Ozark Mountains

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Ozark Mountains

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Introduction

The Ozarks, also referred to as the Ozark Mountains, Ozarks Mountain Country, and the Ozark Plateau, are a physiographic and geologic highland region of the central United States. It covers much of the southern half of Missouri and an extensive portion of northwestern and north central Arkansas. The region also extends westward into northeastern Oklahoma and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Shawnee Hills of southwest Illinois, which lie near the eastern edge of this region, are commonly called the "Illinois Ozarks" but are generally not considered part of the true Ozarks.

Although referred to as the Ozark Mountains, the region is actually a high and deeply dissected plateau. Geologically, the area is a broad dome around the Saint Francois Mountains. The Ozark Highlands area, covering nearly 122,000 km2, is by far the most extensive mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains. Together, the Ozarks and Ouachita Mountains form an area known as the U.S. Interior Highlands, and are sometimes referred to collectively. For example, the ecoregion called Ozark Mountain Forests includes the Ouachita Mountains, although the Arkansas River Valley and the Ouachitas, both south of the Boston Mountains, are not usually considered part of the Ozarks.

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Geography

Karst features such as springs, losing streams, sinkholes and caves are common in the limestones of the Springfield Plateau and abundant in the dolostone bedrock of the Salem Plateau and Boston Mountains. Missouri is known as "The Cave State" with over 6,000 recorded caves; the majority of these caves are found in the Ozark counties. The Ozark Plateaus aquifer system affects groundwater movement in all areas except the igneous core of the St. Francois Mountains. Geographic features include limestone and dolomite glades, which are rocky, desert-like area on hilltops. Kept open by periodic fires that limit growth of grasses and forbs in shallow soil, glades are home to collared lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, cacti and other species more typical of the desert southwest.

The Boston Mountains contain the highest elevations of the Ozarks with peaks over 2,500 feet and form the greatest relief of any formation between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. The Boston Mountains portion of the Ozarks extends north of the Arkansas River Valley 20 to 35 miles and is approximately 200 miles and are bordered by the Springfield and Salem Plateau to the north of the White River. Summits can reach elevations of just over 780 metres with valleys almost 500 metres deep. Turner Ward Knob is the highest named peak. Located in western Newton County, Arkansas, its elevation is 750 metres. Nearby, five unnamed peaks have elevations at or slightly above 780 metres. Drainage is primarily to the White River, with the exception of the Illinois River. Many Ozark waterways have their headwaters in the uplands of the Boston formation, including the Buffalo, King’s, Mulberry, Little Red and White rivers.

Topography is mostly gently rolling in the Springfield and Salem Plateaus, where the Saint Francois Mountains are more rugged. The Springfield formation's surface is primarily Mississippian limestone and chert, where the Salem Plateau is older Ordovician dolostones, limestones, and sandstones. Both are rife with karst topography and form long, flat plains. The formations are separated by steep escarpments that dramatically interrupt the rolling hills. Although much of the Springfield Plateau has been denuded of the surface layers of the Boston Mountains, large remnants of these younger layers are present throughout the southern end of the formation, possibly suggesting a peneplain process. The Springfield Plateau drains through wide, mature streams ultimately feeding the White River

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Cities

  • Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Joplin, Missouri
  • Springfield, Missouri

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Sights and Activities

  • Buffalo National River In northern Arkansas is an unpolluted and free-flowing river in the heart of the Ozarks. It has both swift water and calm stretches.
  • Mark Twain National Forest
  • Ozark National Scenic Riverways in southern Missouri consists of the spring-fed Current River and Jacks Fork River.
  • Roaring River State Park - In southwest Missouri has a fresh water steam with trout fishing, camping and hiking.
  • Branson, Missouri with world class entertainment and access to Table Rock Lake for Bass fishing and Lake Taneycomo for lake trout fishing.
  • Silver Dollar City - theme park near Branson, Missouri
  • Eureka Springs, Arkansas sometimes called the little Switzerland of the Ozarks and on other occasions the San Francisco of the Ozarks. Local craft shops and art galleries, good food and shopping. Close to Beaver Lake with fishing, water skiing, swimming and other water sports. Don't forget to see the Passion Play.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

Interstate 44 runs across the Missouri Ozarks from St. Louis to Tulsa.
Interstate 40 runs East-West along the southern edge of the Ozarks
Interstate 70 runs East-West along the northern edge on the Ozarks.
Also historic Route 66 runs from St. Louis to Tulsa in the Ozarks.

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Getting Around

The best way to get around is to drive. You will also get a good fill of the scenery driving the hills of the Ozarks.

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Eat

Frog legs are a popular dish in this area of the country. Catfish, deer and green tomato relish are also some very popular examples of the "stick-to-your-ribs goodness" that warms these hillpeople during the bitter cold months and long, steamy summers.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 11:41 on Jun 19, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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