Located in the eastern portion of the central Ouachita Mountains, Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area contains a complex of open glades, barrens, and dry oak woodlands on a shale substrate. Glades at the natural area range from seasonally wet, flat glades situated in erosional drainages to very dry hillside glades on south and west-facing slopes. Located within the glades are several globally rare, endemic plant species. The natural area is very diverse botanically and also includes rich hardwood forests on north-facing slopes and terraces along the Middle Fork of the Saline River, including a one-third mile stretch of the river. Extensive cedar removal work has been completed in recent years to restore open glades and woodlands to the area.
From the junction of State Highway 5 and State Highway 9 at Crows, travel approximately 4.6 miles west, through Owensville to Burk Road, and turn right. Then travel approximately 1.5 miles. The majority of the area is located on the east side of the road.
Hunting is prohibited on this natural area.