The journey from Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park begins in a city occupying a section of the Great Plains, crosses through Oklahoma, and ends in Arkansas. The destination — Mount Nebo State Park — sits within 70 miles of Little Rock, the capital and largest city in the state. Located on the top of a mountain, the park offers incredible views of mountain slopes. Within driving distance of your journey’s direct route are four national parks and three state parks that deserve your consideration. The cities you drive through along the way provide ample restaurants and places you'll want to visit as well. To get the complete picture and explore all the possibilities, follow this road trip itinerary from Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park.
Gateway Arch National Park
Since this journey calls for traveling through much of the territory gained in the Louisiana Purchase, it's appropriate to begin with a visit to Gateway Arch National Park. The park is reached by driving 441 miles east to Saint Louis, from which the Lewis and Clark Expedition embarked on its quest to find a navigable passage to the Pacific Coast. The Gateway Arch symbolizes the connection between the east and west coasts of the continent, and visitors ride a trolley to the top of the arch to an observation post that provides magnificent views of Saint Louis, the surrounding country, and the rivers from 640 feet up.
Wind Cave National Park
After experiencing the Gateway Arch, return to Wichita and drive 440 miles northwest into South Dakota where you'll find an amazing national park. Wind Cave National Park offers visitors marvelous views of wildlife in their natural habitat, a gorgeous plain of rolling hills covered in prairie grass, and an extended cave system. Covering 33,487 acres, the park is one of the few remaining homes where buffalo run free to graze. Hiking trails run throughout the park; some are under the cover of groups of oak trees and others can be found across the tops of open hilltops. The cave for which the park is named runs for 149 miles and is filled with unusual calcite formations known as boxwork.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park lies in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 501 miles northeast of Mount Nebo. The park is famous for its namesake — Mammoth Cave. This cave system is the largest globally, with over 400 miles of underground passages for spelunking available and more opening every year. Cascading flowstone formations and incredible stalagmites and stalactites greet visitors from around the world who visit this marvelous cave system. Guides take visitors through caverns like the Rotunda and the Gallery where 19th-century visitors wrote their names on the walls and ceilings. Above ground, the park covers 53,000 acres of rolling hills, wild streams, and dense forests. Hiking trails take you through the park. There are several fishing streams where trout lie in pools waiting for the occasional fly or baited hook.
Hot Springs National Park
Returning to Mount Nebo State Park, you'll find the perfect place to relax within 70 miles at Hot Springs National Park. This park was once a thriving commercial enterprise. Today, it retains the buildings and bathhouses where you can get a good soak in naturally heated mineral water. Covering 5,550 acres, this park is one of the smallest in the system. Trails run from one natural hot spring to another, and many of those trails are shaded by a dense canopy of second-growth hardwoods. Wildlife has returned to these forests after nearly disappearing during the harvesting of the old-growth forest in the late 19th century.
El Dorado State Park
El Dorado State Park lies 30 miles east of Wichita on the direct route to Saint Louis. The 2,000-acre park provides hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, some of which are a half-mile while others are up to 12 miles in length. Situated along the eastern and western shores of El Dorado Reservoir, the park provides easy access to the water with boat ramps on each side. The fishing in the lake is excellent, with trout, walleye, white bass, catfish, and crappie in large supplies.
Arrowhead State Park
Arrowhead State Park is an excellent place to spend a couple of days relaxing. Located just 23 miles off the direct route on your road trip from Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park, it provides access to Lake Eufaula, the largest artificial lake in the region. A boat ramp provides easy access to the water, where the fishing is excellent, while a swimming beach lets you cool off during the heat of the day. Wild turkeys, rabbits, and deer frequent the park, thrilling children with their presence.
Lake Fort Smith State Park
Lake Fort Smith State Park is only 23 miles north of Fort Smith, AR, 296 miles into your Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park RV road trip. The park sits high in the mountains above Fort Smith beside the 1,400-acre reservoir. Fishing is allowed on the lake, but boats are limited to the use of 10-horsepower motors. The lake hides amongst the hills with high ridges covered in firs towering above, making a picturesque background for any photos. A large swimming pool is provided as swimming in the lake is prohibited. Short hiking trails limited to the shores of the lake connect with other trails that visit other lakes and travel along the high ridges of the mountains.
Museum of World Treasures
History comes alive in Wichita when you visit the Museum of World Treasures. This three-floor building houses exhibits of dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, and artifacts from the World Wars. Starting your Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park road trip at this museum gives you a firm foundation for the sights you'll see on the road.
When you reach Tulsa, OK, you'll be 176 miles into your Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park RV road trip. Take the time to visit one of the most fascinating museums you'll come across during this journey by checking out the Gilcrease Museum, which focuses on the American West. It hosts displays of art with an American west theme. Thousands of Native American artifacts line the shelves with stories of each written on postcards beside them.
Miss Laura’s Visitor Center
Inside Fort Smith’s historic downtown area sits the only remaining rowhouse listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Once one of seven such houses lining the street in Fort Smith, AR, this location is restored to its original splendor. Today, it's a symbol of Fort Smith’s unique past.
When you reach Tulsa, you're 176 miles into your road trip from Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park. Tulsa has a rich history that becomes evident when you visit its museums. The available five-star restaurants offer a mix of cuisines that often combine cultural foods like Southern with American traditional or Creole with Mexican, generating a unique experience. While you're here, take advantage of one of the dump stations. There are plenty of campgrounds nearby if you wish to stay a day or two to take in the sights.
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith has a storied past, which you can take in by touring the easy-to-reach downtown area. Visiting sites like the original fort or Miss Laura’s Visitor Center gives you a taste of what this rip-roaring community was like when it was a border town. You'll find numerous dump stations and campgrounds that surround the area should you decide to spend some extra time here.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Though Little Rock is beyond your initial destination at Mount Nebo State Park, you must pass through it to visit Mammoth Cave National Park and Hot Springs National Park. Fortunately, the city provides a rest stop where you can replenish your RV supplies, clean your tanks at one of the local dump stations, or register at one of the campgrounds to rest.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Wichita to Mount Nebo State Park, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Wichita or Mount Nebo State Park.