The 4,300-acre Pea Ridge
National Military Park was created by an act of
Congress in 1956 to preserve the battlefield of the
1862 Battle of Pea Ridge. It was dedicated as a
national park during the nation's Civil War
Centennial in 1963.
Plan Your Visit
Pea Ridge is the site of one
of the most important battles of the American Civil
War, and is quickly becoming known as one of the
most intact Civil War battlefields in existence.
Inside the Visitor Center you
will find a theater, a bookstore, and a small
museum. Outside you will find a 7-mile,
10-stop tour road, a 9-mile horse trail and a 7-mile
For those that enjoy nature,
there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife
and beautiful forest, and a chance to get away from
the pressures of the modern world.
Things to Do
Pea Ridge has much to offer
for almost everybody.
Indoor Activities in the
Visitor Center include:
A 28-minute orientation film
Many temporary exhibits
A museum explaining the battle
A great bookstore
Outdoor Activities include:
7-mile self-guided tour road
28 Interpretive Exhibits
9 miles of horse trails
7 miles of hiking trails
Pea Ridge National Military
Park also organizes and hosts occasional community
events, historical programs, and service projects.
In 1956, the Arkansas
congressional delegation proposed legislation to
make Pea Ridge a national military park. This was a
major breakthrough in Civil War battlefield
preservation. At that time, under the National Park
Service classification system, only one acre should
have been preserved, along with a monument. On July
20, 1956, Congress enacted legislation to accept a
5,000-acre donation from the state of Arkansas.
In acquiring the land for the
park, the government purchased or used eminent
domain on dozens of farms and residences of various
sizes, ranging from a few acres to the large Winton
Springs estate. Many of the houses and structures
were sold and moved off of park property, including
some that still stand in nearby Pea Ridge, all other
remaining structures, with the exception of the
historic Elkhorn Tavern, were demolished by the
park, including the elaborate Winton Springs
Many Union and Confederate
veterans attended several reunions at the Pea Ridge
battlefield long before it was a park. The first of
these reunions was held in 1887, twenty-five years
after the battle. The reunions promoted not only
remembrance, but healing. The veterans dedicated the
first monuments on the battlefield to both the Union
and Confederate dead. These monuments are located
within the park today.
The park is acknowledged as
one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields.
The park features a visitors center and museum, a
driving tour, the restored battlefields, hiking
trails, a portion of the pre-war Old Telegraph/Wire
Road, approximately two-and-a-half miles of the
Trail of Tears as followed by some members of the
Cherokee Nation and the restored Elkhorn Tavern,
which was the epicenter of much of the battle.
Did You Know?
The Elkhorn Tavern served as headquarters and
hospital for both the Union and Confederate armies,
depending on the day.
Did You Know?
Pea Ridge was the only major Civil War battle in
which Indian troops participated. Almost 1,000
Cherokee made up two Confederate regiments. Cherokee
Stand Watie as their Colonel. The Indian Brigade
joined McCulloch's division.