Photographers from all over the country come to Arkansas during the autumn season – there’s just that much beauty here to capture on film. People who like to get out and take road trips the Natural State is a grand destination for scenic views, too. These Arkansas routes in particular are the best when it comes to viewing the state in all of its fall glory.
Beginning on Arkansas Highway 5, Sylamore Scenic Byway passes through the Ozark National Forest and takes drivers on a long and winding road past picturesque white oak forests and limestone cliffs.
9. Crowley's Ridge Parkway
The major towns on this byway are Piggott, Paragould, Jonesboro, Wynne, Forrest City, Marianna, and Helena. Four state parks lie along the parkway, which passes through the St. Francis National Forest and makes for one of the most scenic motorcycle rides in the state. Crowley's Ridge Parkway became one of America's national scenic byways in 1998.
8. Arkansas Highway 309/Mount Magazine Scenic Byway
This byway begins in the small town of Havana, Arkansas and it doesn't take long for drivers to journey up the steep curves and slopes of Mount Magazine. After making the ascent over the mountain, the byway takes drivers past beautiful Cove Lake down into the town of Paris.
7. Interstate 530 State Scenic Byway
Nearly two thirds of the southern portion of this route take drivers through a wetlands area once set aside for preservation. This scenic byway crosses Bayou Bartholemew a number of times and drivers can still see the waterfowl and beautiful wildflowers for which the land was originally set aside as a greenbelt.
6. Talimena Scenic Drive
The Talimena Scenic Drive starts on U.S. 71 in Mena and follows Ark. 88 to Oklahoma. The route takes drivers through Ouachita National Forest, climbing up Rich Mountain and passing through Queen Wilhemena State Park. You'll get an eyeful of gorgeous mountain vistas on this drive!
5. The Boston Mountains Scenic Loop
U.S. 71, a former stagecoach route, takes drivers through several twists and turns through pretty mountain towns and farms. West of this route is I-540, taking tourists over spectacular bridges that rise high above valleys and streams. Both of these routes offer plenty of pullover places for drivers to take photographs or even hike into the mountains.
4. Arkansas Highway 7
Arkansas Scenic 7 traverses the north-south length of the state from Harrison to Louisiana, offering spectacular views as it passes through the rugged landscape of the Ozark and Ouachita mountains and forests. Arkansas Scenic 7, one of America's most beautiful drives, runs for approximately 290 miles and allows viewers a breathtaking look at some of the Natural State's more historic locations.
3. The Ozark Highlands
This route starts north of Clarksville as Arkansas Highway 21 crosses the southern boundary of the Ozark National Forest, passing the Ozark Highlands Trail and continuing through the forest until Highway 21 exits the forest near the Buffalo National River. You'll want to keep going north on Highway 21 until you reach U.S. 62, which will end your trip in lovely Eureka Springs.
2. The Great River Road
The Great River Road runs through 10 states along the Mississippi River and is marked by green-and-white highway signs depicting a steamboat pilot wheel. Arkansas's portion of the route goes through the Delta, one of America's largest alluvial plains. The Great River Road was designated a national scenic byway in 2002 and the major towns on the byway are Blytheville, West Memphis, Marianna, Helena, DeWitt, Dumas, McGehee, and Lake Village.
1. Arkansas Highway 23 - The Pig Trail
A popular route to take whenever seasons change, drivers take Ark. 23 from the south boundary of the Ozark National Forest to its intersection with Ark. 16 at Brashears to get the best views out of this 19-mile drive, taking tourists through the Boston Mountains and crossing the Mulberry River. Arkansas Highway 23 in particular has a strong connection with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, connecting fans in both the Central and Northwest parts of the state.
Be safe on the roads out there and have a great time taking in the beauty of the Natural State! You might even want to bring along a few hiking necessities in case you get the urge to pull over and explore some of the trails in the forests you’ll pass through.