Poteau is a town in the Choctaw Country of Oklahoma and near Cavanal Hill, also known as "The World's Highest Hill". Poteau was selected as one of "The 100 Best Small Towns in America" in Norman Crapton's book by the same title.
Originally a part of Indian Territory, Poteau can be traced back to around 1885 and is pronounced "po toe". If you ask a local how to say it, they may tell you it is what you say when you stub your toe. "Oh my po toe." Poteau is a French word that means "post" or "pole". There are two different beliefs on how the city was named. One is it was a trading post and the other is the name came from the river and the story goes that when the French explorers arrived in the area they had to use poles to navigate the shallow waters of the Poteau River. The latter story seems move likely as the town was developed well after the French explorers arrived.
Poteau is "Above the Ordinary" in every way. As the gateway to the Ouachita and Kiamichi Mountains and home to many lakes and rivers, they offer outdoor recreation such as bass fishing, rodeo, fair grounds, hot air balloon festival, softball, baseball, soccer, hometown parades, 4th of July celebrations, Bluegrass festivals, and many other events.
- Car - The best way is by car. US Highway 59 and 271 provides access. From Fort Smith, Arkansas take Oklahoma HWY 112. Poteau is 2.5 hours south of Tulsa, Oklahoma and 3 hours east of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
- Plane - You can fly into Fort Smith regional airport and make the 45 minute drive from there.
The best way to get around is by car. The layout of Poteau is about 6-miles along US Hwy 59.
- Cavanal Hill. Drive to the top of Cavanal Hill for a great view. The drive will take about 45 minutes, the road is paved the entire distance but there are some very steep grades. Be careful on the trip down not to burn up your brakes, use low gears. There are a couple of turnouts along the way with a great view. Cavanal Hill is 1999 ft. above sea level and is known as "The World's Highest Hill".
- Robert S. Kerr Conference Center & Museum. The previous home of Robert S. Kerr. The center is located on a ridge with a beautiful view. You may tour the site and the museum. There is also a 20 unit Bed and Breakfast and a business conference center. The view from the ridge is very good. You can see Rich Mountain, Poteau Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Winding Stair Mountains to the south.
- Poteau Frontier Rodeo. This is a PRCA sanctioned rodeo with top cowhands from throughout the United States. It is held each year in September.
- Poteau 4th of July Celebration. This is an annual festival sponsored by the Poteau Chamber of Commerce. Live music, free games for kids, food and fun. Fireworks show provided by the City of Poteau.
- WalMart Supercenter (At the north end of town).
- Price Cutter. (grocery store) located along North Broadway the main road through the city which links with State Hwy 112 north of town.
You will find the normal fast food chain restaurants available in Poteau, such as Arby's, Braum's Ice Cream, KFC, McDonald's, Long John Silver's, Mazzio's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Western Sizzlin Steak House and Taco Bell.
- Lahuerta Mexican Restaurant, ☏ .
- Myers Drive-In, 305 North Broadway St, ☏ . Hot Dogs and Hamburgers at a 50s style Drive-In.
- Simple Simons Pizza, 1900 N Broadway St, ☏ .
- Warehouse Willy's, 300 Dewey Ave, ☏ . Very good steak house in downtown Poteau.
- Talimena Drive from Talihina, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas 54 Mile National Scenic Byway in Oklahoma and Arkansas along the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains and the Ouachita National Forest. This is the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies. The drive has frequent turnouts so you can enjoy the scenery. Convenient access to the drive near the midpoint can be accessed from Poteau by taking Hwy 59 south.
|Routes through Poteau|
|Sallisaw ← Spiro ← Jct W ←||N S||→ Heavener → Texarkana|
|Hugo ← Wister ←||S N||→ Jct W → Spiro → Fort Smith|