The Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau is a rugged highland area stretching roughly from St. Louis, Mo., to the Arkansas River and occupying parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois and Kansas. The tallest segment is the Boston Mountains, which stands up to 2,000 feet tall.
These heavily forested highlands are known for their caves, natural beauty, and river and lake fishing. They are a popular quiet tourist spot, but they also are mined for lead and zinc. It is thought that the name "Ozark" came from "Aux Arc," which was a trading post established by the French in the 1700s.
The Ozarks have been often featured in fiction, most notably Harold Bell Wright's "The Shepherd of the Hills." The Mark Twain National Forest is located in the Ozarks in southern Missouri.