging is fantastic! Gilbert has the closest lodging to the Buffalo River! Gilbert area lodging available at Buffalo Camping and Canoeing, Buffalo River Cabin, Gilbert RV Campground, Anna's House, and Kelly's Bunkhouse! The St. Joe area has lodging at Bear Creek Log Cabins, Buffalo River Lodge, Kindling Trail Cabin, Sky Hawk Ridge, Triple D Cabins, The Buffalo Bungalo at St. Joe, and Wits End Ranch! The Buffalo National River is the 1st park in Arkansas to be named an International Dark Sky Park! Searcy County has some of the darkest night skies in the Eastern United States with Bortle Dark-Sky Scale Two designations for sites along the Buffalo National River from Woolum to Tyler Bend to Gilbert With a designation of two, the Milky Way can be seen in great detail! Star Parties are occasionally held at the Tyler Bend Campground. Lodging locations are available that provide access to a great natural night sky!


And oh that food! BBQ, smoked meats and more at Big Springs Trading Company of St. Joe, Craw Billy's Cajun cuisine at the turnoff to Gilbert, restaurant, deli and retail at Dry Creek Mercantile in Pindall, and Ben's Place in Gilbert where good food and Live Music can rock the evening!


This is also great motorcycle country! The Lost Mine Run enters Searcy County near Pindall. Make sure and stop at the fabulous St. Joe M&NA Railroad Depot Museum! A Civil War historic marker is on the site.


Art lovers are in store for a wonderful treat at the amazing Buffalo River Art Gallery in Gilbert! Take home some locally produced artworks! Elk Ridge Trading Company also carries great local crafts next to Craw Billy’s!


The Searcy County Ozarks offer some of the finest trail riding experiences east of the Rocky Mountains, with miles of scenic trails at both private horse camps and on public lands! Horses are permitted on the Buffalo River Trail from Woolum to Gilbert. They have to cross the river upstream of Tyler Bend as they are not permitted on the trails in the visitor center/campground area. It is about 12 1/2 miles from Woolum to HWY 65 and 3.7 miles from HWY 65 to Gilbert. There is a large pull off/parking area along the Shine Eye Road at HWY 65 where horse trailers can be parked for day trail rides. Horse camping is permitted at Woolum. The camping is on the north side of the river and the trail is on the south side so it is important to make note of river levels. The railroad trail downstream out of Gilbert is also a horse trail. This is a level trail along the old railroad bed for 2.4 miles one way. Contact Buffalo River Cabin near Gilbert and Wits End Ranch of St. Joe for lodging that permits horses!


The Ozark Highlands Trail connects with the Buffalo River Trail and shares the trail as it comes east through Tyler Bend and along the south side of the Buffalo National River. Multiple nice trails at Tyler Bend! The Ozark Highlands Trail starts at Lake Fort Smith State Park and is almost completed as it runs approximately 218 miles to Dillard’s Ferry. Also, great, mostly level, mostly shaded hiking downstream of Gilbert, much of it along the old M&NA railroad bed! 2.4 miles one way. There is a hiking trail from HWY 65 to Gilbert of 3.7 miles. Don’t forget the bug spray.

This area is also home to the Arkansas Quilt Trail! Be on the outlook for painted quilt blocks on barns and other buildings!


The Ozark Grinder Trail is a gravel grinder bicycle trail covering approximately 200 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation in some of the most wild, scenic, and remote parts of the north central Arkansas Ozarks! From Gilbert and St. Joe, through Tyler Bend at Buffalo National River and all the way to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas it climbs and descends steep grades and makes many creek crossings. The first annual Ozark Grinder Trail Race hopes to launch in 2021. This 134 mile race with more than 10,000 ft. of elevation gain will begin in Gilbert and end at Fairfield Bay. The Annual Arkansas High Country Race for bicycles is approximately 1,041 miles with 84,373 ft of climbing, unofficial estimates! The total adventure time on this course is 107+ hours! The annual race is typically held in June and is a self-supported ultra-biking event that comes through Tyler Bend.


Searcy County is rated by Niche as one of the Best Counties in Arkansas and All of America to Buy a House, for Cost of Living, and as a place to Retire! 4th Best County in Arkansas to buy a house, (Top 6% in USA), 5th Best County in Arkansas for Retirees (Top 3% in USA), 11th Lowest Cost of Living in Arkansas (Top 5% in USA)! 

Check out the Niche.com Rankings Here.