West-Northwest Scenic Byway
The West-Northwest Scenic Byway was designated a state scenic byway in 2005 and encompasses 261 miles of interconnected highways. The route is unique in the fact that it travels through the Ouachita Mountains, the only mountain range in North America that stretches from east to west, and also that it travels both north-south and east-west in the southwest corner of the state.
Take your pick of a starting point - the route can begin in the small town of Ola in Yell county on Arkansas State Highway 10; in Fort Smith at I-540; along the Oklahoma border at Oklahoma State Highway 120; or in Mena at U.S. Highway 71.
Starting in Ola (35.032287, -93.223439), travel Arkansas State Highway 10 west. Along this section you'll go through the towns of Danville, Havana, Waveland, Magazine, Booneville and Greenwood. To the south is the Ouachita National Forest, and the Ozark National Forest is north of the route. To continue into Oklahoma from Greenwood, take the Highway 10 exit (toward Hackett, "Old Hackett Road") which will feed out onto Highway 10 (or Excelsior Road). Follow to the Oklahoma border. Watch out for the right turn in Hackett! Arkansas State Highway 10 turns into Oklahoma State Highway 120. There's also the option of taking U.S. Highway 71 in Greenwood, another part of the West-Northwest Scenic Byway (see Fort Smith directions below).
To begin at Oklahoma State Highway 120 (35.188789, -94.492398), follow the Ola directions in reverse.
Starting in Fort Smith (35.312423, -94.398837) at exit 12 on I-49, take U.S. Highway 71 South. You'll encounter Arkansas State Highway 10 to Greenwood just south of Fort Smith, another portion of the West-Northwest Scenic Byway. Follow Highway 10 either to the west to Oklahoma or to the east to Ola in Yell County. Otherwise, keep on Highway 71 South to Mansfield, where another leg of the scenic byway presents itself at Arkansas State Highway 96. Follow west to Hartford if you so desire - otherwise, keep on Highway 71 South. Right past the small towns of Abbot and Lucas, you'll see Arkansas State Highway 23, another portion of the scenic byway (and also known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway). Either take a left onto Highway 23 or continue still on Highway 71 South. You'll travel through Waldron, Boles, Y City and Acorn, all the way to Mena, the southernmost end of the West-Northwest Scenic Byway.
To start in Mena (34.586161, -94.208922), follow the Fort Smith directions in reverse.
Route: 261 miles total
Highway 71 from Mena to I-49 in Fort Smith
Parts of Highways 23 & 96 along Highway 71
Highway 10 from Ola to Oklahoma state line
Things To Know:
You can combine this route with several other scenic routes - the Pig Trail (it ends at the south end of Highway 71), Scenic 7 (it intersects in Ola), Boston Mountains (this route is the length of Highway 71 just north of Fort Smith), Mount Magazine (starts in Havana) and the Talimena (it starts at Highway 71 in Mena).
Area Attractions, Lodging & Dining:
Regional Tourism Associations:
Western Arkansas Mountain Frontier
Arkansas River Valley/Tri-Peaks Association