Thursday, November 6, 2008
Petit Jean State Park - Arkansas
One of the most spectacular natural and historical preserves in the South, Petit Jean State Park is located just off I-40 and convenient to the Little Rock metro area.
The oldest unit in the Arkansas State Park system, the park preserves a beautiful natural and historical setting on Petit Jean Mountain.
The mountain takes its name from the old Arkansas legend of "Petit Jean," a young French girl that disguised herself as a cabin boy to follow her lover on his journey of exploration to America. Her identity was eventually discovered and she accompanied him as he and his men made their way up the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers.
While camped at the base of Petit Jean Mountain, however, she supposedly became seriously ill and died. Local Native Americans carried her body to a beautiful spot on the summit of the mountain and buried her beneath a small mound of dirt and rock. The grave can still be seen today and it is alleged that the young woman's ghost haunts the top of the mountain that was named in her honor.
In addition to Petit Jean's grave, the mountain features spectacular views, unusual rock formations, a pre-Civil War pioneer cabin, waterfalls and more. Cedar Falls, seen here, is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains (notice the people standing behind it in the photograph). The park also is the site of Rock House Cave, a unique rock shelter where ancient Native American cave paintings can still be seen.
If you would like to learn more about Petit Jean State Park, please visit our newly updated pages at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/petitjean1.