When your Ready to Ride – These Arkansas Roads are calling
The Peel Ferry loop takes riders north into Missouri; east through highways carved out of limestone and into world-famous Branson; then further east and south into Arkansas. There, along the banks of Bull Shoals Lake, bikes will board Peel Ferry that runs during daylight hours the year-round and is the only existing ferry that plies any Arkansas river or lake. Serpentine highways wind past Bull Shoals southward to U.S. Highways 412 and 62 leading riders back to Eureka Springs. This ride is approximately a 200 mile / 5 hour sojourn.
The Arkansas Dragon’s Tail loop takes riders south and east of Eureka Springs through the hills-n-hollers shared with such topographic notables as the Buffalo River National Park, America’s only river ever designated as a national park, and the “Arkansas Grand Canyon”. At the bottom of the loop is the little historical community of Lurton that sits along the old wagon trail that was known as the Chisum (sic) Turnpike. On either side coming down or going back up toward Eureka Springs, riders will be “passin’ thru” Western Grove; Mt. Judea (pronounced “Judy”); Ponca and its herds of grazing elk; and Howe Hollow valley. Total round trip is 177 miles or approximately four hours of travel time.
The third “new” loop is called The War Eagle Mill and times out at one hour and 16 minutes with 54 miles being logged to and fro Eureka Springs. “What makes this short loop so awesome,” said one rider, “is that it leaves plenty of time to eat, shop or just relax in the rustic charm of the mill itself.” War Eagle Mill is one of America’s last operating undershot, burrstone gristmills that sits over War Eagle Creek. Here riders can watch product being made, taste some that has been baked up in the mill’s Bean Palace restaurant, take plenty of product home or have it shipped. The loop also takes riders in, around and through Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area, 12 thousand acres of pristine Arkansas woodlands.
The Goldwing/Highway 21 loop encourages riders to leave Eureka Springs early to see the sunrise over amazing vistas like the Bluebird Hill Overlook. As this loop continues along its 269-mile and six-hour route, it takes riders through the Buffalo River National Park and a chance to watch grazing elk near Boxley and Lost Valley. An eagle could be spotted overhead as riders near Kingston and the “Arkansas Grand Canyon”.
Curvy roads and historic bridges carry riders over the White River and Beaver Lake on the Beaver Town Bridge loop with great views of the water. Riders have perhaps a once in a lifetime experience as they encounter one of the true treasures of the Southern road. The historic Beaver Bridge, best known as the “Little Golden Gate of Arkansas”, was built in 1949, is 554 feet long but only 11 feet wide thereby only allowing one way at a time traffic. This is quite a large return for a ride that is only 26 miles and 44 minutes.
The Jasper loop is another route that takes riders through the Buffalo River National Park and across the 1930’s iron truss Pruitt Bridge. Two stops during the 150-mile/four-hour ride could be the Elk Education Center in Ponca and the Ozark Café on the town square in Jasper.
Riders are in store for a potpourri of wildlife opportunities on the Highway 103 loop. Big cats, up close and personal, at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and a trout hatchery and fishing stream at Roaring River State Park, just over the line in Missouri. All of this with the added dividend of Ozark scenery is part of the 142 miles and 4 hours invested.
But the cherry on top of the Eureka Springs’ loops’ sundae is the internationally famous Pig Trail. This ride is as challenging as it is scenic. Switchback after switchback between hairpin turns makes this ride a “must do” event when riding in Northwest Arkansas. The Designated Scenic Highway portion of Arkansas Highway 23 is truly breathtaking. Stops in Withrow State Park and alongside the Mulberry River allow riders to catch their breath and relax in beautiful, natural surroundings. Many riders say that this loop is the best seven hours and 280 miles of their riding lives.
For more information about all eight of these loops designed for motorcyclists, one should go to EurekaSpringsMotorcycleRides.com.
Fall is officially here and the leaves are rapidly changing. Here in a few weeks will mark the most vibrant viewing time of the fall foliage. Even though Bikes, Blues and Barbecue may be over, it is only the beginning of many beautiful fall rides. You’ve heard of the Pig Trail…it is a nationally acclaimed journey on the Ark. 23 byway…but what about Highway 43 and 16?
While there are a few segments to Highway 43, the portion that begins at Highway 21 in Boxley and ends at AR 7 in Harrison is particularly noteworthy. This drive runs north near the Buffalo River. Keep a look out for herds of elk that like to gather near the roads in the morning or near dusk. Read more about elk in Arkansas.
Highway 16 on the other hands begins at US 412 in Siloam Springs and runs south through the Ozark National Forest. Through the forest into Fayetteville and out, 16 meets AR 74 near Elkins. This drive winds nicely allowing for beautiful views on both sides of the road. Take some time to visit the chill, college town that is Fayetteville.
You’ll find once you hit the road and are headed to northwest arkansas that it is hard to turn around. The views only grow more spectacular and a new vista awaits you around every corner. You never know when you will get a glimpse of a beautiful overlook or a peak of a sunbathed valley.
Looking for a fun destination to spend the night in between rides? Check out The Halloween City, Eureka Springs, AR…they have all the Halloween spirit you are looking for.
There is something about the crisp winter air that sharpens the senses. Blue skies seem wider and brighter. Morning frosts make objects sparkle brighter as they catch the light. The sun captures the sharpened moments and reflects them in a vivid array of colors.
At least that’s how winter days unfold in Northwest Arkansas. It’s the natural, unfiltered, beauty that brings so many out to explore.
A 167-mile loop of back roads from Eureka Springs to Harrison will leave your senses overwhelmed. With plenty of twists and turns and quirky stops along the way, you will be surprised all the way there and back. The changing elevations, the bends, and the quickly shifting scenery will engage your whole being.
Start out in Eureka Springs and take 302 to 221. Check out the Saunders Gun Museum in Berryville before continuing on to 21and then down winding 311 to Harrison. From Harrison, 43 will take you to the breath-taking Boxley Valley (see if you spot any Elk or ). From Boxley, you will take 21 to 74 and finally hop on 23 to complete the loop back to Eureka.
Whether you are traveling with a group, getting away with a friend, or simply taking some time to yourself, a winter ride through the Ozarks will wake you up and reignite your love for the ride.
Why not make it a weekend adventure and spend a night in Eureka Springs. With covered motorcycle parking, you can rest assured your prized possession will be safe while you enjoy a nice cold beer and catch the game at any of the local’s favorite bars.