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Suggested Rides

Best Motorcycle Rides in Arkansas

Suggested Rides have been brought to you by Mario Caruso and ArkansasRider.com

We hope you enjoy our list of the best motorcycle rides in Arkansas. Each route has background information, interesting points along the way, detailed directions and notes as well as total mileage. Try all of these routes or use them to build your own and experience the true beauty of Arkansas on two wheels!

Scenic 7 from El Dorado to Hot Springs, 143 miles:

Arkansas's first state-designated scenic byway travels through four of the state's varied geographical regions. The route begins on the southern end of the state within the West Gulf Coastal Plain, a region that saw an oil boom beginning in 1921 near El Dorado. It continues to Camden, looping through White Oak Lake State Park and on to Arkadelphia through rolling terrain with dense pine forests and stream valleys with bottomland hardwood forests. Near Arkadelphia, the route enters the Ouachita Mountains, famous for their quartz crystals, and passes by DeGray Lake, home of Arkansas's only resort state park. At Hot Springs, the byway journeys through the Spa City's historic downtown and immediately in front of the famed Bath House Row of Hot Springs National Park.

Along The Way:

Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources State Park, Smackover. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits examples of Arkansas's natural resources including oil, brine and timber with emphasis on the 1920s oil boom in South Arkansas. A Temporary Exhibit Gallery features varying exhibits. Oil Field Park includes actual oil derricks and equipment.

DeGray Resort State Park, Arkadelphia. DeGray Lake Resort State Park is Arkansas's only resort state park. Situated on the north shore of 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, this recreational retreat in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains offers resort amenities combined with the outdoor adventures of an Arkansas state park. DeGray is a fishing, boating, spa and golf resort and is perfect for family vacations, getaways, reunions, weddings, business meetings and retreats.

  • Ark. 7, north approx. 5 miles to Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover
  • Ark. 7, north 32 miles (Camden)
  • Ark. 27, west 10 miles
  • Ark. 57, north 9 miles
  • Ark. 76, east 7 miles
  • Ark. 24, east 7 miles
  • Ark. 7, north 49 miles (Arkadelphia)
  • Ark. 7, 8 miles to DeGray Lake Resort State Park
  • Ark. 7, 23 miles to Hot Springs

From Hot Springs: Petit Jean State Park Ride, 146 miles

This popular motorcycle loop from Hot Springs is one of the best motorcycle rides in Arkansas, leading riders through the heart of the Ouachita National Forest. Ark. 9 meanders along the milder eastern edge of the forest, while Ark. 7 zig-zags through more rugged terrain. An automobile magazine once named Ark. 7 Scenic Byway one of America's top ten driving experiences. Connecting the two roads is Ark. 154 that climbs Petit Jean Mountain then drops to the Arkansas River Valley. Unfortunately, the popularity of this Arkansas motorcycle trip generates a fair amount of traffic, especially on Ark. 7.

Along The Way:

The Museum of Automobiles. Fifty antique and classic automobiles -- and several motorcycles -- are housed in an intricate, modern building commissioned by late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. The structure is almost as interesting as the continually changing car displays. Off Ark. 154 on Petit Jean Mountain; (501) 727-5427; www.museumofautos.com.

Petit Jean State Park and Mather Lodge. Arkansas's first state park offers plenty of breathtaking outdoor experiences. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the stone-and-log Mather Lodge with a dining room, and the lodge's mountain overlook is guaranteed to distract even the hungriest of diners. Don’t miss the 95-foot Cedar Falls, one of the best-known waterfalls in the state. Off Ark. 154 on Petit Jean Mountain; (501) 727-5441; www.petitjeanstatepark.com.

Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. A birdwatcher's paradise located 14 miles west of Petit Jean State Park on Ark. 154 and north on Ark. 155. The refuge is home to migratory species like Canada Geese, bald eagles, several species of duck and other wildlife. (501) 229-4300.

Nimrod Lake. Off Ark. 7, 12 miles south of Ola. Located on the Fourche LaFave River, this is a camping and crappie hotspot. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation area provides campsites, boat ramps and picnic sites. (501) 272-4324.

Directions from Downtown Hot Springs:

  • Central Avenue/Ark. 7, North 4 miles. Comments: Congested Hot Springs traffic.
  • Ark. 5, East 14 miles to Crows. Comments: Back road to Little Rock is well trafficked.
  • Ark. 9, North 39 miles to Oppelo. Comments: Surface rough and traffic moderate for first 14 miles then surface improves, traffic thins and medium radius curves set in.
  • Ark. 154, West 28 miles to Centerville. Comments: Seven miles of tight curves. Watch for gravel.
  • Ark. 7, South 61 miles to Hot Springs. Comments: It's called "Scenic Seven" for good reason. This stretch has panoramic vistas and a good variety of entertaining curves, especially the 22 miles south of Ola.

From Eureka Springs: U.S. 71 National Scenic Byway and Ark. 23 Scenic Byway, 193 miles:

Until Interstate 540 connected Fort Smith to Fayetteville, U.S. 71 was a congested thoroughfare. Now, however, locals and tourists infrequently travel this glorious, ridge-top scenic route. With a combination of little-known but well-paved scenic county roads, the best part of this byway can be accessed from Eureka Springs. Together with Ark. 23 (a.k.a the Pig Trail) this route makes for a good day of motorcycling and one of the best motorcycle rides in the Natural State.

Along The Way:

Artist Point Shop and Museum. Eight miles south of Winslow, perched on one of the highest points of U.S. 71, this panoramic stop features area artifacts, local jams and jellies, fudge and crafts. Enjoy the spectacular overlook of Lake Shepard Springs, 1,000 feet below, or take a 1-mile hike to the waterfalls below. (479) 369 2226.

Arkansas Wine Country. Instead of exiting Interstate 40 (see route directions) onto Ark. 23, continues six miles east to the exit for Ark. 186 South. German vintners decided in the early 1800s that the well-drained temperate Altus hills were perfect for wine making. Most of the wineries offer daily tours and wine tastings. Major wineries are:

  • Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. German style meals are served in the Weinkellar Restaurant. 3324 Swiss Family Drive in Wiederkehr Village; (479) 468-3551.
  • Post Familie Winery: 1700 Saint Mary's Mountain Drive in Altus; (479) 468-2741.
  • Mount Bethel Winery 5014 Mt. Bethel Drive in Altus; (479) 468-2444.
  • Chateau Aux Arc Vineyards & Winery: 8045 Champagne Drive in Altus; (479) 468-4414.
  • Neumeier Winery: 3406 Hwy 186 in Wiederkehr Village; (479) 209-1224.

Directions from downtown Eureka Springs

  • Ark. 23, South 11 miles. Comments: Pretty ride, but well trafficked.
  • Ark. 12/127, West 1 mile.
  • Ark. 12, West 5 miles.
  • Ark. 45, South 6 miles. Comments: Sparsely populated rolling farmland.
  • U.S. 412, West 1 mile.
  • Ark. 295, South 11 miles.
  • Ark. 74, West 7 miles.
  • Ark. 16, East 4 miles.
  • County Road 57, West 4 miles. CAUTION: This is an easy intersection to miss since it is not well marked. It is the only fully paved road two miles south of Elkins. Follow signs for Sulphur City.
  • County Road 43 & Ark. 74, South/West 11 miles. CAUTION: Another easy-to-miss intersection. Starts as County Road 43 then becomes Ark. 74. Beware of metal grate bridges -- especially those following curves. Comments: Isolated road with good scenery, especially the southern section.
  • U.S. 71, South 31 miles. Comments: One of the most scenic rides of the area, which has been enhanced by reduced traffic from the completion of I-540.
  • I-40, East 22 miles.
  • Ark. 23, North 75 miles. Comments: Twenty miles of Ark. 23 twist through the Ozark National Forest on this scenic byway.

From Mountain View: Blanchard Springs Caverns (the long way), 128 Miles

Stringing together some twisty and scenic sections of area roads transforms the 12-mile trip from Mountain View to Blanchard Springs Caverns into an entertaining 128-mile loop. The route cuts through the Sylamore Wildlife Management Area and Leatherwood Wilderness and over the White River. A 7-mile detour from the main loop crosses the pristine Buffalo National River.

Along The Way:

Blanchard Springs Caverns. Located two miles east of the town of Fifty Six on Ark. 14, these caverns are rated in the top ten in North America. The U.S. Forest Service conducts year-round tours of the gargantuan cave, which is a stunning place to cool off in the summer. Toll-free 888-757-2246.

Buffalo National River Wilderness Area. Toward the end of the ride, instead of turning south onto Ark. 27, continue west seven miles to the Buffalo National River. About a mile north of the bridge, Ark. 268 leads to Buffalo Point, an excellent national park campground.

Directions from Downtown Mountain View

  • Ark. 14, East 8 miles. Comments: Well traveled but pretty highway.
  • Ark. 58, North 18 miles. Comments: A top-notch motorcycle road -- wide, curvy and scenic.
  • Ark. 69, West 6 miles. Comments: Connects two finer roads.
  • Ark. 9, South 21 miles. Comments: Twisty and panoramic but narrow and moderately trafficked.
  • Ark. 14, West 21 miles. Comments: Provides more turns through the forest and a dramatic climb from Ark. 9.
  • Ark. 74, East 19 miles. Comments: Scurries around and over the surrounding mountains.
  • Ark. 66, East 18 miles. Comments: Milder curves, open scenery, but a bit more traffic.

Hot Springs to Eureka Springs (the long way), 230 miles

Trip-planning web sites typically suggest traveling between Hot Springs and Eureka Springs on a 228-mile combination of trampled U.S. and interstate highways, which provides a nice, but not-so-exciting, four-and-a-half-hour ride.

This suggested route, however, takes adventurers down forsaken, but well-maintained, country roads winding through, over and around some of Arkansas's best mountain scenery. Although it's only two miles longer than the web site route, riders should budget more than four and a half hours for this ride, especially those equipped with cameras. This is truly one of the best motorcycle rides of the South and greatest motorcycle destinations of Arkansas. Food and fuel along this route are available in Russellville and Jasper.

Along The Way:

Nimrod Lake. Off Ark. 7, south of Ola. Located on the Fourche LaFave River, this is a camping and crappie hot spot. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation area provides campsites, boat ramps and picnic sites. (501) 272-4324.

Mount Nebo State Park. Ark. 155, south of Dardanelle. This bluff-top state park is a popular camping spot for motorcyclists. Tight switchbacks on the steep access road keep trailers and large recreational vehicles from climbing to the park. At 1,350 feet above sea level, the view of the Arkansas River Valley from Mt. Nebo is especially stunning at night. (479) 229-3655; www.ArkansasStateParks.com/MountNebo.

Buffalo National River. Fourteen miles west of Jasper, Ark. 74 enters the Buffalo National River Wilderness Area then drops down to the river crossing. This federally protected waterway is a popular fishing and floating river. On a motorcycle the crossing point is a peaceful spot for a break.

Lost Valley and Arkansas elk. Spanning from the intersection of Ark. 74 and 43 to Boxley, five miles farther south, Lost Valley is a gathering spot for elk. Hunted to extinction in Arkansas early in the 20th century, the animals were reintroduced to the Buffalo Wilderness Area in the 1980s. Riders who arrive at dusk often spot herds grazing in open fields bordering the road.

Directions from Downtown Hot Springs

  • Ark. 7, North 73 Miles. Comments: Old Faithful.
  • Ark. 164, West 14 Miles. Comments: A restful, straight stretch before the serious fun begins.
  • Ark. 123, North 28 Miles. Comments: Practically abandoned, but well-maintained byway parallel to Ark. 7.
  • Ark. 7, North 4 Miles.
  • Ark. 123, North 16 Miles. Comments: A recently paved continuation of torturous road through marvelous scenery.
  • Ark. 374, West 8 Miles. Comments: Winds around the bases of three mountains.
  • Ark. 7, North 5 Miles.
  • Ark. 74, West 14 Miles. Comments: Crosses the Buffalo National River.
  • Ark. 43, North 4 Miles. Comments: Winds through the Buffalo National River Wilderness Area.
  • Ark. 103, North 12 Miles.
  • U.S. 412, West 3 Miles.
  • Ark. 103, North 14 Miles.
  • U.S. 62, West 19 Miles.

We hope you enjoy touring these great routes through The Natural State, while taking some of the best motorcycle rides in Arkansas. Certainly, your Natural State motorcycling adventure will not be complete without attending at least one motorcycle rally in Arkansas. Have a blast, and be sure to follow our motorcycle safety tips.