What to know
Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway is a nationally recognized riding treasure that traverses almost the entire state from north to south. It crosses the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges along with the Arkansas River Valley before running through the dense pine woodlands of southern Arkansas. Together, the Ozarks and the Ouachitas make up the Interior Highlands, the only mountains between the Smokies and the Rockies, and are separated by the beautiful Arkansas River Valley. The more ancient Ozarks are a high and deeply dissected plateau, while the younger Ouachitas are a true uplifted range. AR 7 begins in the Ozarks near the shores of Bull Shoals Lake. About 10 miles south of Harrison, it becomes a tightly wound and challenging road, but still manageable by beginners. It remains that way until climbing out of the Little Buffalo River Valley at Jasper. Once on top of the ridgeline, the curves broaden a bit, and the scenery is top-tier. When AR 7 reaches Pelsor, it begins its descent into the Arkansas River Valley at Russellville. This valley features rich farmland with patches of woodlands. It isn’t very wide, for soon you will climb into the foothills of the Ouachitas. The folds of the Ouachitas run east-west, which is uncommon for mountain ranges in the U.S. Scenic AR 7 then goes through the first-ever national reservation, Hot Springs. This resort town is known for its thermal waters from which it gets its name, and with five lakes in the region, it’s also a popular destination for fishing, boating and water sports. Resorts and marinas are located on the lakes for lodging, boat rentals, bait, tackle, snacks and more. The roads through the Ouachitas carve their way along rounded mountain peaks until they eventually smooth out past Arkadelphia into a rolling landscape of piney hills that stretch south all the way to the Louisiana border.