The Incredible Scenic Drive In Arkansas That Starts At A Ghost Town And Ends At A Living Cave
The Sylamore Scenic Byway offers a gorgeous drive and fascinating attractions along the way. This short and sweet drive can easily become a weekend getaway. Let’s turn up the road trip playlist and cruise along this scenic route through the Ozarks.
It may not be the longest of the scenic byways in Arkansas but the Sylamore more than makes up for its length.
The drive begins on AR-5 and heads south to AR-14 and FR-1110. Just enjoying the drive only takes an hour and a half but there's plenty of stops to turn this drive into a day trip or even a full weekend. For a map of today's drive, use
Address: AR-5, Calico Rock, AR 72519
The system of byways in Arkansas is an excellent road map to see the state's variety of scenic beauty.
The system was developed in 1991 by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, along with a nominating process led by the Arkansas General Assembly. Arkansas has 11 scenic byways that range from quick
national scenic byways
. Today's focus, the Sylamore Scenic Byway, is a lovely stretch through the Ozark National Forest.
The journey begins at Calico Rock, a town worthy of its own day trip.
The small town originally served as a vital port to the White River in the early 1880s. Today, the town features endless water recreation and dozens of beautifully-located inns and cabins. You should definitely grab a slice of pie from Our House Cafe and stroll the streets before taking our Sylamore road trip.
Our House Cafe Address: 804 AR-56, Calico Rock, AR 72519
The most interesting feature of Calico Rock is its ghost town.
Calico Rock is the only place in the United States to have a ghost town within a town. East Calico was officially designated as a tourist-friendly ghost town through preservation efforts in 2007. The self-guided walking tour will take you pass informative signs describing the once bustling area.
After you've explored Calico Rock and its ghost town, it'll be time to begin our scenic drive.
The drive is mostly along state highways that traverse through the foothills of the Ozark mountains and forest. 23.2 of the 26.5-mile drive is on AR-5 and AR-14. The last stretch through Forest Service Road 1110 will take you to another fascinating destination.
The end of the scenic byway is just the beginning to another adventure.
This drive takes you to Blanchard Springs Caverns. Much like Calico Rock this area can easily take a day or longer to fully explore. Blanchard Springs features the largest cave "rooms" in the state (the Cathedral Room alone could hold three football fields). The cave is considered living since it's still developing, even after 300 million years! Tours for every skill level are offered at Blanchard Springs and the nearby recreation area has prime camping sites. For more information on the cave, visit
No matter if you're looking for a weekend excursion or just a pretty drive, the Sylamore Scenic Byway can take you to your destination.
For more details on navigating this byway, head to
What’s your favorite part about this scenic drive? Do you enjoy the attractions or the journey more during a byway tour? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Just outside of Blanchard Springs is a
gorgeous trail that takes you to a magnificent swimming hole.
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