National Scenic Byways and Other Recreational Drives


Scenery along Arkansas byways ranges from flatlands, to rolling hills, to the beautiful Ozark and Ouachita Mountains. Portions of six state routes have attained National Forest Scenic Byway designations.

Scenic 7 Byway

Along Arkansas Highway 7 turnouts such as the Rotary Ann Overlook offer vistas of high mountain meadows and hardwood forests along this 61-mile byway on two national forests -- the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests. Visitors will find easy access to geological features such as the Alum Cove Natural Bridge, Sam's Throne, and Pedestal Rocks. The area is noted for beautiful scenery that changes with the seasons. Early spring waterfalls and the riot of fall color are not to be missed.

Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway

Truly a winding mountain drive, the 20-mile Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway on the Ozark National Forest takes visitors away from the hot summer weather of the surrounding river valleys, to the top of Mt. Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. Along the way, visitors will enjoy ever-changing views and a variety of landscape and wildlife.

Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway

The 35-mile Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway offers panoramic views, colorful flora, and rugged terrain. Wildlife is abundant, and it is not uncommon to see deer, turkey, and black bear. Adding to the natural scenery, old and new homesteads, as well as Civilian Conservation Corps facilities built in the 30's and 40's, offer a glimpse of history and an opportunity for photographers. Water is abundant along the way, as the route travels the ridges separating the headwaters of the Mulberry River and Big and Little Piney Creeks. The route is located within the Ozark National Forest.

Pig Trail Scenic Byway

The Ozark National Forest's Pig Trail Scenic Byway crosses 19 miles of Arkansas, showing sketches of rural America along with spectacular panoramas, timber-covered mountains, rugged landscapes, clear mountain streams, and colorful spring flowers and autumn foliage. Typical farming and ranching operations, a variety of wildlife and much more add to the enjoyment of the"Pig Trail," the popular route of students and sports fans who wander, as the wild pigs once did, to and from Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.

St. Francis Scenic Byway

Located atop Crowley's Ridge, the 20-mile St. Francis Scenic Byway offers spectacular views of the surrounding forest and river delta lands. Travelers can follow the route of the DeSoto Expedition, visit the scene of Civil War action, and learn about the early pioneers. Partnerships with the State Game and Fish Commission encourage an abundance of wildlife for viewing. The route is located on the Ozark National Forest.

Sylamore Scenic Byway

The Sylamore Scenic Byway traverses 26.5 miles on the Ozark National Forest and provides views of white oak-hickory forests, rocky limestone cliffs, mountain vistas, and stands of shortleaf pine. Special features along the route include Blanchard Springs Caverns, one of the most beautifully decorated caves in the world, and Blanchard Amphitheater, where summer night programs highlight the folklore, culture, and resource management of the Ozark National Forest.

Talimena Scenic Byway

Spanning the highest mountain range between the Appalachians and the Rockies, the 54-mile Talimena Scenic Byway opens a showcase of natural beauty during each of the south's four distinctive seasons. One breathtaking panorama follows another as this national forest scenic byway winds along the crests of forested mountains between Mena, AR, and Talihina, OK. Whether in search of quiet beauty or active participation, this mountaintop drive offers something special around every turn. For more information on this route check out the Talimena Scenic Byway Guide.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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