Mountain View is the largest town in Stone County, Arkansas, but it is the biggest Arkansas small town you will find. With a population of about 3,000 people, Mountain View is a little town nestled in the hills of the Ozarks.
The city’s primary economy is tourism thanks to the title of “Folk Music Capital of the World.” From hiking and fishing adventures to local crafts to historic landmarks, Mountain View offers a piece of the Ozark way of life to all travelers who find themselves exploring the rich traditions and culture.
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How to Get to Mountain View, AR
TL;DR You will probably need a car to get to Mountain View. You can drive your own or rent one. There are buses that will get you as close as Clinton, but then you’ll need to take a taxi for an hour which might not be feasible.
If you are new to this part of the world, you might be shocked at just how hard it is to get around without a car. If you are flying into Arkansas, I have tips for renting a car below. Getting almost anywhere out of Little Rock without wheels is very difficult.
Driving in Arkansas is pretty easy. Roads are well marked and maintained other than in very rural areas. I get skittish driving in the mountains in winter, but that might just be me.
Google Maps and other navigation apps work great in this part of the country, though navigation systems in cars can miss some major landmarks if they haven’t been updated.
Tips for Renting a Car in Arkansas
It’s awfully hard to get around Arkansas without a car. Whenever I don’t drive my own car over from Oklahoma, I will pick up a rental car at whichever airport I fly into when I get to Arkansas.
If you’re also looking to rent a car, I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels. You’ll be able to pick up a car at any airport or in your hometown.
Check availability and get a quote for a rental car for your trip here.
The Best Things to Do in Mountain View, AR
In no particular order…
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns is a living cave that offers an opportunity for new discoveries with every visit.
Forest Service Guides lead three different types of tours throughout the cave. The tour highlights passages carved out of the stone by water, an underground river, and the world’s largest flowstone!
Visitors can also find walking and biking trails, as well as a campground and Visitor’s Center full of information.
Ozark Folk Center State Park
The Ozark Folk Center State Park is dedicated to highlighting the craft, culture, and music of the Ozarks. The park is opened mid-April to mid-November with the highlighted features being the opportunity for guests to hear live Southern mountain music, view artisans working at their craft, and touring the herb garden.
The park features more than twenty artisans who demonstrate, create, and sell handmade goods for visitors to experience. The Ozark Folk Center State Park is a place for visitors to learn about and grow to have an appreciation for the culture of the South and of the Ozarks.
Washington Street Park
Washington Street Park is a simple little park near the heart of Mountain View where many of the local pickers and musicians meet to play and have jam sessions.
The park is located close to the Mountain View Meeting Place where visitors can find a free down-home country music show from local musicians. The Washington Street Park and Mountain View Meeting Place are not large, fancy venues, but they are reminiscent of the simple roots of the Ozark way of life.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a historical landmark preserved along Mirror Lake. The original mill was built in 1914, and it now stands as a landmark full of old tools, original equipment, and Indigenous artifacts. There is also an old-fashioned country store full of fresh, local produce and antiques.
Sylamore Creek Swinging Bridge
The Sylamore Swinging Bridge opened for use in 1914 as part of the first road traveling through the Ozark National Forest. This bridge was an essential part of getting goods through the National Forest, but it was destroyed in a torrential rainfall in 1982.
The bridge that now stands today was rebuilt and opened in 1985 using blueprints that were used in maintenance work to bring the bridge up to new state standards in the 1940’s. The bridge today now stands as a landmark of history to those who visit and gives visitors an insight to the state of travel in the early 20th century.
The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan over 50 years ago as a movement for continuing to push towards a more peaceful world, with supporters planting Peace Poles in their towns as a symbol of supporting the peace movement.
The Mountain View Peace Pole began being discussed in 2013, with many fundraisers to follow. Meetings were held to determine that the Peace Pole would be made of native stone and the languages that would be used for inscribing, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
The languages of Cherokee, Irish-Gaelic, Wolof, and American English would be used to represent all those who played a role in creating the culture and community of Mountain View. It is a testament to the citizens of Mountain View and their work to support a more peaceful existence on Earth.
OK Trading Post
The OK Trading Post is the place to go to experience scenic mountain trails on horseback.
Operating seven days of the week April through October and by reservation November through March, the OK Trading Post offers a variety of adventure and experience unique to the Ozarks.
All the trail rides are guided and geared towards new riders, so no previous horse-riding experience is necessary. The OK Trading Post offers a variety of lengths of rides through the forest ranging from just a half-hour ride to an overnight camping experience.
The OK Trading Post also features a small shop and a petting zoo, perfect for any family adventure.
Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail
The Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail is a 50-mile bike trail, of mostly single-track riding, that is created of interconnecting loops.
There are four different trailheads to access the bike trail, found at the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, Green Mountain Road, and on AR Highway 5 North.
The Syllamo Bike Trail is suitable for a variety of experience levels of cyclists. There are stretches suitable for beginners, but there are also stretches that offer more difficulty and challenge to more experienced riders.
Jack’s Fishing Resort
Jack’s Fishing Resort has been family-owned and operated since 1961, offering guests a scenic resort experience right along the White River. The resort offers lodging, features JoJo’s Catfish Wharf restaurant, and a variety of boat dock services.
Guests can rent boats, go along on guided fishing experiences along the river, rent canoes or kayaks, and enjoy a day on the lake trying to catch the variety of game fish that call White River home. Jack’s Fishing Resort offers a family-friendly atmosphere and environment that will create memories for years to come.
Mountain View City Park Disc Golf
The Bluegrass Trails Disc Golf Course is found in the Mountain View City Park. The course is a mostly flat course with a moderate number of trees and forestation.
There are three different lengths of courses featured: yellow is the short course, blue is a moderate course, and red is a long course. It is known to be a moderately difficult course, though, and may not be an ideal starting course for beginners.
The park does well to maintain the course and takes pride in having one of the best courses in the state.
Loco Ropes is an adventure park made to bring visitors a treetop, adrenaline experience. Visitors will strap in and partake in over 30 segments of challenges to test your nerve and agility.
The whole family will enjoy the adventure park and create a family experience you have not had before. Loco Ropes will put you in the treetops going along different courses, obstacles, and zipline adventures through the Ozarks.
Mountain View Go Kart
Mountain View Go Kart is a small Go Kart track off the road that offers a ton of fun for the entire family. There is nothing astoundingly flashy about the track, but it is run by a family who enjoys any and all visitors. The track and cars are well kept and bound to be fun for the whole family.
The Stone Drive-In theatre is an old-fashion drive-in that opened in 1965. Showtime is always at dark, with the box office opening an hour before dark.
There are no large signs highlighting where the theatre is located, so be sure to give yourself some extra time to find the drive-in so you do not miss the start time.
The movies show as schedule in rain or shine. The drive-in sticks with the vintage feel and will only accept cash. Drive-ins are not common to come by, so take the opportunity if you have it to visit the Stone Drive-In!
Pine Hills Golf Course
The Pine Hills Golf Course opened in 1994 and features 9-holes, with the longest tee being 1,743 yards. The course is the only one in Mountain View and is great for a short game that will not take all day.
Smaller courses are usually great opportunities to get in practice on a tight game with all the holes being close to one another. Besides, it is a fun opportunity to get to play golf within the hills of the Ozarks.
Stone County Museum
The Stone County Museum is within the historic Mountain View school building that was built in 1928. The building was officially recognized as being on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 2004.
The museum features the Loy and Freda Daum Massey Research room, the Mountain View Art Guild, and offers a place for the meeting of the Stone County Historical Society.
Restorations have begun for the building to have windows and doors to be replaced with replicas of the originals, with the hopes to one day be placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Jimmy Driftwood Barn
The Jimmy Driftwood Barn is one of the places to be for the music scene of Mountain View. Visitors from all over come to here the folk music played in the Jimmy Driftwood Barn.
Old church pews are used as the seating, and anyone can sign-up to perform. There are no requirements other than to sign-up to play when you come in.
It is a small venue that provides big entertainment and a close-knit, family-friendly environment.
The Dulcimer Shoppe
A dulcimer is an instrument with a sounding board in a trapezoidal shape with strings stretched over that are played by striking with a handheld hammer.
McSpadden Dulcimer Shoppe made their first instrument in 1962, taking pride in their specialty, the mountain dulcimer.
Throughout the year, the Dulcimer Shoppe opens its doors to visitors to showcase the craftsmanship that goes into creating each and every instrument that is sold. It is a unique experience to learn about the craft of making an instrument that is heavily highlighted in folk music.
The Arkansas Craft School
The Arkansas Craft School can be found in the historic town square of Mountain View and features a variety of studios for students to hone their skills in their specialty craft and art.
The ACS offers year-round classes in a variety of disciplines, including woodworking, metal, glass, clay, photography, jewelry making, fiber art, and classic studio art. The ACS is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to the growth, appreciation, and instruction of arts and crafts.
Bean Fest and the Arkansas Championship Outhouse Race are held annually in October for the past 38 years. The event highlights are the bean cooking competition and outhouse races, but there is also a craft fair with vendors set up around the historic town square and live music throughout the weekend.
The Bean Fest is an opportunity to explore the shops of the historic town square while enjoying the company of so many other visitors, all while testing the best beans and cornbread the Ozarks have to offer.
Arkansas Folk Festival
For 58 years, the Arkansas Folk Festival has taken place on the third Saturday of April, featuring music on the historic square, craft vendors, and delicious food.
The Arkansas Craft School hosts many demonstrations by their instructors and showcases the variety of art and talent that can be found in Mountain View.
The Arkansas Folk Festival promotes support for not only local businesses but those who have taken their time to hone and perfect their craft, whatever it may be. It is an opportunity to discover a new item that you may love or an art medium you would like to further explore.
Greers Ferry Lake (Heber Springs)
Greers Ferry Lake is one the five larges lakes in the state of Arkansas and has some of the state’s best beaches.
With fishing, water sports, boating, and camping, it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors of the foothills of the Ozarks.
Greers Ferry Lake is only a 50-minute drive from Mountain View, so it is an easy day-trip to make for more outdoor adventures. Not only does the lake offer opportunity to explore the nature and scenery of the Ozarks, but it also features many shopping and historical sites near the lake.
Ellen Hobgood Gallery (Heber Springs)
The Ellen Hobgood Gallery is a casual gallery that has now been open for 10 years, featuring the unique creations of artists local to the region. The gallery offers painting parties, art lessons, and a variety of artwork.
The gallery features a very relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that is inviting to anyone who enjoys art in any style or medium. The Ellen Hobgood Gallery is the place to find the next piece of local art you will love.
Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures (Heber Springs)
The Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventure began in 1992 out of a 24-foot camper trailer on the White River. Jamie Rouse worked to learn more about fly fishing and develop an adventure experience that all visitors will enjoy.
Trips can be anywhere from half a day to a full day with a combination of floating and wading, but your trip can be customized. The team with Rouse Fly Fishing utilizes many of the rivers and lakes around the area, including the Little Red River, White River, and Norfork River to provide the best fishing experience to guests.
Arkansas Travel Resources
What to Pack for Arkansas
A camera so you can take photos of the special moments from your trip. Whether you bring a point-and-shoot like my Sony ZV-1 or rely on your cell phone like my iPhone 12 Pro, make sure you have at least one camera (though I always travel with two)!
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Heading out on the road?
Before you leave for your trip make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I have used World Nomads when I travel since 2016, and I happily recommend them.
Getting coverage is important whenever you’re more than a hundred miles from home in case of an accident, sickness, theft, etc.
Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.
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Kirsten Hazlewood is from Paragould, AR and graduated from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. She still remains in Paragould with her husband, two stepchildren, and their clowder of cats and raccoons.