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According to legend, Petit Jean was actually a young 18th century French woman. When she discovered that her fiance planned to explore the Louisiana Territory, she cut her hair and disguised herself as a boy. She then managed to find a position as a cabin boy. She survived the voyage and the expedition began their exploration. Once they had reached the area of the mountain, the young woman became ill. On her deathbed she revealed herself to her fiance. After her death she was buried on the mountain, not under her own name, but under the name she had been known by on the ship “Little John”.
Petit Jean State Park is Arkansas’s first state park. To further enhance this 300 year old legend, the landscape is breathtaking. Windswept views, as well as, enchanting woodlands laced with streams and wildflowers, and a spectacular waterfall called Cedar Falls.
ATOP THE MOUNTAIN
Atop legendary Petit Jean Mountain, Petit Jean State Park is a special place rich in natural beauty where you can likewise experience the craftsmenship and conservation legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Native log and stone facilities built by these men in the 1930s mirror the surrounding rugged beauty. Preserved throughout the park as National Register of Historic Places districts, these facilities and other works include the park’s mountain lodge, cabins, pavilions, visitor center, trails, an arched bridge spanning Cedar Creek, and other historic treasures.
The diversity of geological formations on Petit Jean Mountain is fascinating. Hiking trails will lead you through forests, canyons, bluffs, and caves. Some caves have American Indian pictographs to explore. Streams, meadows, and mountainsides provide great viewing. Overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon is the park’s historic Mather Lodge. Features include 24 guest rooms, a main dining room with large windows framing and westward view of the canyon, a cozy smaller dining room, meeting room, and swimming pool. The park’s 33 cabins are nearby. Some cabins are on the canyon bluff, while others are nestled in a wooded area. Park campsites are a short drive away near Lake Bailey, 100 acres for fishing, canoeing, and pedal boating. Park interpreters offer a variety of programs and special events throughout the year. These highlight the natural and historic resources of this unforgettable state park.
A must-see experience in the park is Cedar Falls, the park’s spectacular waterfall that cascades 95 feet into scenic Cedar Creek Canyon. Overlooks above, and a trail below, offer many different viewpoints for enjoying the seasonal natural beauty of Cedar Creek Canyon.
Through time, Petit Jean Mountain has been a place of opportunity, for explorers, for settlers, and for travelers like you. Petit Jean State Park is a place where all elements work in harmony. Come experience the natural beauty of the mountain and its windswept views of the Arkansas River Valley, the warmth of the CCC/Rustic-style architecture, and the diversity of geological formations and wildlife habitats.
PARK HOURS & FEES
1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road
Morrilton, AR 72110
For more information click HERE.
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