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Within the System of Natural Areas are sites that represent some of the best, and last, remaining examples of the state’s original natural landscape. Natural areas are special places that protect rare natural communities and provide vital habitat for a host of plant and animal species, some of which are considered to be rare, threatened, or endangered. Locate one of our 79 natural areas below.


Sugarloaf Mountains-Midland Peak Natural Area

Sugarloaf Mountains-Midland Peak Natural Area
Natural Areas
Arkansas Valley
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Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission
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Rising nearly 2,000 feet above the surrounding plains and visible for miles in all directions, the Sugarloaf Mountains are an isolated pair of high, conjoined ridges straddling the border between Arkansas and Oklahoma south of Fort Smith. They represent an isolated portion of the Scattered High Ridges and Mountains ecoregion of the Arkansas Valley, and the area historically supported large areas of prairie, savanna, and open woodland habitat. The ridges are part of the Cross Timbers Ecosystem, a complex mosaic of upland forest, savanna, and glade that form the broad transition zone between the eastern deciduous forests and the grasslands of the southern Great Plains. The summit of East Midland Peak (locally sometimes called Sugarloaf Mountain) is host to the largest known population of the globally rare maple-leaf oak (Quercus acerifolia). Three other species of conservation concern are known from the area: Ouachita indigo bush (Amorpha ouachitensis), Church's wild rye (Elymus churchii), and Long-bract spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata).


From Hartford, Arkansas, head north on Broadway Street for 0.8 miles. Broadway Street turns into Sugarloaf Mountain Road. Continue on Sugarloaf Mountain Road for 3.5 miles to its intersection with Forest Tower Way. Park on the side of the road in this area and use the intersection to turn around.