What to know
This backroads route to MEMPHIS takes you through farmlands and small towns, past restaurants with great family cooking, over bridges, next to a major state park and up Crowley’s Ridge. The ride is longer than the car trip, but it adds a whole lot more experience than an interstate can deliver. You can divide the ride up into three segments – NORTH LITTLE ROCK to DES ARC, Des Arc to FORREST CITY and Forrest City to Memphis – and either camp or stay in hotels along the way. Start in North Little Rock at the base of the Clinton PresidentialPark Bridge heading east. Avada’s Diner in CARLISLE makes a good lunch stop with a homestyle buffet that’ll have you back in the saddle fully fueled. You can make Des Arc by mid-afternoon and overnight there. A lightly traveled highway with good shoulders and polite motorists takes you through COTTON PLANT, which could be your first stop of the day. Pass the flooded rice fields and dip through groves of shade trees as the road takes you east and then north for a bit. Roadside fruit stands sell the freshest peaches. In the vast, flat sea of the Delta, Crowley’s Ridge is a 150-mile-long island of rolling hills and hardwoods. You’ll ride the ridge for some 14 miles, passing the entrance to Village Creek State Park, then head south to cross I-40 and end the day at Forrest City. Riding out from Forrest City, the roads are flat, with farmlands, woodlands and bottomlands visible for miles on both sides of the well-shouldered road. If you’ve made it this far, you’re not out of the woods, but you are out of the hills. An easy, scenic ride brings you to WEST MEMPHIS and the entrance to one of the bike world’s wonders: The Harahan Bridge, scheduled to open in October 2016. This monumental project has been made possible by a large coalition who saw the benefit of making connections between West Memphis, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. The longest dedicated bike-pedestrian bridge in the world traverses the mighty Mississippi River and brings riders to the revitalized Main Street community of Memphis. Blues, barbecue, beverages and beds await the biker tired from this proud journey.