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Petit Jean Mountain

Petit Jean State Park
Arkansas’ Premier State Park

Petit Jean Mountain
Sign at the eastern entrance to Petit Jean State Park
Photo © 2000 R. Lachowsky

Sitting atop a picturesque mountain 1,100 feet above the Arkansas River Valley in central Arkansas is Arkansas’ first state park, Petit Jean State Park. Visitors to the park find a vast number of recreational and educational opportunities from camping, hiking and fishing to learning about the unique natural features and the early human history of the area. This website is designed to provide teachers and students with information about the matchless beauty of this area of The Natural State. Students can test their knowledge about Petit Jean Mountain by visiting the "Just For Students" page.

Enjoy your cyber-visit to the park!

The Mountain

Petit Jean Mountain
Photo © 1998 R. Lachowsky

Rising above the Arkansas River west of the town of Morrilton, Petit Jean Mountain is the third-highest point between the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains. The woods, ravines, streams, springs, and geologic formations remain much the same as when French explorers discovered them some 300 years ago. Dr. T.W. Hardison, an early mountain resident of the early 1900’s, described the mountain in this way:

"A great flat-topped mountain rising 800 feet above the valley and river, 1,200 feet above the sea, reaching seven miles from point to base, and having on its summit 28 square miles of level or gently rolling land; its sweeping brow line, more than thirty miles in extent, rimmed with a continuous battlement of huge, gray boulders; a creek rising near the point, flowing down the center of the mountain finally to hurl itself over a sheer precipice 95 feet high, then winding its way on down the mountainside in a broad canyon from 200 to 400 feet deep; great fields of boulders, fifty to a hundred feet high, set in a primeval forest of pines, places where one stands and looks away to where mountain and sky blend their purple and blue; where one sweeps with a glance fifty or sixty miles of rolling hills and narrow valleys such is the summit of Petit Jean Mountain."

Petit Jean Mountain and Petit Jean State Park offer visitors a multitude of opportunities to get back to nature. The park has evolved over the nearly 80 years of its existence from one man's dream to the pride of The Natural State and the distinction of being Arkansas' first state park.

The park has weathered numerous set backs, both natural and man-made, and yet it remains THE place to go to get away for an extended vacation or a restful weekend. Future generations will enjoy the same natural wonders that have delighted visitors for almost a century.

Fire and ice can destroy and reshape the ecology and the surface of the mountain, but Petit Jean's heart remains as solid as the sandstone that formed the mountain millions of years ago.

Petit Jean Mountain
Photo © 2001 R. Lachowsky. All rights reserved.

Bibliography and Web Links


Berry, Fred & John Novak (1987).  The History of Arkansas.  Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company.

Carpenter, Allan (1978).  The New Enchantment of America: Arkansas.  Chicago: Children's Press.

Earngey, Bill (1987).  Arkansas Roadsides: A Guidebook for the State.  Little Rock: August House Publishers.

Fradin, Dennis (1980).  Arkansas: In Words and Pictures. Chicago: Children's Press.

Heinrichs, Ann (1994).  America the Beautiful: Arkansas. Chicago: Children's Press.

Hunter, Carl (1984).  Wildflowers of Arkansas.  Little Rock:The Ozark Society Foundation.

Mitchell, Ruth (1986).  Arkansas Heritage.  Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company.

Paulson, Alan C. (1998).  Roadside History of Arkansas.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company.

Sealander, John and Gary A. Heidt (1990).  Arkansas Mammals: Their Natural History, Classification, and Distribution.  Fayetteville, AR: The University of
    Arkansas Press.


Website designed by Richard Lachowsky, Media Specialist at Bearden Middle School.
For suggestions or comments, e-mail me at:

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