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Nature’s Wonders Along the Talimena Scenic Drive

Plants and Trees

The Ouachita Mountains are distinctive because they run predominantly east to west rather than north to south. This creates a unique diversity of plants and animals that exist on either side of the mountains.

For a native plant list for Arkansas and Oklahoma, please visit Plant Native.




The beautiful Ouachita National Forest provides a habitat for numerous species of birds. From birds of prey, to “Bird Island” in Lake Ouachita there is surely an uncommon bird to be sought by amateur bird watchers to the most devout ornithologist.

Birdlife is abundant along the drive. Golden eagles are active in winter and spring; turkey vultures and a few black vultures are permanent residents; and red-tailed and red shouldered hawks are year round residents of the Ouachita National Forest. Strong updrafts and turbulence above the mountain entice these birds to perform fascinating and entertaining aerial acrobatics. There are also plenty of bird species to be seen if you explore further along a trail or lookout.



If you look hard enough you are sure to see something looking back at you along the byway. The wildlife is so prolific you can always see someone going along their daily routine. Whether you want to see a furry, feathered or six-legged friend, you don’t have to look far to find it.


See the Majestic Byway of Talimena!

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Discover the attractions along the Drive & the best times to visit.