You know fall has arrived when the evenings begin to cool down yet the days are still sunny with mild temps. The show of colors as the leaves begin to die off is a visual reminder of the slower pace to come. The fall foliage in the Ozark Mountains is especially spectacular, making it a great time to take a fall getaway to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The colors peak in late October and early November, so plan a getaway then to catch the foliage at its full splendor. The weather is at its peak then, too, with cooler days for walking around downtown or getting out for hiking and biking.
Things To Do In Eureka Springs
Fall is a great time to explore outdoors, and Eureka Springs offers a bounty of activities to get you outside to view the fall splash of colors.
Take In The View From The Water
Book a cruise with Belle of the Ozarks to enjoy the views -- the foliage, of course, but also watch for bald eagles and other wildlife -- from a boat. On a Beaver Lake cruise (just over an hour long), you’ll see an ancient Indian burial ground and the submerged homestead, then cruise around a 200-acre game preserve island. See more than 60 miles of shoreline while the captain tells about the history of the area.
Check Out A Variety Of Hiking And Biking Trails In Town
Whether you prefer to see the fall foliage by foot or cycle, there are several hiking and biking trails designed to get you outdoors.
For an easy walking or biking loop, take the Harmon Park Loop Trail that travels 1.4 miles through Harmon Park, Spring Garden, and the historic neighborhood of Upper Spring Street.
The Historic Lake Leatherwood City Park is a 1,610-acre park with more than 25 miles of hiking and biking trails that surround a spring-fed lake. There’s also kayaking and other water sports, camping, cabins, and a marina at the park.
Black Bass City Park is a newer hiking and lake destination in Eureka Springs. There are two miles of trails including a half-mile wheelchair-accessible trail. Just minutes from downtown, you’ll feel as if you’ve gone backcountry on this trail that encircles the lake.
See The Foliage While Zip-Lining
Get up close to the show of colors with a zip-lining experience at Ozark Mountain Ziplines. You’ll zip through the hardwood forest from up to 300+ feet high. View the trees and limestone cliffs on an exhilarating ride.
Nearby Outdoor Adventures
Dogwood Canyon stretches over 10,000 acres on the Missouri-Arkansas border. You’ll find exceptional views of the Ozark Mountains while hiking, fishing, taking a Segway tour, biking, horseback riding, or riding on a wildlife tram tour. A property map shows all the adventures to discover.
Take A Great Selfie
A romantic spot known as the best place for a selfie is Hawksbill Crag. The Whitaker Point Trail that takes you to the crag is about three miles round-trip and takes about two hours to hike. Along the trail, you’ll see a waterfall area in the spring or the colored leaves in the fall. The mid-point and highlight of the trail is the craggy rock that overlooks Buffalo River country. Make sure you bring a camera -- and be careful along the bluff line with its sheer drops.
Pro Tip: When taking a selfie at Hawksbill Crag, the lighting is best either early morning or mid to late afternoon.
Enjoy A Scenic Drive Through The Winding Mountain Roads
The Ozarks are filled with fall splendor, and the views along the scenic byways are especially stunning. Try the stretch between Highways 23 and 16 or between Highways 7 to 62 for great fall colors.
Discover The Natural Springs The City Is Named For
With more than 60 springs and 15 prominent ones that are easily walkable, Eureka Springs is often referred to as “the city that water built.” View the Eureka Springs Trails website to plan a route.
Plenty Of Fall Festivals
While events are canceled this year, most years the fall season is filled with festivals. Some favorites include the annual Corvette Weekend and the War Eagle Craft Fair in October, plus the Ozark Folk Festival, Eureka Springs Food and Wine Weekend, and the Antique Festival of the Ozarks in November.
Ride The Trolley To Explore Eureka Springs
See the city on an open-air tram tour, or take the trolley to discover this historic city. The trolley has four fixed-route options to see different parts of Eureka Springs: the Red Route is a 3.3-mile stretch of the Historic Loop; the Blue Route visits the east side of town in a counter-clockwise direction; the Yellow Route also visits the east side of town but in a clockwise direction; and the Purple Route travels along Highway 62 west to the city limits.
See For Yourself Why Thorncrown Chapel Receives Architectural Awards
Millions of people have visited this chapel since it opened in 1980. Designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones, Thorncrown Chapel rises 48 feet into the Ozark sky from its woodland setting.
There are a variety of underground wonderlands located in the area. Roughly 30 minutes outside of town, you can tour Cosmic Cavern with its amazing rock formations and two lakes, visit War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake, or tour Onyx Cave, the oldest show cave in Arkansas. Take a traditional tour at War Eagle Cavern, or choose the Wild Cavern Tour where you will wiggle and crawl through two miles of narrow passages. Above ground, try your hand at panning for semi-precious gems at the water sluice in the War Eagle Mining Company.
Tour The Ozarks’ Strangest Dwelling
Quigley Castle, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a historic house and museum located just south of Eureka Springs. Elise Quigley designed the castle to reflect her love of nature. Within the two-story home, Elise created a natural space for growing plants. Four feet of bare earth was left between the edges of the living space and the walls allowing flowering, tropical plants to grow up to the second-story ceiling. These plants are now more than 65 years old. Outside, the walls are decorated with rocks that Quigley started collecting when she was a young girl.
Take In Local Music
Whether you’re wanting to listen to music or just sample a local brew or cocktail, Eureka Springs has many popular bars and clubs. Stop by Gravel Bar at Wanderoo Lodge for wine or craft brews on tap and live music on the weekends. Rowdy Beaver Den is a fun locals’ hangout with entertainment from Wednesdays through the weekend. Enjoy a beer garden and game tables at Midtown Bar. Appreciate the downtown views of Main Street from the balcony perched on the side of a limestone bluff at Nyx Cafe and Bar. The Stone House is where you’ll find great music served with wine, beer, and meat, cheese, fruit, and veggie trays. Or check out the eclectic lounge in the heart of downtown at Missy’s White Rabbit Lounge.
Best Restaurants In Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is known for its delightful variety of artisan, locally sourced, and comfort food options.
Dine Amongst The Treetops At Sky Bar
Sky Bar Gourmet Pizza puts you along the treetops for a full show of colors. Located on the top floor of the Crescent Hotel, enjoy a gourmet pizza such as the Mushroom Swiss Burger pizza topped with brown gravy, hamburger, mushrooms, red onions, mozzarella, and Swiss cheese. Sit on the deck for a meal with a show -- of colors, that is.
Delight Your Senses At Grotto
Located in a historic building that was built on solid rock with a continuously running spring, Grotto Wood Fired Grill and Wine Cave delights the senses -- from the atmosphere of the location and the custom music to the smell from the wood-fired grill and the unique flavors on the menu. Chef Slane utilizes common ingredients to create unexpected menu items such as the mushroom brie bisque and the bone marrow, a delicious fat and marrow roasted and served with grilled bread.
Shop The Farmers Market
The open-air market is open Thursday mornings in the Community Center parking lot. In addition to local produce, pick up fresh-baked bread, honey, soaps, and flowers.
Best Places To Stay In Eureka Springs
Stay in a cottage at Beaver Lake Cottages for fantastic views of the lake and fall foliage. The cabins are nestled amongst the trees, where you can enjoy morning coffee on the deck or take in the vibrant colors from the two-person jacuzzi tub.
Or choose from historical lodging options with modern amenities such as the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa or the 1905 Basin Park Hotel. If you’re planning a longer fall-foliage vacation, check into one of these gorgeous properties as part of an Ozark mountains road trip: Osage Beach to Eureka Springs.