Affiliate Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. See full Affiliate Disclosure here.

Where To See Elk In Arkansas – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see elk in Arkansas then you’re in the right place.

This post will tell you all of the best places to see elk in Arkansas and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out. 

Observing Arkansas’s majestic elk herd out in the wild is truly one of the best wildlife experiences that you can have. It’s definitely something for the bucket list.

History Of Elk In Arkansas

Elk have been present in Arkansas for a very long time.

In fact, a subspecies of elk called Eastern elk were originally native to the state of Arkansas however in the mid-19th century they were hunted to extinction. 

In the 1980’s, 112 Rocky Mountain elk were relocated from Colorado and Nebraska and brought to Arkansas where they were released onto the lands surrounding the Buffalo National River. 

Since then the population has flourished and there are now an estimated 800 elk in Arkansas.

Best Places To See Elk In Arkansas

The best place to see elk in Arkansas is in Boxley Valley, located in northern Arkansas near the town of Ponca.

The elk are found in the fields that lie along the Buffalo National River where they have free range. This area actually has the highest elk population in the whole of Arkansas.

The best place to see them is along Arkansas 43 and 21 between the Boxley Baptist Church and the town of Ponca. 

Map of route from Boxley Baptist Church to Ponca

There’s over 5 miles of road here where elk sightings are super common. You can easily park on one of the pull-offs on the side of the road and stand along the fence to see them.

At the north end of the valley is the Ponca Elk Education Center. This is a great place to start your visit and learn more about the elk. It will give you a better understanding of the elk. 

After visiting the Ponca Elk Education Center, head south on Arkansas 43 and continue onto Arkansas 21.

The elk herd in Boxley Valley is very famous, in fact it is estimated that around 15,000 – 20,000 people come each year to view the elk herd.

You can see the elk of Boxley Valley in the video below:

Best Time Of Year To See Elk In Arkansas

Whilst elk can be seen year round in Boxley Valley there are some times of year that are better than others.

The best time of year to see elk in Arkansas is during fall, winter and spring. This is when the herds are predominantly based in Boxley Valley and viewable from the road.

During the summer months, the elk tend to move deeper into the forests and up into the mountains so you’re less likely to see them. 

The elk do still come out during the summer months but you’ll have to arrive super early to catch them (around 6:30am). They can also often be seen in the evening at around 5pm/6pm during the summer. 

One of the best times to visit is fall as this is mating season. You can often hear the elk bugle at Boxley Valley in fall. 

The males will ‘bugle’ to attract females. The bugle is a high-pitched screech that you can hear from miles around. 

You can hear the elk bugle in the video below:

September and October are the best months to hear the elk bugle in Arkansas.

The best time of day to see elk in Arkansas is just after sunrise and in the late afternoon. This is when they tend to be most active. 

Elk Viewing Tips

It’s important to remember that the elk present in Boxley Valley are wild animals. 

We should respect wildlife and by following the below quick tips, you can help protect the animals.

  • Don’t get too close to the elk. Keep at least 150ft away from them at all times.
  • Minimise loud noises as this can disturb the elk.
  • Do not touch or pet the elk.
  • Do not chase or restrain the elk.

Buffalo River Elk Festival

Close to Boxley Valley is the historic town of Jasper which is nestled within the magnificent Ozark Mountains. 

Every year on the last weekend of June, the town of Jasper holds the Buffalo River Elk Festival.

This festival celebrates the successful reintroduction of elk to Arkansas and also celebrates the creative community of Jasper.

During the festival, the town welcomes visitors from all over and includes music, games, arts & crafts, wildlife exhibits and much more. 

It’s a great way to get involved with the community and learn more about the elk present in Arkansas. 

Thanks for reading this post on where to see elk in Arkansas. 

Watching Boxley Valley’s herd of incredible Rocky Mountain elk is one of the finest wildlife experiences you can have not just in Arkansas, but anywhere in the world!

Find out where you can see bald eagles in Iowa.

Related Posts: