Check out this comprehensive list of fun activities to do while visiting Marshall, Arkansas!
1) The Buffalo National River
Searcy County is home to approximately 48 miles of America’s 1st National River! Clear, cool water, towering ridges and bluff lines, and miles of gravel and sand beaches await floaters, fishermen, campers, and sunbathers! The Buffalo National River, and tributary Richland Creek, are both National Wild and Scenic Rivers! Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, campgrounds, the Tyler Bend Visitor Center, elk viewing, bald eagles, swimming holes, and fishing for smallmouth bass await you in the Heart of the Buffalo National River! Gilbert, the coolest town in Arkansas, has the closest lodging to the Buffalo River! Great spots such as Skull Rock, aka the Bat House, the Nars, Shine Eye, and Red Bluff Overlook! The Buffalo National River has been designated the status of an International Dark Sky Park!
Buffalo National River, Buffalo Camping & Canoeing at the Gilbert General Store, Silver Hill Float Service, Crockett’s Buffalo River Canoe Rental in Harriet, Tyler Bend Visitor Center
2) Kenda Drive-In Movie Theater in Marshall
Arkansas’ only drive-in movie theater that is open year-round, and one of only a handful of drive-in’s left in the entire state! A fixture in Searcy County since 1966. Come see a double feature on the 72-foot-wide screen! Movie audio is provided by either digital FM radio sound or traditional speakers. Admission is $6 for adults, ages 12 and up. Children under 12 are free with parents, unless otherwise specified. Free admission on Throwback Thursdays during the warmer months, great cars, full concession! Vintage cars only allowed to drive in (limited to 1980s and older vehicles) but anyone can walk in! Other special events like concerts are also held in the warmer months.
3) The Richland Waterfalls Welcome Center
The Richland Waterfalls Welcome Center is a one-of-a-kind welcome center with a primary focus on the waterfalls of the Richland Creek Watershed! https://www.arkansas.com/witts...
More than 30 waterfalls are featured by the welcome center. Richland Creek and tributaries, such as Falling Water Creek, traverse some of the most stunningly beautiful, rugged, and remote landscape in all of middle America! Most of the watershed is within the boundaries of the Ozark National Forest and drains to a northbound rendezvous with the Buffalo National River. The Richland Creek Wilderness contains 11,801 acres in the Ozark’s Boston Mountains. Wildlife such as Black Bear and Rocky Mountain Elk inhabit portions of the watershed. There are no official trails to any of the waterfalls, however the US Forest Service advises that you hike on existing unofficial trails. There is poor to nonexistent cell phone coverage in most areas. Please practice “Leave No Trace.”
Witts Springs is the gateway to the Richland Creek 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, call the chamber of commerce at (870) 448-2557.
The welcome center is a collaborative project of the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce and Witts Springs Community Voices. Special thanks is owed to Mr. Roger Harness, The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas, Flintrock Video Productions, Ozark Mountain Region, Mr. Rick Henry, Mr. Andrew Hendrix, Dana Treat Photography, and the US Forest Service.
There are also plenty of falls northeast of Marshall. East Maumee Falls is 67 Feet high along the Buffalo River Trail about one-mile down trail from the South Maumee Trail Head. West Maumee Falls is a 53 Foot waterfall. Wet weather dependent. You can view an album of Searcy County falls here.
4) Great Motorcycle Roads
Thousands of riders every year tour our four-seasons Ozarks roads! The 57-mile Bear Creek Growl and the 64-mile Leslie Lasso are two routes that combine into one ride called the Growl-Lasso! The combined 121-mile ride takes in Marshall and the historic Searcy County Courthouse. The route also passes by the Kenda Drive-In, the only year-round drive-in movie theater in Arkansas! Leaving Marshall, the rider will see one of Arkansas’ most panoramic views as they look west toward Point Peter Mountain. Descending into the lush farmlands of the Bear Creek valley, the rider might see some wild elk! The trail motors through Snowball, gateway to the Richland Valley, the Ozark Highlands Trail, and horseback trailheads. Witts Springs offers a wonderful food stop in the higher regions of the Ozarks! The descent back toward Marshall is beautiful and passes an old wooden plank bridge across Bear Creek! Miles of bucolic farm country scenery!
The Leslie Lasso portion begins on State Highway 66, in the quaint Ozark Mountain town of Leslie, home to shops, parks, great restaurants, and a wood-fired brick oven bakery that produces old-world sourdough bread!
Travelling east from Leslie involves tackling a mountainous, 11 percent grade. After passing through Oxley, another wonderful food stop, the route descends into Stone County. At the community of Timbo, the route takes a left on State Highway 263. The scenic drive continues through the community of Onia and just to the west of the Ozark National Forest. At the town of Big Flat, the rider will turn left onto Highway 14. Here the Leslie Lasso re-enters Searcy County. The next eight miles twist and curve and transit the clear waters of Big Creek. In Harriet, the route follows State Highway 27 back toward Marshall passing by the South Maumee Road, which leads to hiking, canoe access, and a primitive campground on the Buffalo National River. Short of Marshall, the ride turns onto State Highway 74. This portion offers pastoral countryside with little traffic before intersecting once again with Highway 66 and returning to Leslie.
The Lost Mine Run enters Searcy County near both Pindall and Witts Springs. Both communities are wonderful food stops! The US Highway 65 portion offers more great food in St. Joe as well as the St. Joe M&NA Railroad Depot Museum! This scenic ride passes near the Buffalo River resort town of Gilbert and the National Park Visitor Center at Tyler Bend!
The Push Mountain Road/Sylamore Scenic Byway transits Searcy County from Big Flat to the Highway 14 Bridge. Very scenic, crooked roads take you past horseback riding stables in Big Flat, a large Christian retreat, a canoe outfitter in Harriet, rental cabins, a wonderful food stop north of Harriet, and a great guest farm before descending down to the Buffalo National River!
5) World Class Hiking
The Ozark Highlands Trail has been noted as one of the top ten long distance hiking trails in the US by the Guardian! Also noted by Outside magazine as one of the World’s Seven Great Winter Backpacking Trips! From Outside Magazine: "The Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT), currently 270 miles long (with 50 more trail miles in the works), travels through a little-known stretch of American wilderness in the northern half of the state. The Forest Service calls it “one of the most scenic trails in the US,” and we’d tend to agree. The best part? With little-tono thru-hiker traffic, you can have this oasis of wildlife, waterfalls, and ridgelines all to yourself." https://www.backpacker.com/tri...
The Ozark Highlands Trail, which encompasses the Buffalo River Trail, enters western Searcy County near Falling Water Creek and proceeds north to a point across the Buffalo National River from Woolum, then continues downriver to Tyler Bend and on to Dillard's Ferry at the Highway 14 bridge! It's a good idea to wear florescent orange while hiking during fall hunting seasons. Always leave a trip plan with someone before hiking. Other hiking opportunities at Tyler Bend, Gilbert, and Stem Rock! Always leave a trip plan and please wear orange when hiking during gun hunting season. Buffalo River Trail segment from Woolum to Tyler Bend. Tyler Bend Trails. Shine Eye to Gilbert Trail. Old Railroad Trail downriver from Gilbert. Buffalo River Trail hiking upriver, Dillard's Ferry to Spring Creek
Check with the Ozark's Highland Trail Association for additional information. Coming Soon!
The 3.5 mile "Bobcat Trail" near the airport in Marshall will be a multiuse trail for mountain biking, trail running, and hiking.
Wild elk roam parts of the county and attract photographers and hunters! The elk may be hunted with permit during hunting season. Searcy County is the Elk Hunting Capital of Arkansas! According to the AGFC, Searcy County led the harvest totals last year with 30, followed by Newton County with 12, then Pope with four, and Boone with one. 47 total for 2020. The most current Arkansas elk count shows about 476 are in the state.
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 annual Ozark Grinder Trail Race is held in September. This 134 mile race with more than 10,000 ft. elevation gain begins in Gilbert and ends at Fairfield Bay.
Also don’t miss the annual Pedestal Rock Road Bike Ride and Lick Fork Gravel Grind in Witts Springs! Epic 100K gravel grind. We have a local bicycle group, the Welcome Home Cyclers. We have a bike ride between Leslie and Marshall, the Chocolate Roll! The Annual Arkansas High Country Race for bicycles also comes through Searcy County and is approximately 1,041 miles with 84,373 ft of climbing, unofficial estimates! This is a self-supported ultra-biking event.
The Annual Snowball Adventure Race has a cycling leg. This adventure will involve a 5.5 mile run to the Margaret White area on the Buffalo National River, where you will then jump in your boat for an 8.5 mile float down the beautiful Buffalo to the Tyler Bend launch area. You will then pick up your bicycle at the Tyler Bend Pavilion and start the 11.5-mile gravel journey back to Snowball via the Ozark Grinder Trail.
Coming Soon! The 3.5 mile "Bobcat Trail" near the airport in Marshall will be a multiuse trail for mountain biking, trail running, and hiking.
Near Searcy County is approximately eight miles of new mountain bike trail going in near Botkinburg a little south of Leslie at Bluffton Preserve. The trail system will largely be GREEN (beginner) trail with some alternate lines that will be BLUE (intermediate) and BLACK (advanced). The trails will be multi-use for bikers and hikers. This trail system is being constructed by Affordable Trail Solutions and is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Takes in views of Archey Creek. Lodging available in Leslie for mountain bikers!
8) Horseback Riding
We have multiple horse stable/lodging destinations and more than 100 miles of horseback riding trails! Some of the most enjoyable and scenic horseback riding east of the Rockies! Riding in the Ozark National Forest of both western and northeastern Searcy County as well as in the confines of the Buffalo National River! The big trail ride of the year is the annual Falling Water Trail Ride during the first weekend of October. Riders begin the trail from either the Woolum Campground or the Snowball Gym.
9) Incredible Lodging
Amazing cabins, lodges, cottages, bunkhouses, RV campgrounds, and farm stay accommodations can be found right here in Searcy County! Ozark Mountain and/or Buffalo River country!
10) The Food!
People come from far and wide for our fresh sandwiches, smoked meat and cheeses, chocolate rolls, great burgers, old-world sourdough bread, fried pies, Mexican food, Cajun food, Chinese food, pastries, steaks, pies, biscuits and gravy, fried catfish, live music, and more! Check out our chamber list of places to eat! Check out our local restaurants.
11) Arkansas Quilt Trail
Searcy County is on the leading edge of the Barn Quilt Movement in the state of Arkansas with 28 hand-painted quilt blocks up around the county!
12) Dark Night Skies, Photography, and Bird Watching
Searcy County is the shoreline for an ocean of stars! 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 to the Spring Creek Access to Buffalo Point! The Bortle Dark-Sky Scale runs from one to nine. Very few places in the United States achieve a one. With a designation of two here in Searcy County, 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! The 1st Annual Fall Dark-Sky Festival will be 21-22 Oct at Gilbert and Tyler Bend!
Searcy County also has two designated "Important Bird Areas," the Buffalo National River and the Ozark National Forest!
13) Museums and Art Galleries
Artwork, museum exhibits, concerts, Shakespeare, and variety shows can all be enjoyed in the Killebrew Theater at the Ozark Heritage Arts Center in Leslie!
The Searcy County Veterans Memorial Hall in Marshall is a fabulous military history museum featuring local military history.
Don’t miss the St. Joe Depot Railroad Museum, the only place in Searcy County to have your Arkansas Historic Preservation Program passport stamped!
The Buffalo River Art Gallery in Gilbert showcases an eclectic blend of local modern and classic art, and hosts entertaining craft events!
The Buffalo River Historic Jail Museum in Marshall in Marshall is a fabulous repository of history within the Buffalo River Watershed!
Searcy County is the home of wonderful artists like at Troll Mountain Studio & Gallery and Murals for Searcy County!
Essie Ward paintings can be viewed in the library in Marshall. Art is also on display upstairs in the Courthouse in Marshall.
Dogwood Hills Guest Farm of Harriet is a state leader in agritourism and hosts fabulous monthly farm-to-table dinners! Ratchford Buffalo Farms of Marshall provides a once-in-alifetime experience at a buffalo farm! Searcy County is home to Arkansas' only bovine micro dairy, Dew Line Dairy of Harriet! Other AgriTourism events include an annual Bull Bash, Farm Tours, the wonderful annual Searcy County Fair in Marshall, rodeos in both Leslie and Marshall, and the Searcy County Farmers Market (Tues. 9am till 1pm & Fri. 3-6pm) in Marshall! Agritourism provides wholesome experiences for families! For more information, phone 870- 448-4870.
Great Antiquing can be found here in Searcy County, along with flea markets and thrift shops! Come spend a day!
Leslie Antique Mall in Leslie Cove Creek Emporium in Leslie Antiques And in Leslie ReWorx in Marshall
“The Gettin Place” Flea Market in Marshall
Searcy County Rural Help Center Thrift Store in St. Joe Searcy County Humane Society Thrift Store in Marshall Elk & Eagle Trading Post, LLC in Leslie
Dry Creek Mercantile in Pindall Taylor's Corner LLC in Marshall
16) Whitewater Kayaking on Falling Water Creek
After large rains, especially in winter and spring, Falling Water Creek can be suitable for whitewater kayaking for experienced kayakers on the stretch below the Falling Water Creek bridge not far from Witts Springs!
17) Live Music
Fabulous Live Concerts at the Kenda Drive-In in Marshall!
Live Music at the Killebrew Theater inside the amazing Ozark Heritage Arts Center in Leslie! Ben's Place in Gilbert showcases live music outdoors! For details, contact the Gilbert General Store at (870) 439-2386
18) Hunting and Fishing
Searcy County is the home of some great hunting and fishing! Whitetail deer are the prime target for large game hunters, but Searcy County is blessed with hundreds of acres of forests filled with abundant wildlife. For public land hunting, there are parts of four Wildlife Management Areas, two National Forest areas and hunting is also allowed in the Buffalo National River Park. We are the Elk Hunting Capital of Arkansas! According to the AGFC, Searcy County led the harvest totals last year with 30, followed by Newton County with 12, then Pope with four, and Boone with one. 47 total for 2020. Great place for black bear hunting! Wild turkey, rabbit, squirrel, bobwhite quail, dove, and various furbearers, coyote, and even wild hogs roam the county.
Hunting and Fishing licenses are sold in several locations in the county. There are many species of fish in the Buffalo National River and other various streams in the county, but smallmouth bass, catfish and sunfish are the most popular. A few trout make their way up the Buffalo River in the Winter from the White River, but catching one is fairly rare.
19) Rock Climbing
The county has rock climbing at the Stack Rock Special Interest Area, the Devil’s Tower of Searcy County. There’s hiking and rock-climbing destinations about 16 miles from Witts Springs, just off the Richland Creek Road. Always leave a trip plan with someone before embarking on back-country adventures.
20) Backcountry Aviation
Great backcountry aviation here in Searcy County! The Richland Creek Airport 4AR9 near Snowball is a superb Ozark Mountain airport in the "Heart of the Buffalo National River" country! Begin your adventure here!
The Searcy County Library in Marshall is a goldmine of genealogical research. They are equipped with an expanded genealogy department and research area. Contact the library at 8704482420. In addition, the annual North Arkansas Ancestor Fair is held the 1st Saturday in June in Marshall! Don’t miss this event!
22) ATV Riding
Bear Creek Log Cabins near Marshall has a 1,200 acre family-friendly outdoor paradise for things including ATV riding!
Our Ozarks are a great place to have fun in your Jeep! From local Jeep Poker Runs to the Annual Gilbert Jingle Jeep Jam, Jeeps are made for Searcy County!
24) Fly-In Destination
The Searcy County Airport (4A5) in Marshall is a Level 2 general aviation airport regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics for the benefit of the flying public. The airport has a Precision Approach Path Indicator, (PAPI) and features a 4003′ x 75′ lighted (MIRL) runway, runway strength 12,500 SW, rotating beacon, 120′ x 150′ hangar, 18′ side walls, 60′ stack doors, 8′ loading dock, and a large paved apron. One hundred octane aviation fuel is available and credit cards are accepted. Bathroom and pilot’s lounge. Industrial land is located nearby for development!
Tyler Bend. Developed campground in the middle section of the Buffalo National River. 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. A dump station and tank filler is located near the park entrance at Highway 65 but there are no RV hookups in the campground. Campground open year round. For pricing and reservations, go to www.recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
Woolum camping area of the Buffalo National River is open year round. Woolum is 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.
Grinders Ferry and Shine Eye Both offer easily accessible but primitive camping right on the Buffalo National River. Vault toilets will be open year-round with limited or no servicing. No trash services will be provided. No fees charged.
South Maumee of the Buffalo National River is open for camping all year. South Maumee is located seven miles off Hwy 27 north of the community of Morning Star on paved and gravel roads. Campground has five campsites, each with a picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook. Vault toilet will be open with limited or no servicing. No trash services will be provided. No fees.
Spring Creek Campground of the Buffalo National River has 12 designated sites with tables, fire rings, and lantern hooks at each site. The campground has a vault toilet with limited servicing. No water available. No fees charged and camping is open all year. No RV’s allowed. Spring Creek has 13 designated campsites.
Buffalo Camping & Canoeing in Gilbert has primitive campgrounds 3/4 a mile from the Buffalo River. They have RV and tent sites, with shower house and restrooms, but no dump station. May require a float reservation before booking campground.
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".
Boston Mountain Horse Camp located between Snowball and Witts Springs! 10 sites and 20 indoor stalls. $25/night per campsite w/water & electric. Stalls $5/night. Shavings and ice available for sale. maps provided at check in.
Richland Creek Campground of the Ozark National Forest has a small picturesque mountain stream with waterfalls, rocks, and bluffs. There is access to the Richland Creek Wilderness Area. 11 family camping units. Because of very rough roads, visitors are not encouraged to take camping trailers to Richland Creek.
Pine Grove Trails near Leslie is a great horseback riding destination with 32 RV sites available. Water and electric hookups! Western-style bath house and clean horse stalls!
Boston Mountain RV Park in Marshall has 50 amp service, water and sewer hook-ups, and PRIVATE showers!
Legacy Hollow Campground & Lodging provides off-grid Ozark Glampsites, Campsites, & Tent Rental Services just off State Highway 27 between Marshall & Harriet. Located near the Buffalo National River.
Shelton’s Big Flat Getaway Experience the wild country of eastern Searcy County! Named one of “15 Perfect Arkansas Getaways!” 30 RV hook-ups, six Cabin’s, large outdoor stage, and covered horse barns! View the stunning Ozarks on horseback!
Cherry Street RV Park in Leslie is long-term RV spot rental. If you're looking for a peaceful and serene place to settle down, come park down on Cherry Street. Our location is in-town and within walking distance of some of the best parks, food and shopping Leslie, Arkansas has to offer.
26) Disc Golf
Play a round of Disc Golf in Leslie! Free, nine hole disc golf course with a walking track and playground! Take Main Street south through town and turn right on Limestone. Course on the left.
27) Downtown Marshall's Public Park
The park has paved jogging/walking trail, a stage, picnic pavilions and a 2-acre pond stocked for fishing. It's the perfect place to hang out for the day and get to know the neighbors.
28) Stem Rock
Stem Rock Natural Area has a beautiful rock formation near Oxley! The 3/4-mile trail from the parking area to the rock formation is mostly level. There is a sign at the trailhead where you park. No vehicles are allowed down the trail, but you can mountain bike down. This is along the Ozark Grinder Bike Trail.
If you are into Geocaching, there is a cache at Stem Rock! See if you can find it! Stem Rock is a pretty awesome place. If you do find the cache, be sure to add something cool to the cache and sign the log book. To find information about the cache, including its GPS coordinates, or to log your exciting find, go to www.geocaching.com, and search GC code “GC75BGF”.
Geocaching is a great way to get outdoors and have fun! 34 Geocaches are located in Leslie, Marshall, Gilbert, St. Joe, Snowball, Witts Springs, and more! Searcy County Geocache
Offering a swimming pool during summer season, tennis courts, walking track, playground, basketball, and weight room, the Civic Center has something for every active body. Pool parties are available.
Call (870) 504-0964 for more information.
31) Historical Markers
Searcy County is rich with history. Head out and see if you can find the more than a dozen historical markers located all around the county. The markers cover diverse topics, including the Civil War, Veterans, Country Music and the region's Geology.