Top 3 Motorcycle Rides in Western Arkansas
Arkansas is a great state for motorcycle riding with over 50 registered motorcycle roads! The Ozarks cover the northwestern part of the state and the Ozark National Forest is filled with many excellent rides to explore from the Pig Trail, Eureka Springs to Jasper, the Ozark Moonshine Run, and the Arkansas Dragon. Here are three motorcycle rides we recommend:
1. Arkansas Pig Trail – Arkansas Highway 23 – 125 miles
This 19-mile curvy road stretches nineteen mils along AR State Route 23 through the Boston Mountain regions of the Ozark National Forest, but there are so many routes surrounding it that you can make a 125-mile loop for the day. The ride technically ends at Brashears Cemetery near St. Paul, AR, but you can also continue north about 50 miles to Eureka Springs and then link to the cross-state Goldwing/Hwy 21 ride. It is a serene ride through Ozark Mountain scenery that the Discovery Channel named one of the ten best rides in America. There are hairpin turns, overlooks, switchbacks, curves, hills, and crosses over the Mulberry Rivers, so may be a challenge for beginners. There are vintage buildings and Union and Confederate landmarks as it follows a trail soldiers took during the Civil War. Try to find yourself an Arkansas Pig Trail patch at Turner Bend Store. Start at exit 35 off of I-40 near Ozark and go north on Hwy 23. It is called the Pig Trail as Arkansas Razorback fans can cut through from I-40 to get to Fayetteville.
2. Scenic 71 Loop and Old Town Van Buren - 125 miles
Pass through Fayetteville, Natural Dam, historic Van Buren, Fort Smith, stop in at the Beard and Lady Inn at Chester, cut over to Lake Fort Smith Park, then onto Artist Point for an amazing view and Winslow on this mix of city, small town, waterfall, and curvy mountain views.
3. Talimena Drive National Scenic byway – SE Oklahoma and W. Arkansas – 55 miles
This 55-mile stretch of highway between Talihina, OK (60 miles SW of Fort Smith) and Mena, AR (80 miles SW of Fort Smith) is filled with panoramic views and curves through the Western part of the Ouachita National Forest. You will pass through the highest points of elevation between the Appalachians and the Rockies reaching 13% grades. The route traverses Rich Mountain, the second-highest peak in Arkansas, then through Queen Wilhelmina State Park and west into Oklahoma, where it passes over Winding Stair Mountain, setting of the movie True Grit. You can visit Horse Thief Spring Historic Site, a watering hole for the infamous Doolin Gang, and the haunted Rich Mountain Pioneer Cemetery.
Picture credit: Thomas Childers - Arkansas Pig Trail
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