U.S. Interior Highlands

The U.S. Interior Highlands is a mountainous region in the Central United States spanning northern and western Arkansas, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The name is designated by the United States Geological Survey to refer to the combined subregions of the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark Plateaus. The U.S. Interior Highlands is one of few mountainous regions between the Appalachians and Rockies.

U.S. Interior Highlands
U.S. Interior Highlands DEM
1:1000000 scale DEM of the U.S. Interior Highlands
LocationUnited States
Highest point
 – elevation
Mount Magazine
2,753 ft (839 m)


There are three distinct mountain ranges within the U.S. Interior Highlands:

The U.S. Interior Highlands is dominated by temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. Three national forests are located here: The Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas and Oklahoma; the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas; and the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.


20131103 1407 Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita Mountains from Flatside Pinnacle (November 2013)

20151216 1604 Boston Mountains

The Boston Mountains from Sam's Throne (December 2015)

20170409 1354 St. Francois Mountains

The St. Francois Mountains from Hughes Mountain (April 2017)

Big Sugar Creek State Park

Big Sugar Creek State Park is a public recreation area encompassing more than 2,000 acres (810 ha) in McDonald County in southwest Missouri, United States. The state park was established in 1992 to preserve part of the Elk River water system, which Big Sugar Creek is part of. The park has a three-mile-long (5 km) trail for hiking. A major portion of the park has been designated as the Elk River Breaks Natural Area.

Bull Shoals-White River State Park

Bull Shoals-White River State Park is a 732-acre (296 ha) Arkansas state park in Baxter and Marion Counties, Arkansas in the United States. Containing one of the nation's best trout-fishing streams, the park entered the system in 1955 after the United States Army Corps of Engineers built Bull Shoals Dam on the White River. The park runs along the shoreline of Bull Shoals Lake and the White River above and below the dam, and contains picnic areas, a marina, boat rentals, interpretive programs, and a visitors' center with gift shop.

Crowley's Ridge State Park

Crowley's Ridge State Park is a 291-acre (118 ha) Arkansas state park in Greene County, Arkansas in the United States atop Crowley's Ridge. Located on the former homesite of pioneer Benjamin Crowley, the park contains many excellent examples of the work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. One of Arkansas's most popular state parks, the parks is bisected by Crowley's Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. The site became a state park in 1933 in an effort to honor Crowley and the heritage of the Crowley's Ridge area.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park

DeGray Lake Resort State Park is a 984-acre (398 ha) Arkansas state park in Clark and Hot Spring counties, Arkansas in the United States. Situated in the Ouachita Mountains, the park features the 13,800-acre (5,600 ha) DeGray Lake, the park features a championship rated 18 hole golf course and Arkansas's only state park resort. The United States Army Corps of Engineers began constructing DeGray Dam on the Caddo River in 1963, and support for a state park began growing shortly after. The park was created in 1974, and the resort and golf course were added by 1975.

Grand Gulf State Park (Missouri)

Grand Gulf State Park is a state-operated, privately owned and publicly accessible, geologic preserve near Thayer, Missouri, encompassing a forked canyon that is the remnant of an ancient collapsed dolomite cave system. The land that is now the park was acquired by conservationist Leo Drey (1917–2015) before becoming part of the Missouri state parks system. The 322-acre (130 ha) state park has been operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources under a lease agreement with the L-A-D Foundation since 1984. Grand Gulf was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1971 as an excellent example of karst topography and underground stream piracy. A 60-acre (24 ha) portion of the park was designated by the state as the Grand Gulf Natural Area in 1986.

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is a public recreation area covering 8,781 acres (3,554 ha) on the East Fork Black River in Reynolds County, Missouri. The state park is jointly administered with adjoining Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, and together the two parks cover more than sixteen thousand acres in the St. Francois Mountains region of the Missouri Ozarks.The term "shut-in" refers to a place where the river's breadth is limited by hard rock that is resistant to erosion. In these shut-ins, the river cascades over and around smooth-worn igneous rock, creating a natural water park that is used by park visitors when water levels are not dangerously high.

Lake Fort Smith State Park

Lake Fort Smith State Park is a 260-acre (110 ha) Arkansas state park in Crawford County, Arkansas in the United States. Originally a Fort Smith city park in the 1930s and later the Works Progress Administration-built Mountainburg Recreational Facility, the lake nestled in the Boston Mountains was adopted into the state park system by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism in 1967. Lake Fort Smith State Park was closed in 2002 to make way for a larger dam and spillway. The addition flooded the site of the old park, and the new 260 acre Lake Fort Smith State Park reopened May 21, 2008 four miles north of its original location with 30 camp sites, 10 cabins, a group lodging facility, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina with rental boats, a double lane boat ramp, a swimming pool, playground, and an 8,000 square foot visitor center with exhibit gallery, gift shop, a meeting/class room, a patio with an outdoor wood-burning fireplace, and an expansive view of the lake and mountains.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Lake of the Ozarks State Park is a Missouri state park on the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks and is the largest state park in the state. This is also the most popular state park in Missouri, with over 2.5 million visitations in 2017.The park includes 85 miles (137 km) of shoreline on the lake (which has a total of 1,150 miles (1,850 km) of shoreline—mostly privately owned); two swimming beaches with imported sand, 12 trails, the Ozark Caverns, a boat launch, and the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport which has a 6,500-foot (2,000 m) runway. In addition there are campsites and cabins within the park.

One of the most famous aspects of the park is Party Cove which is a rowdy gathering spot that has been featured on the Playboy Channel and the front page of the New York Times Travel Section.

Montauk State Park

Montauk State Park is a public recreation area occupying nearly 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) at the headwaters of the Current River, fifteen miles (24 km) southwest of Salem, Missouri. The state park contains a fish hatchery and is noted for its rainbow and brown trout angling. It was acquired in 1926. The park has several natural springs including Montauk Spring with a daily average flow of 53 million gallons of water.

Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita Mountains (), simply referred to as the Ouachitas, are a mountain range in western Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. They are formed by a thick succession of highly deformed Paleozoic strata constituting the Ouachita Fold and Thrust Belt, one of the important orogenic belts of North America. The Ouachitas continue in the subsurface to the southeast where they make a poorly understood connection with the Appalachians and to the southwest where they join with the Marathon area of West Texas. Together with the Ozark Plateaus, the Ouachitas form the U.S. Interior Highlands. The highest natural point is Mount Magazine at 2,753 feet.

Ouachita National Forest

The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.

Ozark Mountain forests

The Ozark Mountain forests are a temperate broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion of the central United States delineated by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The ecoregion covers an area of 23,900 square miles (62,000 square kilometers) in northern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

The Boston Mountains and Ouachita Mountains are the main mountain ranges of the region.

Ozark–St. Francis National Forest

The Ozark – St. Francis National Forest is a United States National Forest that is located in the state of Arkansas. It is composed of two separate forests, Ozark National Forest in the Ozark Mountains; and St. Francis National Forest on Crowley's Ridge. Each forest has distinct biological, topographical, and geological differences.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a unit of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism in the Ouachita Mountains.

The original "Castle in the Sky" lodge was built in 1898 on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, in Polk County, Arkansas. The park is on Talimena Scenic Drive — northwest of Mena, Arkansas and east of the Oklahoma state line. It is the only lodge open on the 235 mile Ouachita Trail. It is located on Arkansas’ second highest peak, Rich Mountain.

The lodge has 38 guest rooms, a restaurant, lobby and meeting room. The campground and trails remained open during the renovation. The park is one of the park system's eight mountain parks.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park is a public recreation area covering of 4,294 acres (1,738 ha) eight miles (13 km) south of Cassville in Barry County, Missouri. The state park offers trout fishing on the Roaring River, hiking on seven different trails, and the seasonally open Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center.

Sam A. Baker State Park

Sam A. Baker State Park is a public recreation area encompassing 5,323 acres (2,154 ha) in the Saint Francois Mountains region of the Missouri Ozarks. The state park offers fishing, canoeing, swimming, camping, and trails for hiking and horseback riding. The visitor and nature center is housed in a historic building that was originally constructed as a stable in 1934.

Table Rock State Park (Missouri)

Table Rock State Park is a public recreation area in the U.S. state of Missouri consisting of 356 acres (144 ha) located in Taney County and Stone County on Table Rock Lake along the southern side of the city of Branson. The state park's facilities include a marina, campgrounds, and trails for hiking and bicycling.

Talimena State Park

Talimena State Park is an Oklahoma state park located in LeFlore County in eastern Oklahoma. The 20 acres (8.1 ha) park is at the Oklahoma entrance to Talimena Scenic Drive, about 7 miles (11 km) north of Talihina, Oklahoma. and 20 miles (32 km) south of Wister. It offers opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, and wildlife watching.The park is the western end of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, which travels 223 miles (359 km) through the Ouachita Mountains from Talimena State Park to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, just west of Little Rock, Arkansas.In 2010, this park entertained about 7,600 visitors and earned $28,400 from activity fees. The operating cost was $11,800. It was called one of the five least expensive Oklahoma state parks.

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is a Missouri state park located in the St. Francois Mountains in the Ozarks. The park encompasses Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in the state. The Taum Sauk portion of the Ozark Trail connects the park with nearby Johnson's Shut-ins State Park and the Bell Mountain Wilderness Area, which together are part of a large wilderness area popular with hikers and backpackers.

Mountains of Arkansas
Ouachita Mountains
Mountains of Oklahoma
Ouachita Mountains
Wichita Mountains

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