Ouachita Mountains Facts: Explore This Range In Western Arkansas | Kidadl


Ouachita Mountains Facts: Explore This Range In Western Arkansas

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The Ouachita Mountains are a mountain range in the United States of America.

They are composed of large hills, which are considered as a continuation of the Ozark mountain range. They have an approximate length of 225 mi (360 km).

The city of Little Rock in Arkansas is the starting point of this range, while it ends at Atoka in Oklahoma. Rich Mountain is the highest peak of the range. It has an altitude of 2950 ft (899 m). To know more about this mountain range, keep reading!

History Of The Ouachita Mountains

The history of the Ouachita mountains dates back to a time before the 16th century. The earliest residents of these mountains in Oklahoma were the Ouachita tribe. The mountain range was subsequently named after this tribe. Initially, the name of the mountains was in the local language of this tribe. Later, French translators translated the name into what it currently is.

Hernando de Soto first explored these mountains across Arkansas and Oklahoma in 1541. In 1803, the United States of America took over control of the territory of Louisiana from Napoleonic France. This came to be known as the Louisiana purchase. After this event, the then-American President sent Dr. George Hunter and William Dunbar to explore the mountainous regions across Oklahoma and Arkansas in 1804.

This mountain in Oklahoma and Arkansas boasts of having the first American parks. This is the Hot Springs National Park which was built in 1832. After 30 years, in 1863, the Ouachita ridge witnessed the Battle of Devil's Backbone. In an attempt to preserve the forest on these mountains across Oklahoma and Arkansas, the U.S. Forest Service in 1990 put an end to the practice of clearcutting trees.

Geography Of The Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita mountains stretch from Southeastern Oklahoma till Central Arkansas. Unlike the Rocky Mountains, which run in a north-south direction, the Ouachita mountains run east-west from Arkansas to Oklahoma. These mountains were created during the Paleozoic era. Before the formation of these mountains, there existed the Ouachita basin, where these mountains currently sit. During the Paleozoic era, the ocean floor folded due to a movement in the ocean waves along with the South American plate. Thus ridges were formed, which developed into mountains.

There are two distinct subranges in this range. They are the Athens Plateau and the Fourche Mountains. The Athens Plateau is also known as the Athen Piedmont. The habitat of this subrange contains ridges that are no taller than 1000 ft (305 m). These ridges stretch up to the border between Arkansas and Oklahoma. There are also hills in this subrange that are filled with pine trees. The Fourche Mountains habitat comprises a type of rock called the Jackfork Sandstone. This rock or sandstone is resistant to erosive weather. The area is also home to several lakes. Some of the lakes are Lake Hamilton, Lake Greeson, Lake Ouachita, and Lake Cedar.

About 1.8 million acres (0.72 million ha) of this range are covered in oak and pine forests.

Wildlife In The Ouachita

Each region of the Ouachita range differs from another in terms of vegetation and its habitat. Many flora and fauna can be seen in the forest that lies in the heart of the Ouachita range. Animals that are commonly found in any temperate forest can be seen here. Such animals include coyotes and white-tailed deer. The black bear can be commonly seen as well. It is believed that there are hundreds of them in this forest between Arkansas and Oklahoma. The forest is home to multiple species of salamander. The species vary according to the range region, and so do their characteristics and traits. The forest also provided shelter to elks and bison. However, they have now been extirpated.

When it comes to the flora seen in the Ouachita mountains, trees like oak, pine, and hickory are the most widespread. They mostly grow in uplands. These trees can survive in dry soil that is low in nutrient content. This place is one of the earliest and biggest forests in the southern part of the United States. The forest has six areas marked as wilderness zones where human activity is restricted to preserve flora and fauna living there.

Ouachita Mountains Activities

The Ouachita mountains offer the perfect destination for a drive with scenic beauty. They also make a great place for outdoor activities and adventures. Some of the popular activities that people engage in here are camping, fishing, and hiking.

Apart from fishing, hiking, and camping, some people also prefer hunting in the open woods. However, this activity is not encouraged as many animals lose their lives to it. The Ouachita mountains encourage preserving the wildlife here. There are many trails and hiking opportunities in these mountains which can be opted. Mountain biking is also a great way to take a tour of this beautiful range.


What are the major cities in the Ouachita Mountains?

Some of the major cities in these mountains are Hot Springs, El Dorado, Mena, Hot Springs Village, Arkadelphia, and Texarkana.

What does the word Ouachita mean?

The word 'Ouachita' is derived from the word 'washito' in the Caddo language, which means 'good hunting grounds.'

Where is the Ouachita Mountains range?

This range lies in the United States of America. They stretch across the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

What are the Ouachita Mountains made of?

The Ouachita Mountains are mostly made of Paleozoic rocks and sandstone.

What type of rock are the Ouachita Mountains?

This range is made up of sedimentary rocks.

What caused the Ouachita Mountains?

They were caused by a shift in the South American plates and the adjoining ocean waves.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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