The Natural State, the Land of Opportunity — Arkansas is known for its scenic vistas, winding trails, and its clear bodies of water. The 25th state to be admitted into the union, Arkansas borders Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Missouri. This ensures that the state’s landscape is incredibly diverse.
When planning a road trip, this state may not be the first to come to mind. It does, however, have many routes that provide ample opportunities for site seeing and reflection. From the meandering trails along the Ozark Mountains, to the scenic byways through the Arkansas delta, an Arkansas road trip is guaranteed to provide a unique experience. Consider these following 11 options.
1. Arkansas Highway 23
This memorable north-south highway has been known for years as the “Pig Trail Scenic Byway” because of its hairpin turns.
Arkansas Highway 23 runs about 24 miles from U.S. Highway 71 near Elm Park through the Ozark National Forest and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and then north to the Missouri state line.
2. Arkansas Highway 27 from Danville to Glenwood
The north-south highway of Arkansas 27 follows U.S. 70 from Danville to Glenwood.
This scenic route remains close to Hot Springs and passes into the Ouachita National Forest where you can hike, bike, canoe, or ride horses. The entire road covers just over 193 miles.
3. Arkansas Highway 74 from Huntsville to Kingston
At a mere 14 miles, this stretch of Highway 74 packs a lot of scenery into this drive. Off of Arkansas Route 35, around 6 miles south of Huntsville, this is the fourth of five segments of the road that starts in Devil’s Den State Park and ends at Cave Road.
This east-west highway features long hills, scenic views, and hairpin twists through a lovely pastoral valley. This tiny tour makes a perfect round trip drive, as it is just as enjoyable returning west as it is driving east.
4. Arkansas Highway 103 from Clarksville to Oark
Highway 103 begins where Interstate 40 intersects U.S. 64, which is also Clarksville’s Main Street. Drive north to Oark.
The 22-mile stretch contains switchback curves, steep hills, and crosses into the Ozark National Forest. Along with a few burger joints, you will pass beautiful pastures, cattle farms, and timberland.
5. Arkansas Highway 123
This 74-mile route starts in Clarksville with a particularly scenic section running from Lurton to Route 65 in Mt. Judea.
After entering the Ozark National Forest, you travel the Lurton Loop and then head north to drive through the Western Grove. Passing through the wooded areas allows for plenty of great opportunities for photographs.
6. Arkansas Highway 221 from Eureka Springs to Berryville
The 17-mile stretch of road begins in Eureka Springs at the intersection of Highway 23 and Highway 62. Then take Rockhouse Road south until you get to Highway 221. This is about seven miles.
Although the switchback turns make you focus on the road, the Kings River Valley and the Ozark Plateau provide some fantastic views. After heading northeast, the route concludes in Berryville.
7. Boston Mountains Scenic Drive
The Boston Mountains stretch along the Arkansas River Valley and Northwest Arkansas. This route commences on Highway 71 in Rudy, Arkansas north of Alma.
Passing through a tunnel carved from the middle of a mountain and heading north, you can view scenic vistas all along the route. One such view is titled the Artist Point. It overlooks the lovely Boston Mountains. This particular drive ends just south of Fayetteville.
8. Mammoth Spring Loop
Start this 62-mile trip at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas and drive south on to Hardy, Arkansas. Then, go west on U.S. Highway 62 and lastly, north on Arkansas Highway 9.
Along the way, you travel through Ash Flat, Arkansas, Salem, through the Ozarks and Mammoth Spring. The scenery includes a river in Hardy and the freshwater spring that is Mammoth Spring.
9. Ozark Highlands Scenic Driveway
Beginning in Clarksville, Arkansas Highway 21 runs north through the Ozark National Forest and passes the Boston Mountain Range.
There are many opportunities to observe wildlife, such as elks, along the way through the forest and Arkansas wine country. The 35-mile trip continues through Fallsville, concluding at Boxley, Arkansas.
10. Scenic Route: Hot Springs to Eureka Springs
Known as the American Spa, Hot Springs National Park is the smallest national park in the country. This super scenic stretch starts in Hot Springs Arkansas.
The very windy, 200-mile scenic Highway 7 passes through the Ouachita National Forest and Ozark National Forest. Finish the ride through Berryville to Eureka Springs, AR—home of the famed “Great Passion Play”.
11. Sylamore Scenic Byway
Begin your 26.5-mile Arkansas road trip on picturesque Sylamore Scenic Byway at Calico Rock in the northern central part of the state. Take Highway 5 south and then Highway 14 west.
The route passes forests of pine, hickory, and oak, as well as limestone cliffs and the Blanchard Springs Caverns before it ends at Marshall, Arkansas.
Every state offers visitors something unique and fabulous; this state is no different. By following these popular paths, you are guaranteed an experience that offers points of interest along with hairpin curves and lush forests. If you find yourself inspired, please share this with any friends or family members who may be interested in an Arkansas road trip. Then get your playlist ready and hit the road!