The small but charming city of Siloam Springs in Benton County lies on the northwest corner of the Arkansas metropolitan area, bordered by Oklahoma.
The city is about 30 miles from Fayetteville and has an estimated population of 16,000.
The Osage Indians were known to be the first inhabitants of the area before the German and Scottish settlers arrived.
Siloam Springs was founded by Simon Sager, who was known as Hico, in 1882.
The city was historically famous for the claims of medicinal powers from the spring waters that run through Sager Creek and for trading with Native American tribes since the area was a Cherokee Nation.
Siloam Springs is also situated on a plateau, with abundant dogwood trees on its landscape and an unspoiled natural setting.
It was recognized by Smithsonian.com as one of the Best Small Towns in America in 2012, so there’s much to explore and see in this city.
Discover the historical gems, natural attractions, and the 15 best things to do in Siloam Springs, Arkansas!
Explore the Natural Falls State Park
The Natural Falls State Park lies near the Ozark highlands area near the Oklahoma and Arkansas border.
It features a majestic 77-foot waterfall scenery gushing through rock formations.
You can observe this natural view on the railed observation platform or have another vantage point of this scenic wonder on the observation deck provided with seating right at the foot of the falls.
You can make the most of your stay at the park with yurts you can avail for overnight use.
The yurts can accommodate four to six people and comes with amenities and supplies you can utilize during your stay.
For day tours, picnic tables, shelters, and grills can be found all around the park grounds.
Hike and walk the nature trails or play volleyball or basketball and let kids go to the playground or visit the gardens, but note that swimming is not allowed in the park.
Enjoy the sights of flora with the park’s abundant ferns, liverworts, and mosses, or see a canopy of maples, white oaks, and towering chinquapin, with dogwood, coralberry, redbuds, spicebush, and sassafras covering the forest paths.
Have Some Time Out at Sager Creek
Sager Creek runs more than 13 miles long in downtown Siloam Springs.
A tributary of Flint Creek, it is much a part of how the city has become known and became established.
People would flock during the summer to drink from the eight springs flowing from Sager Creek to gain its healing qualities.
The creek was also named after Simon Sager; the man thought to have founded the city.
The stretch of Sager Creek’s banks is lined with rock walls through the town.
You can stroll through the shaded park areas lined with tall dogwood trees.
There’s enough green space and gazebos to just sit back and relax for an afternoon break.
Enjoy some city views with fresh air on the footbridges and fountain areas.
Spend Some Outdoor Fun at the City Lake Park
Located at Dawn Hill East Road, the 165-acre City Lake Park has a range of outdoor activities.
The park was originally acquired in 1944 and since then has had several improvements by city officials over the past two decades to provide an ideal location for outdoor enjoyment.
With the park’s topography and ecological setting, you can enjoy walking, trail running, hiking, and biking.
In 2016, the local city government partnered with Ozark Off-Road Cyclists to further improve the public property.
Today, it has a biking trail system that offers loops with beginner trails to intermediate trails with more challenging elevations.
Learn the City’s History at Siloam Springs Museum
The Siloam Springs Museum is where you’ll get to learn about this small city’s rich history.
Incorporated in 1969, it has grown in its collection and now has its permanent home at North Maxwell since 1972.
Go through and see permanent and temporary exhibits, programs, and publications that feature the city’s unique past and celebrate its heritage.
Get to view presentations on Native American culture, their daily lives, and ancient medicine.
You’ll see the different rooms in periods that recreate homes from the Civil war era until the turn of the century.
Take a glimpse of permanent exhibits like the prehistoric mounds of Caddoan, the arrival of Simon Sager with the early settlers, get to know how Siloam Springs was established, the founding of Arkansas Conference College, and John Brown University.
You can also discover about modern industries in the city, such as Allen Canning Company, Simmons Foods, and many more.
Paddle the Waters at Siloam Springs Kayak Park
One of the major outdoor hotspots in the city is Siloam Springs Kayak Park, located on Fisher Ford Road.
The gorgeous park location stretches about four miles south of the city, and the span of the river is also part of the Illinois River.
Admission is free to all visitors, but since there is no commercial outfitter available yet at the facility, you need to bring your kayaks, canoes, or tubes.
Safety precautions like wearing life jackets and refraining from ”free-swimming” through the rapids must be strictly followed.
You can enjoy the best of the river rapids at 200 and 600cubit feet per second.
You also need to know the park is often busy during the weekends, and the park could close earlier in case of flood notices.
Spot Majestic Eagles at Eagle Watch Nature Trail
Located a mile west of Gentry, Eagle Watch Nature Trail right at SWEPCO’s Flint Creek Power Plant area has been a well-loved location since it opened in 1999.
In 2018, the Flint Creek Power Plant was granted a Wildlife Habitat Council Conservation Certification to recognize the plant’s efforts and commitment to environmental stewardship.
The attraction is open all year round for the public and features wintering American Bald Eagles hovering over the area for guests to see.
Catch these majestic creatures soar high at the wildlife viewing pavilions along the lake or see them at the new boardwalk, an amenity that was added in 2017.
Both pavilions and the boardwalk is handicap-accessible.
Aside from the bald eagles as the site’s main attraction, guests can also spot more than a hundred avian species.
You can trek the half-mile nature trail and see plenty of other wildlife like foxes, deers, and beavers, with reptiles and amphibians, also roaming the area like lizards, snakes, turtles, toads, and frogs.
See the Historic Crown Hotel
One of the oldest commercial buildings that still stand today in Siloam Springs is the Crown Hotel.
This historic brick structure was built by Seth Hollingsworth in 1881 after the city was founded in anticipation of the railway line that was not constructed until 1893.
Formerly called the Lakeside Hotel at West University Street, it has become one of the city’s iconic landmarks.
Get to appreciate its old architecture with its L-shaped, two-story porch adorned with wooden columns fitted on brick bases, providing a space for visitors to feel the cool air and enjoy some city scenery.
A small cupola on the rooftop also draws out hot air from the hotel interiors.
Check in or just drop by for a view and take some snapshots.
Get Choices of Fresh Produce at the Farmer’s Market
One of the best things to do when you’re in Siloam Springs is to drop by the Farmer’s Market.
The open-air market runs yearly from April to October with its current location at Jefferson in Memorial Park.
The Siloam Springs Farmers Market has grown into a community of local growers and businesses for more than nine years.
You can get a fresh variety of local and wild harvest produce, meats, poultry, baked goods, and crafted items.
You can purchase foods grown from Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma farms.
Check out some handmade merchandise from woodcarvings to jewelry and household items.
There’s also a wide array of baked goods like scones, bread, jams, and pastries.
Camp Out at Lake Wedington Recreation Area
Lake Wedington covers a 102-acre lake area, while the Lake Wedington Recreation Area spans more than 400 acres within a lush forest.
The facility was being constructed during the Great Depression and was finished by 1938 by the Works Progress Administration.
The recreation park offers18 family-unit campsites and 19 family picnic sites, ready to welcome guests for overnight stay.
You can avail of amenities like playgrounds, volleyball courts, and activities like swimming and hiking from March to November.
But the seven-mile hiking trail is available all year, and you can utilize other facilities like the lodge, pavilion, and boathouse.
The lake is also great for spending a day of fishing, where you’ll get a good catch of bass, crappie, catfish, or bream.
Visit the John Brown University Campus
John Brown University is a private and interdenominational Christian university and one of the city’s prime institutions.
Originally named the Southwestern Collegiate Institute, it was founded by John Edward Brown, Sr., in 1919.
It was changed to John E. Brown College in the year 1920 and finally became John Brown University in 1934.
At present, the university has more than 2,500 students on campus and leads the way in the field of arts and entertainment.
The university boasts of a 60-voice student choir giving their performances at the Cathedral of the Ozarks.
You can also visit the campus art gallery and catch dance and playwright competitions.
Catch a Performance at Berry Performing Arts Center
The Berry Performing Arts Center is located inside the John Brown University campus.
It houses the Herklotz Auditorium, a 500-seating capacity state-of-the-art facility equipped with modern acoustic and a full orchestra pit.
The BPAC is an excellent performance venue in the city with high technology sounds and lighting, which is not something you can expect in a small city.
Catch some concerts, theatrical productions, lectures, and local events here.
You’ll surely have a comfortable entertainment experience at this venue.
Visit the Historical Hildebrand Mill
The Hildebrand Mill is located in Flint Creek in Colcord but not far from Siloam Springs.
The mill has a place in history as it was built in 1845 to serve the territory of the Old Cherokee Nation for more than 100 years.
It was listed in 1972 on the National Register of Historic Places.
The area functioned as a lumber mill and a grist mill.
During the American Civil War, it served as commissaries to the North and South constituents.
The mill standing today was built in 1907, and it lasted as a grain mill until 1935 and was used for lumber cutting until the year 1967.
Pay a Visit to the Old Spanish Treasure Cave
Settled in the Ozark Mountains, the Old Spanish Treasure Cave sits in what is known as the Treasure Hollow.
It was named after a group of Spanish Conquistadors said to have hidden treasures in the deep areas of the cavern, though there were no treasures found, and the story remains a mystery.
You’ll have an hour of the guided tour and learn about evidence and facts about the treasure and see passages and rooms of the maze cavern.
You will also get a glimpse of rock formations or come across bats and salamanders on the way.
The cave is kept in its natural state, so you’ll experience the wonders and feels of the natural cave.
Have Fun at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area
Previously known as Beaver Lake and Hobbs State Management Area, the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area spans more than 12,000 acres of the Ozark landscape on the southern portion of Beaver Lake.
Hobbs, as it is commonly called, is the largest state park in Arkansas.
You can enjoy a scenic nature hike on its 54-mile trail system, go for a mountain bike ride, or go for a horseback ride on the trail and have a nice picnic after.
The park has 11 primitive camping sites, also a first in the state and the only park that allows legalized hunting.
Drop by the visitor center and see exhibits about the park’s history, natural resources, and limestone landscape.
Celebrate the Dogwood Festival
An annual festivity held on the last weekend of April in the city, the Dogwood Festival is a much-awaited event that draws more than 35,000 to Siloam Springs.
Dogwood Festival features exhibitors from all over the country with more than 200 booths for avid shoppers, foodies, locals, and tourists.
There’s also great music and entertainment to liven up the festivities.
The award-winning festival is organized by the Dogwood Festival Committee, which is part of the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce, together with local volunteers.
Find great local items from arts and crafts to handmade pieces, or get your fill of food varieties from chicken dinners to funnel cakes.
Kids and those who are young at heart can also have a great time with rides and activities from KidZone with an inflatable obstacle course, wall-climbing, bungee jumping, and more.
Siloam Springs is filled with natural scenic sites that are much to be enjoyed.
The small city has a strong community atmosphere, and guests will surely feel welcome, especially during the Dogwood Festival.
If you’re leaning toward having an outdoor adventure type of vacation, the city and nearby areas have great places to visit.
Get to discover more of what Siloam Springs has to offer.