Discover Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

Located in the heart of Arkansas, Petit Jean State Park stands as a testament to the state’s natural beauty and rich history. This enchanting park, named after a legendary French explorer’s alleged grave, offers visitors a captivating blend of stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures, and cultural heritage.

Visitors to Petit Jean can explore miles of scenic hiking trails that lead to picturesque waterfalls, such as the iconic Cedar Falls, cascading into secluded pools. The park’s geological formations, including Bear Cave and the Seven Hollows, intrigue visitors with their unique shapes and ancient tales. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot various birds and animals amidst the park’s diverse habitats.

Whether you seek outdoor adventure, quiet contemplation among nature, or a glimpse into Arkansas’s past, Petit Jean State Park offers something extraordinary for every visitor.

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Top 3 Facts about Petit Jean State Park

01

Legendary Origins

Petit Jean State Park is named after a legendary French girl who disguised herself as a boy to accompany her sweetheart, a French explorer, to the New World. According to local folklore, she died during their journey and was buried atop the mountain, hence the name “Petit Jean”.

02

Cedar Falls

One of the park’s most renowned natural features is Cedar Falls, a 95-foot waterfall cascading into Cedar Creek Canyon. It’s a popular destination for visitors, offering scenic views and a picturesque backdrop for photography.

03

Geological Wonders

Petit Jean State Park boasts fascinating geological formations such as Bear Cave and the Seven Hollows. These formations provide insights into the park’s ancient geological history and offer opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$198.00 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Petit Jean State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Petit Jean State Park

To get to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, you can follow these directions:

  1. From Little Rock (Approximately 1.5 Hours):
    • Take I-40 West from Little Rock.
    • Continue on I-40 West for about 50 miles.
    • Take Exit 108 for AR-9 towards Morrilton.
    • Follow AR-9 North for approximately 10 miles.
    • Turn left onto AR-154 West (Petit Jean Mountain Road).
    • Follow AR-154 for about 8 miles until you reach the Petit Jean State Park entrance.
  2. From Fort Smith (Approximately 2 Hours):
    • Take I-40 East from Fort Smith.
    • Continue on I-40 East for about 90 miles.
    • Take Exit 108 for AR-9 towards Morrilton.
    • Follow AR-9 North for approximately 10 miles.
    • Turn left onto AR-154 West (Petit Jean Mountain Road).
    • Follow AR-154 for about 8 miles until you reach the Petit Jean State Park entrance.

Places to Stay Near Petit Jean State Park

Inside the Park

Mather Lodge: Open year-round, this lodge offers 24 rooms with full amenities, including a restaurant and a swimming pool. Enjoy stunning canyon views!

Cabins: With 33 cabins, including historic rustic-style options, you’re spoiled for choice. Several feature full kitchens and are within walking distance of Mather Lodge.

Camping: For a more traditional outdoor experience, the park boasts rent-a-yurts and various campgrounds, complete with restroom facilities and a visitor center to ensure your needs are met.

Nearby Accommodations

Resorts and Hotels: Just outside the park, find a range of hotels and resorts with varying levels of luxury.

Vacation Rentals: Privately rented homes give you a unique stay with all the comforts of home.

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Best Time to Go to Petit Jean State Park

Summer

Summer

Get ready for warmer weather and longer days during summer. With temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees, summer can get toasty, but it’s prime time for exploring the lush greenery and maybe taking a dip to cool off.

  • Activities: Swimming, Boating, Fishing
  • Pros: Long daylight hours, lush landscapes
  • Cons: Higher temperatures and humidity
Winter

Winter

Winter at Petit Jean may offer colder days with average temperatures from the low 30s to the 50s, but that doesn’t freeze over the fun. While winter sports may be limited, the peaceful trails and quiet overlooks offer their own serene beauty.

  • Activities: Hiking, Bird watching
  • Advantages: Fewer visitors, tranquil atmosphere
  • Note: Check accessibility, as some areas may be less accessible in snow or ice
Spring

Spring

In spring, Petit Jean Mountain blooms with not only flora but also activities for you to enjoy. The average temperature wavers between a comfortable 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit—just right for hiking and taking in the park’s natural beauty.

  • Activities: Hiking, Photography, Picnicking
  • Weather: Mild with occasional rain; perfect for waterfalls
  • What to Bring: A light jacket and your best walking shoes
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Fall

Here’s a secret: locals often whisper that October is the jewel in Petit Jean’s seasonal crown. Why, you ask? Imagine temperatures that hover from the pleasant upper 40s to the mid-70s. The fall colors are definitely a dazzling plus!

  • Scenery: Vivid fall colors adorning the landscape
  • Events: Seasonal events celebrating the richness of fall
  • Tip: Pack layers—it can be chilly in the mornings!

Must-See Attractions

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Cedar Falls

One of Petit Jean State Park’s most iconic features is Cedar Falls, which plunges 95 feet into Cedar Creek Canyon. The trail leading to Cedar Falls offers scenic views and is a popular spot for photography.

Sunset Point

Located near Mather Lodge, Sunset Point offers breathtaking views of the Arkansas River Valley. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset or take in panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Seven Hollows Trail

This trail takes hikers through a series of unique geological formations called the Seven Hollows. It features caves, natural bridges, and rock shelters, providing a fascinating journey through the park’s diverse landscapes.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Petit Jean State Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Check the park’s website or contact them ahead of time for any updates on trail conditions, weather forecasts, and park events. This can help you prepare appropriately for your visit.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate hiking gear. Trails can vary in difficulty, so comfortable shoes and layers of clothing are recommended.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Petit Jean is home to diverse wildlife. Observe animals from a distance and avoid feeding them. Keep your food securely stored to prevent attracting wildlife to picnic areas.

Stay Informed

Visit Attractions Early

Popular spots like Cedar Falls and Mather Lodge can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Consider visiting early in the day to avoid crowds and to experience these attractions at their best.

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petit jean state park scaled

Frequently Asked Questions about Petit Jean State Park

The park is in Morrilton, Arkansas, atop Petit Jean Mountain, approximately 60 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Key attractions include Cedar Falls, a 95-foot waterfall; Rock House Cave, a large rock shelter with Native American pictographs; and the Mather Lodge, a historic rustic lodge.

The park offers various accommodations, including cabins, campsites for tents and RVs, and the historic Mather Lodge, which has rooms and a restaurant.

Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, and wildlife watching. The park also has a swimming pool, playgrounds, and a visitor center with exhibits.

The park is beautiful year-round, but spring and fall are particularly popular due to mild weather and stunning foliage. Summer is great for swimming and other water activities, while winter offers a peaceful, less crowded experience.

No, there is no entrance fee to enter Petit Jean State Park. However, there may be fees for certain activities or accommodations.

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