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See Arkansas First: Motorcycling Adventures in the River Valley

Hop on your Harley, Honda or behind any kind of handlebars you like and see The Natural State like only a motorcyclist can. Motorcycle enthusiasts can leave Hot Springs on a Friday and explore the entire River Valley in a weekend. This part of the state gives riders spectacular sightseeing in Arkansas year-round and offers both mountain and valley roadways that are ideal for motorcycle getaways. Make your first stop at Petit Jean State Park and the second at Mount Magazine.

On the way to Petit Jean:

Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge

Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge

Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge is birdwatcher's paradise located west of Petit Jean State Park. The refuge is home to migratory species like Canada geese, bald eagles, several species of duck and other wildlife.

Where to stay:

Petit Jean State Park offers cabins and camping until Mather Lodge reopens after renovations in spring 2012. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute offers cooking classes, writers’ conferences and lectures from some of the nation’s leading voices. Make plans to attend and spend the night in the modern on-site lodging.

What to do:

The Museum of Automobiles atop Petit Jean Mountain features 50 antique and classic automobiles, as well as some motorcycles. They 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.

Petit Jean State Park, 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. Make it a stop on one of your motorcycling adventures when it reopens in spring 2012.

On the way to Mount Magazine:

Fall foliage is monitored by a network of color spotters in every region of Arkansas. Check each week to see where the colors are changing and for the best views on your autumn motorcycle getaways.

Blue Lake Mountain has offered many recreational opportunities since its completion by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1947. Modern campgrounds provide tent and trailer spaces, electrical and water hookups, showers, boat launching ramps, parking areas, fish cleaning stations and many other amenities. Water sports such as water-skiing, swimming and boating are popular here.

Located on the west end of the lake is the Blue Mountain Wildlife Demonstration Area, a world-class bird dog field trial area.

Where to Stay:

Mount Magazine State Park, Paris

Mount Magazine State Park, Paris

The Lodge at Mount Magazine overlooks the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake. This resort mountain lodge offers 60 luxury rooms in the lodge with a grand lobby, indoor pool and Skycrest Restaurant. There are also 13 full-service cabins with fireplaces, private bathrooms for each bedroom and an outdoor Jacuzzi.

What to do:

Paris, Ozark, Wiederkehr Village and Altus comprise Arkansas Wine Country. Fourth and fifth generations of the Post and Wiederkehr families have been joined by others to make Arkansas the largest wine-producing state in the South. Each of the wineries offers tours and tastings.

Exploring nature is a favorite activity of guests in the River Valley. Join a park interpreter or explore and discover the mountains on your own. Trails provide hours of enjoyable hiking, biking and horseback riding through the forest. The really adventurous take a leap from Mount Magazine or Mount Nebo on a hang glider and soar with the birds for one of the most memorable weekend getaways in the South.