Pea Ridge National Military Park

Pea Ridge National Military Park

The history of Pea Ridge National Military Park is a fascinating one. The battle was fought on March 7 & 8th, 1862 and the Union’s victory help to  secure the border state of Missouri. Located in beautiful Northwest Arkansas, Pea Ridge National Military Park is considered one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields and covers approximately 4,300 acres. 

One of the more unique and important sections of the park includes the Trail of Tears. You can see remnants of Telegraph Road by which thousands of Native Americans walked in 1838-1839 during their forced removal from their homes.  Additionally, the Battle of Pea Ridge was the only major Civil War engagement in which Native American troops participated. Led by Brigadier General Albert Pike, two regiments of Cherokees fought for the Confederate army. 

The great thing about Pea Ridge National Military Park is that someone doesn’t have to be a Civil War buff to enjoy this beautifully preserved park. The landscape is gorgeous and it’s very family friendly.

Visitor Information

  •  The Park is open 8am-Dusk each day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
  •  The visitor’s center is open until 4:30
  •  There are picnic areas, as well as, hiking and horseback riding trails
  •  Cost to enter the park is $20 per vehicle and the pass is good for 7 days
  •  Guided tours are available – contact the visitor’s center for more information at 479-451-8122
Pea Ridge National Military Park Sign

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Facts About The Battle of Pea Ridge

facts about pea ridge battlefield
Close up of pea ridge national military park cannon

Inside The Visitor's Center

We love National Park visitor’s centers! There’s always a lot to see and tons of great information before heading into the National Park. The Pea Ridge National Military Park visitor’s center offers a great gift shop, an interesting short film on the Battle of Pea Ridge and interactive displays that everyone will enjoy. 

While at the visitor’s center, don’t forget to stamp your National Park Passport book and to pick up a Christmas ornament for your family travel tree

cannon and cutout soldiers at pea ridge national military park

Driving Around The Park

map of pea ridge national military park
MAP OF PARK
tree lined paved road at pea ridge national military park

Touring Pea Ridge Battlefield

While there are 11 marked stops as you tour Pea Ridge Battlefield highlighted below, we wanted to focus on sharing  the top spots in the park.

  • Trail of Tears
  • General Curtis’ Headquarters Site
  • Leetown
  • Leetown Battlefield
  • Armies Collide
  • West Overlook
  • East Overlook
  • Elkhorn Tavern
  • Confederate Sunset
  • Federal Line
  • Little Sugar Creek Trenches
 

Trail Of Tears

This first stop still reflects the shallow depressions in the ground of the original Telegraph Road that was traversed by thousands of Native Americans during the forced removal from their homes. It was also part of the original route of the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach. 
It’s very moving to look at depressions in the ground and know the sadness and fear that was surely felt by those that walked it all those years ago. 

trail of tears sign

Leetown

Once at this stop, you can walk a path to where a small village once stood. While all visible evidence of the village is gone, it’s neat to imagine what it looked like, especially during the battle. 

two boys walking a wooded trail in pea ridge national military park
sign describing old village at pea ridge battlefield

East Overlook

This is the best view of the battlefield! You’ll see a path to the overlook station and it really gives you an eagle’s eye view of this pristine battlefield. 

road in pea ridge national military park
Driving The Road Through The Park

Elkhorn Tavern

Elkhorn Tavern served as a supply base for General Curtis until the Confederates captured and occupied it. During the battle, the tavern was turned into a field hospital for both Union & Confederate soldiers. Unfortunately, Confederate guerrillas burned the original tavern in 1863, but the building you see today is a very well done reconstruction. 

Also, near the Elkhorn Tavern are two beautiful memorials. Interestingly enough, one of the first Civil War reunions with both Union and Confederate soldiers was held at Pea Ridge just a mere 27 years after the end of the war ( 1889). During the reunion, veterans from both sides dedicated Monuments for remembrance & healing. 

We found these monuments very beautiful and peaceful. It’s amazing that, after just a short time,  soldiers from both sides came together to place these monuments for all to see. 

Elkhorn Tavern in pea ridge national military park
Elkhorn Tavern
elkhorn tavern and cannon in pea ridge national military park
Monument at pea ridge battlefield
monument at pea ridge national military park
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Additional Things To Do While Visiting Northwest Arkansas

Final Thoughts

If you enjoy history like we do, Pea Ridge National Military Park is for you! As one of the most pristine Civil War battlefields, you can really envision the battle taking place here. The park hosts re-enactments throughout the year so keep your eye out for those events. While no camping is allowed, there is a picnic area and there are several trails to hike. It’s a great way to spend the day and it’s always interesting to be in a place were so much history took place. 

Travel Well, 

 

Nicole
Web Hosting

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. This is not an area that I know much about so it was quite interesting. And the area is so green and pretty.

  2. I love that the US preserves these battle grounds. It makes for a great way to teach kids about history that they can relate to. Thanks for sharing about this one. Pinning for future reference!

  3. Interesting. I don’t think I have ever been to a National Military Park. I did not know that they were a thing.

    It looks like a beautiful area to explore, although it must be very poignant once you think of all the casualties and what took place there! I especially like the look of the view from the East lookout!

  4. What a fascinating place and history! I must admit Arkansas wasn’t on my list but it looks like there’s a lot of nice things to go there! 🙂

  5. I’ve never heard of Pea Ridge before. It sounds like it has such an interesting history being part of the Civil War and the Trail of Tears. It’s not something I know a lot about but it looks like the park gives a great history lesson on it. The scenery looks beautiful now, it’s hard to imagine it as a battlefield where so many people died.

  6. This looks like both a beautiful and interesting place to spend the day! I’ll admit I know almost nothing about Civil War history, but visiting this site would be a great way to learn.

  7. Great experience! I also like to visit such parks, forts or other historical sites and learn about history! I haven´t heart about the Pea Ridge National Military Park yet, so thank you for introducing it to us!

  8. I’ve never heard of this place before but it seems like a really interesting place to visit, and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  9. While traveling last year, hubby and I came upon this park and decided to take advantage. Really enjoyed the museum, and the driving tour was great—it’s a beautiful park, and we were so glad we spent the morning there.

    A few weeks later, as I was researching my family history, I found that my great-great-grandfather was part of the Texas (Confederate) Regiment that had fought at Pea Ridge!

    Now I want to go back so that I can STUDY the battlefield, and not just enjoy it! Thanks for the post—pleasant memories!

    1. How interesting that your discovered an ancestral link to Peak Ridge National Military Park!
      It really is a lovely way to spend the day and also learn about history.
      So glad that you enjoyed visiting! You’ll have to search records and see if you can find details on you gg grandfather’s service there.

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