Poteau 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.
- 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 know as the "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.