• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Outdoor Activities

Don't worry if you arrive and the Visitor Center is closed; there are plenty of outdoor activities for you to enjoy:

  • Walk around the Fort grounds, check out the cannons and wagons, and learn about the park's history through educational wayside panels.
  • Take a short walk up to Belle Point and visit the first fort site. If you are lucky enough to visit when the sun is setting, make sure to stop and enjoy the beautiful skyscape backdropped against the Arkansas River.
  • Walk along the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers to observe the fascinating currents as the two bodies flow into one another.
  • Reflect at the Trail of Tears Overlook.
  • Enjoy a picnic under one of the many shade trees or on one of our new picnic tables located near the main parking area.
  • Visit the First Bloom-operated and accurately recreated Officer's Garden.
  • Fort Smith is a bird sanctuary, and the non-developed property amid the acreage of the Historic Site provides excellent viewing locations.
  • Photographers will find numerous potential shots around the Site's property; including the Commissary Building (oldest standing building in Fort Smith), the Garrison Flag (the flagpole standing 99' high and the flag itself an impressive 36'x20' in diameter), the Army and Jail wagons, the Gallows, as well as the Visitor Center.

Did You Know?

Portrait of Anna Dawes

A woman was responsible for the building of a modern federal jail at Fort Smith, AR, in 1888. Anna Dawes, daughter of Sen. Dawes of MA, visited the "Hell on the Border" jail in 1885 and wrote an article describing its conditions. When read in Congress, money was quickly approved for a new jail.