Feel like catching some nature, but too tired for a hike? Well, Arkansas has the cure: view the Natural State from your car, or even better, from the back of your motorcycle. Arkansas has gorgeous state and national byways where you can satisfy your taste for natural beauty without having to lace up your hiking boots. Here are nine of them:
1. Pig Trail Scenic Byway
The Pig Trail, otherwise known as Arkansas Highway 23, is one of the most popular scenic drives in Arkansas, and it’s one you don’t want to miss. It winds from Elm Park in central Arkansas, through the Ozarks, and all the way to the Missouri state line. Whether you’re in a car or on a bike, this trip allows for some spectacular views.
2. Boston Mountains Scenic Loop
The Boston Mountains are the highest part of the Ozarks, and the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop, which takes you from the small town of Alma all the way to Fayetteville, is a breathtaking way to experience them. Both Highway 71 and I-49 are considered part of this loop, and it includes sections of Highway 282 too. Between the two main roads, Highway 71 has the most twists and turns, but it also lacks the traffic flow of the much busier I-49.
3. Talimena Scenic Drive
The Talimena Scenic Drive actually begins in southeastern Oklahoma, on Oklahoma State Highway 1 in the town of Talihina. Most of the route, however, is on Arkansas Highway 88. It runs through the Ouachita Mountains, through Ouachita National Forest, and to the town of Mena, Arkansas.
4. Mount Magazine Scenic Byway
The Mount Magazine Scenic byway is a section of Arkansas Highway 309 that goes from the town of Havana to just south of the town of Paris. It’s about twenty miles of gorgeous winding road. It passes right by Mount Magazine, the highest point of elevation in Arkansas.
5. Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway
The Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway is actually a thirty-five mile section of Arkansas Highway 21. It begins at Clarksville and runs all the way to the Buffalo National River in Boxley. If you’re headed to the Buffalo River or the White River, or maybe just out for a nice drive, this is a wonderful route to take.
6. Scenic Highway 7
Good news: Scenic Highway 7 takes you through the Ozarks AND the Ouachitas. Highway 7 runs all the way from the Louisiana border to Missouri, right through the heart of Arkansas. The portion designated as a state scenic byway begins at the Louisiana state line and ends just north of Harrison, Arkansas.
7. Interstate 530 Scenic Byway
Are you tired of mountains? Fifteen miles of Interstate 530 have been designated as a state scenic byway. Those fifteen miles run between AR 256 in White Hall to Route 65 in Pine Bluff. This highway will take you through some pretty incredible wetlands, as it passes through the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and over Bayou Bartholomew.
8. Crowley’s Ridge Parkway
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway is a National Scenic Byway that leads travelers through St. Francic National Forest and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, running along the back of Crowley’s Ridge. It begins at Helena-West Helena by the Mississippi River and continues all the way into southern Missouri near the town of Kennett. Crowley’s Ridge Parkway is also a collection of roads instead of just one, so maybe have a map handy.
9. Great River Road
The delta really is beautiful.
The Great River Road isn’t just in Arkansas—it extends all the way from Louisiana to Minnesota, along the course of the mighty Mississippi. The Arkansas section begins at the Louisiana border on US Highway 65, though, and ends at the Arkansas state line on Highway 61 to Missouri. It will take you from the delta into the mountains. This is another collection of roads, some of which pass through residential areas, so maybe take a peek at a map for this one too.
Is your favorite drive listed here? If not, tell us where to drive in the comments.