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a view of some of the cliffs heading toward the park entrance
Petit Jean State Park
Closest available address
1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road, Morrilton, AR 72110
Visitor center = 8-5, later in the spring & summer. Other facilities vary.
Best time to visit
Petit Jean State Park was established in 1923 as the first state park in Arkansas. Today it is 2,658 acres and includes scenic mountain habitat, a historic lodge and a waterfall.
Petit Jean (pronounced like “pet it” and blue jeans) derives its name from the legend of a young woman who was called Petit Jean when she disguised herself as a man to join a French expedition to the area in order to be with her finance on the same journey. She became terminally ill and her final request was to be buried on Petit Jean Mountain, which was then named after her. The current park area was offered by a logging company to the state as a park in the 1920s. Some park structures and facilities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
The park is popular for camping and cabin rentals. It also has a historic lodge with room rentals, however the lodge and restaurant are closed in 2011 and perhaps 2012 for renovations. A major park attraction is Cedar Falls. The falls can be viewed at an overlook or via a short but steep two mile trail to the base. The falls are most impressive when there has been a lot of rain in the area. Another park highlight is the Rock House Cave, which has faint drawings from early Indians. The path to the cave goes through some interesting rock formations which look like turtles. Other park options include boating in a manmade lake, driving Red Bluff Drive to see some scenic overlooks and swimming in the park’s pool. Petit Jean is primarily a camping park but there are enough activities to appeal to different tastes. It makes for a good family outing when in the area.
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