The apex of motorcycling in Arkansas
Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway is a nationally recognized riding treasure.
Scenic 7, as it’s called, traverses two sets of mountains - the Ozarks and the Ouachitas. Additionally, it runs across the Arkansas River Valley and the dense pine woodlands of the south Arkansas Coastal Plains. Together, the Ozarks and the Ouachitas make up the Interior Highlands, the only mountains between the Smokies and the Rockies. The Ozarks and the Ouachitas are separated by the Arkansas River Valley. The more ancient Ozarks are a high and deeply dissected plateau, while the younger Ouachitas are a true uplifted range.
Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway is born in the Ozarks in the northern part of the state on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake. It runs almost to Louisiana. About 10 miles south of Harrison, AR 7 becomes a tightly wound and challenging road, but still manageable by beginners. It remains that way until it climbs out of the Little Buffalo River Valley at Jasper
. Once on top of the ridgeline, the curves broaden a bit, and the scenery remains top-tier. When AR 7 reaches Pelsor, it begins its inexorable descent into the Arkansas River Valley at Russellville
The Arkansas River Valley is rich farmland with patches of woodlands. The valley is not extremely wide, and soon you will climb into the foothills of the Ouachitas. Unlike most other American mountain ranges, the folds of the Ouachitas run east-west. Pine trees become the more dominant tree, as opposed to the Ozarks’ mostly hardwood. Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway runs through the first national park, Hot Springs.
Roads in the Ouachitas are serpentine and carve their paths across the rounded peaks of the mountains. The Ouachitas eventually flatten into the pinewoods of the Coastal Plains. The highways there are mostly broad sweepers through dense pine woodlands. When it comes to motorcycling in Arkansas, this ride should be at the top of your list.