What to know
This mid-length ride covers one of the finest loops in Arkansas and is best started in Jasper, heading south on AR 7. Vance Randolph once said about the Ozarks, “It’s not that the mountains are so high but that the valleys are so deep.” And that eloquently describes the huge valley southeast of Jasper running alongside AR 7, dubbed “Arkansas’s Grand Canyon.” A highlight worth mentioning on AR 7 is the Rotary Ann Roadside Park. It offers a beautiful 180-degree view of the Ozarks and was the first roadside rest area constructed in Arkansas, dating back to the 1930s. AR 21 is a less recognized highway than others in the Ozarks. While Scenic 7 and AR 23 may get the press, AR 21 is equal to both those highly regarded roads. At the junction of AR 16 and AR 21, there’s a tiny community known as Fallsville – not the best name for riders – but a great rest stop nonetheless. Also of particular note on AR 21 and AR 43 is the 16-mile-long Boxley Valley, headwaters for the Buffalo National River. These run the length of the Boxley Valley, which is arguably the most beautiful natural area in Arkansas. Elk were reintroduced to the valley several years ago, and there are elk-viewing areas along AR 43 on the way to Ponca. The elk are magnificent to look at, but a possible hazard to riders. Be watchful. AR 74 runs from the Buffalo National River at Ponca to Jasper. Like AR 21, AR 74 is very curvy and runs through heavy forests all the way to Jasper. Sport bike riders will love the knee-slider hairpins running the first two miles out of the Buffalo on AR 74. Scenery and excitement level for this loop, on a scale of 1-10, is a definite 10.