Taking a road trip from Louisville to Mountain View is a journey from one of the most diverse and culturally significant cities in the United States to the "Heart of the Ozarks." Starting along the shores of the Ohio River, this cultural extravaganza runs into the mountains of Tennessee, through the prairies west of the Mississippi River, and into the Ozarks. Along the way, vacationers can visit national parks that seek to preserve the lands as they were discovered. State parks available via short detours offer incredible views and activities while you rest. Cities provide excellent opportunities to try different cuisines, visit informative museums, and "shop till you drop." Follow this road trip itinerary from Louisville to Mountain View to thoroughly explore this vital section of the country.
Mammoth Cave National Park
From Louisville, detour 103 miles south to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. After parking, walk through acres of hardwood forest to reach the opening of the Mammoth Cave system. To date, there are over 400 miles of caves and vast caverns available for the avid spelunker. Two rooms near the entrance are well-traveled — the Rotunda and Gothic Avenue —where 19th-century visitors signed the walls and ceilings before the significance of the cave system was realized. Throughout the caves, rooms reveal the presence of flowstone, stalactites, and stalagmites that formed over hundreds of thousands of years due to the steady drip of water running through the layers of limestone above.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Although Great Smoky Mountains National Park is at the furthest point along a detour from your Louisville to Mountain View RV road trip, the views found in this incredible park are worth the trip. As you approach the park, the mists for which it is named part and reveal a fantastic region of high ridges, deep valleys, forests, rivers, and lakes. Fishing, usually accompanied by miles of hiking, draws thousands of visitors to this park. The wildlife is incredible, with black bears, cougars, elk, moose, and deer plentiful along the hundreds of miles of trails.
Gateway Arch National Park
A short detour of your Louisville to Mountain View road trip takes you to Saint Louis and Gateway Arch National Park. The Arch symbolizes the connection of the East Coast and West Coast of North America via the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-1806. Indeed, the Arch sits on the location where the expedition began its journey. Many visitors take to the skies by using a trolley to reach the summit of the Arch, where an observation platform overlooks Saint Louis. Museums along the river depict each age from times before the discovery and settlement of the site through the current events taking place in the city.
Hot Springs National Park
When you reach your destination on your road trip from Louisville to Mountain View, continue south for another 152 miles to visit Hot Springs National Park. For ages, these springs were used by Native Americans and settlers alike to be a miracle cure for injuries, illnesses, and other medical conditions. The hot springs spurred an industry that brought to life a significant community that remains today. The invention of antibiotics reduced the number of people visiting the park for medicinal reasons, and the area was relegated to the park system. The springs still feed the bathhouses, and visitors, especially those like you who have traveled far to see the springs, can relax in natural and artificial pools.
Nolin Lake State Park
While you are visiting Mammoth Cave National Park, stop at Nolin Lake State Park for an overnight rest. The 333-acre park sits beside the 5,795-acre Nolin Lake. Boats, canoes, kayaks, and other watercraft are allowed easy access to the lake via a modern boat ramp. The fishing is excellent, not only in the lake but also in the streams that feed it. Hiking trails run throughout the park and around the lake. Waterbirds like blue herons, sandhill cranes, ducks, and geese frequent the lake. Wild turkeys roam the park providing extra fun for the kids.
Castlewood State Park
Located 22 miles west of Saint Louis, Castlewood State Park is a great place to stay a night or two while visiting Gateway Arch National Park. Castlewood was once a haven for Saint Louis residents who could swim and fish the Meramec River. Today, the park provides an RV campground with full-hookup sites.
Lake Charles State Park
Located on the direct route of your Louisville to Mountain View road trip, Lake Charles State Park sits on the eastern edge of the Ozark Mountains. The park is on a bluff above the lake, providing spectacular views to the east and the west. Anglers enjoy the catfish, bream, bass, and crappie that are regularly stocked in Lake Charles. A safe swimming beach allows children to enjoy the water, and an extensive array of hiking and biking trails lead to overlooks high above the lake.
Muhammed Ali Center
Before you leave Louisville, stop by the Muhammed Ali Center. This interactive center provides a glimpse into the life of Muhammed Ali. Follow him through his early years as he developed an understanding of the social ills of his day and defended his beliefs. The center provides films of his early fights and of his personal beliefs that led him to stand and refuse to fight in what he believed to be an unjust war. Admired by some and criticized by others, Ali was a man who polarized the country.
Marble Springs State Historic Site
When you pass through Knoxville on your way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stop by Marble Springs State Historic Site. The site is the home of Governor John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee; he served six terms before retiring to this home. Included in the area are a cabin, a tavern, a loom house, a spring house, and a kitchen. This site demonstrates how settlers lived during the early years of Tennessee.
Ozark Folk Center State Park
In Mountain View, drop by Ozark Folk Center State Park to view presentations and exhibits on the lives of early settlers. Located near downtown Mountain View, the park features historically accurate displays and live-action exhibits. Staff present Ozark music, crafts, and farming techniques handed down through the generations of people who lived this uniquely American lifestyle.
Lexington is on the route toward Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Louisville. Antique shops are around every turn in Lexington. Stop in the city to visit such colorful shops as Linda's Cottage Antiques and Collectibles, Feather Your Nest, and Heritage Antiques to pick up unique items not found elsewhere. While you are here, take advantage of the dump stations and the numerous campgrounds that Lexington offers.
Knoxville is 240 miles south of Louisville along your journey toward Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For its size, Knoxville has more museums than any other city in the region. To understand historical events in the area, from ancient Native American cultures to the first European settlers to the Civil War, visit museums like the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knox County Eths Museum, and the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. While you are here, take advantage of its dump stations, or stay a night at one of the campgrounds in the area.
Saint Louis, MO
While Saint Louis is best known for its many attractions, it is also a great restaurant town. The restaurants of Saint Louis reflect the diverse culture found in the city. These eateries are a great addition to your road trip from Louisville to Mountain View. If you are looking for seafood, stop by Hendel's. Try Roberto's Trattoria and Chophouse for a different taste in steaks, or try the famous Grbic Restaurant for European cuisine. While you are in the city, take the time to clean your tanks at one of the local dump stations. To stay a night or two, register at one of the many campgrounds in the area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Louisville to Mountain View, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Louisville or Mountain View.