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Map & Fun Facts

  • Map of the Ozarks region with cities and towns indicated by yellow dots. Springfield is the largest dot (and city).
    This map is one attempt to define the cultural Ozarks of today, and it may not be the one that will be drawn tomorrow. It is the result of long drives and hours of conversations with those who live and have lived here, both newly arrived and with generational ties to the land.
    Map by Curtis J. Copeland

    View a larger version of the map (PDF)


  • The Ozark region is the largest area of rugged topography between the Appalachians and the Rockies and covers parts of five states: Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. The area spans about 45,000 square land miles.
  • The highest peak in the Ozarks is the Buffalo Lookout, standing tall at 2,561 feet (about twice the height of the Empire State Building).
  • The Ozarks includes two national forests, the Ozark–St. Francis National Forest and Mark Twain National Forest, spanning over 2 million acres.
  • The Buffalo River, which originates in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark Plateau, was the first national river of the United States.
  • There are around 7,000 limestone caves in the Missouri-Arkansas area, and a small set of these have been developed into performance venues, or “show caves.”


  • It is speculated that the name “Ozarks” comes from the French words aux arcs (referring to natural bridges as the land “of arches” or “the big bend” in the Arkansas River) or aux Arks (shortened form for “to Arkansas”).
  • In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory, which included Arkansas and Missouri, from France for $15 million (equivalent to less than 3 cents per acre). This purchase paved the way for Arkansas and Missouri to gain statehood in the United States.


  • The Ozarks is home to the largest Marshall Islander population in the continental United States.
  • The Caddo, Delaware, Kickapoo, Osage, and Quapaw and are among Indigenous nations with ancestral ties to the Ozark region.
  • Until the 1990s, about 98% percent of the Ozarks population was white (outside of the Cherokee Nation). Since then, the area has seen significant demographic change.
  • The region is headquarters to several major American companies, including Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, and O’Reilly Auto Parts, drawing immigrant and migrant populations to the workforce.

Art & Recreation

  • The region is a major center for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and water sports.
  • Whitaker Point is also known as Hawksbill Crag due to the enormous rock’s resemblance to the bill of a hawk.
  • Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, an 1880s Ozark mining town-themed amusement park attracts over 2 million people per year.

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