Sightings don’t have to mean ‘trouble bruin’

Waterfalls beside the byway

May 19, 2022 Comments Off on Guide offers drives on the wild side Featured, Latest, Motorcycle

Guide offers drives on the wild side

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

A free booklet that features scenic drives all around Arkansas is a must-have for explorers who enjoy their rambles on two wheels or four.

Arkansas Motorcycling Guide is geared toward travelers who prefer handlebars over a steering wheel, but all 29 scenic drives mapped out in the 131-page booklet can be enjoyed in the family sedan.

With this guide in hand, travelers can sample marquee routes from the Ozarks to the Delta. Drives visit remote forests and lakes, wide-open farm country and major cities.

Nine of the scenic drives twist through Northwest Arkansas with stops in the big towns and small hamlets such as Ponca and Oark. Some take in the well-known Pig Trail Scenic Byway and the beautiful Mulberry River Road Scenic Byway featured in today’s NWA Outdoors.

The Pig Trail has even been rated No. 2 in the top 10 most scenic motorcycle rides in the nation by USA Today, the guide says. The Jasper Disaster and Scenic 71 Loop that we’ve featured in NWA Outdoors are included. Each scenic drive has its own map and detailed descriptions of the route. Distance of the route and estimated completion time are listed.

Fans of highways less traveled should thoroughly enjoy the Ozark Moonshine Run that starts in Jasper and heads deep into Arkansas’ back country. It visits lightly traveled Arkansas 374 and Arkansas 123 out in the boons near Mt. Judea.

Up for a leg-stretch hike along the way? This drive passes by Sam’s Throne, a favorite rock-climbing spot that also has trails. There are drives that take an hour or so and more ambitious routes of five hours or more.

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism publishes the free guide available at visitor centers of state parks and other tourism destination. We picked ours up from the rack of free pamphlets at the Rogers Historical Museum.

Department staff will even mail you a guide. Just search “free Arkansas motorcycling guide,” fill out your address and a guide will be on its way. Or, if you’d rather browse a website, the guide is available at

No need to hurry with so many great stops along these drives. Who doesn’t enjoy stopping for a sky high rest-stop view. The guide includes a must-see list of scenic roadside vistas. There’s the Ozark Scenic Overlook along the Pig Trail, Arkansas Grand Canyon south of Jasper, Rotary Ann Overlook along Arkansas 7 near Sand Gap and more.

For the leathers and handlebar set, the guide lists Arkansas’ annual motorcycle rallies and rides, including Steel Horse Rally that just wrapped up in Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas’ Bikes, Blues and BBQ. A fun one for any Arkansas wanderer might be Mountains, Music and Motorcycles coming to Mountain View Aug. 19-21.

It’s set on the historic Stone County courthouse square known for its bluegrass and country jam sessions. Parking around the square will be for motorcycles only on Saturday of the event.

It’s popular for wanderers to visit all 52 Arkansas state parks in a year. Another way to tour the state is to take all 29 of the guide’s scenic drives in a year. First drive on the list is the Eureka Springs Art and Heritage Tour right here in our own back yard. Crank up the tunes and start with Willie’s “On the Road Again.”

Flip Putthoff can be reached at