Ozarks Road Descriptions - Northwestern Arkansas Region
Searching for Arkansas motorcycle road guides? Look no further. These red shaded routes are the roads I have enjoyed over the years. Most any of the roads, even the ones not shaded, are sure to be great roads. I know you'll love them. But the ones indicated are the ones that I and my riding buddies have found; thrilling to ride... include the most scenic routes... and are the most fun to experience Ozark Mountain motorcycle riding. Above all, take the time to have fun on these Arkansas motorcycle roads.
I just hope my local riding buddies don't gang up on me for giving away these gems!
Boston Mountains Scenic Byway -- Old US 71 -- Approximately 48 miles (one way)
This 48-mile scenic byway made the jump from road-to-avoid to don' t-miss status when the parallel Interstate 540 opened to the west. From Alma, at I-40, to Fayetteville, this road is a pleasure to ride now that truck traffic has moved west. The road surface marginally OK. There's been no resurfacing recently but will have to be if it's still going to keep its “Boston Mountain Scenic Byway” designation. The lanes and shoulders are wide, and many times it's three lanes wide.
The curves are broad sweepers with some tight ones mixed in – a few are near switchbacks. But with the wide lanes, the ride is easy. Traffic wise, numerous times I've not seen more than a hand full of other vehicles – almost no big trucks – and the views on the way to the top are spectacular The highway runs north/south over the Boston Mountains; from Alma, at I-40, to Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas. From Alma to two miles south of Mountainburg the road gently climbs out of the river valley and is fairly ordinary – for about eight miles.
But on those two miles south of sleepy little Mountainburg you will find yourself winding down a steep mountain side, an exhilarating downhill ride. The highway levels out through town and then starts an equally exciting climb out of the valley, ending at Fayetteville. At West Fork and Greenland on into Fayetteville be on the outlook for speed enforcement.
Arkansas Highway 16 -- Sweet 16 and Never Been Ridden ...Much -- Approximately 163
This is perhaps the best little-known highway in the Ozarks. Except for short sections, which run concurrent with Highways 23, 21 & 7, this road is familiar mostly only to local riders. This is really too bad because the 163 miles of AR 16 between Fayetteville and Clinton is a twisty and scenic ride across the high ridges of the Ozarks.
The reason AR 16 overlooked is that it really doesn't take you any place. It basically runs along the backbone of the Ozarks. It follows a route full of curves and wonderful scenery. Mapquest will send you on AR 45, US 412, 62 and 65. And you will make much better time because it's only 143 miles and on straighter roads. AR 16 is anything but a direct route.
If you start out on the eastern end, in Fayetteville, have breakfast at the Rolling Pin Cafe – at an unnamed strip center at the intersection of AR 16 and AR 265. Head west, hang on and enjoy the ride. Most of the time traffic will be light and you'll have a great time discovering this fantastic road. Many visiting riders will not know to make this wonderful ride. That's their loss.
AR 12/AR 127 to Eureka Springs -- Approximately 40 miles
Heading east out of Rogers is AR. 12. It is very winding, passing both private land and Hobbs Wildlife Management area. It snakes through thick forested land is lots of fun, despite the sometimes heavy traffic.
Twelve miles east is the AR 12 junction with AR 127 – it's a more winding alternative to staying. Take AR 127 east, where the cutoff once again intersects AR 12. It's winding and runs through beautiful mixed forest and farm land. Take AR 12 east to AR 23, then north on to Eureka Springs.
This serpentine route is very nice and this is my favorite route to take when I ride from Eureka Springs to Rogers.
A Short Ride Out of Fayetteville -- Approximately 59 miles
A sweet, short ride out of Fayetteville is US 71 south to AR 74 at Winslow. The US 71 portion is full of sweepers but AR 74 East is especially nice as you head into Devil's Den State Park. Campgrounds and cabins are available at Devil's Den, but during busy weekends or holidays, check ahead for availability. For a couple of miles AR 74 reminds me of riding the Dragon, except it is in a State Park and the speed limit is 25. Regardless, the trip down into Devil's Den is well worth the time.
To return to Fayetteville Take AR 170 to AR 265, through an appropriately name dot on the map called Hogeye. Continue on AR 265 to Fayetteville.
The Wild Hog Ride -- Approximately 110 miles
This ride is named in honor or the Arkansas Razorbacks, based at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (home the rally called Bikes, Blues and BBQ.)
Like the previous ride, start out on Old 71 (known as the Boston Mountain Scenic Byway) and head south.
As described in the first ride mentioned, Old US 71 is wide, full of twisties and drop-dead gorgeous scenery. Though the road is in need of resurfacing it's still rideable, with wide lanes and shoulders and often three lanes.
Six miles past Mountainburg watch for the intersection of US 71 and AR 162. Turn west on AR 162 and ride through the tiny town of Rudy. Catch 348 and continue west to AR 59 at the equally tiny Figure-Five. Head north on AR 59 and ride on well-maintained pavement that's winding with some tight curves, but also through a beautiful mix of farms and timberland.
To get back to Fayetteville take either US 62 east or continue on 59 up to AR 16, then ride east. This is a wonderful ride you will definitely enjoy.