10 Best Scenic Drives In Arkansas, USA

scenic drives in arkansas
| 5 min read

Nothing can beat the thrill of a road journey! A road adventure offers limitless opportunities in terms of exploring your desired destination, and Arkansas is one such incredible place where even the shortest drive is a treat. Otherwise known as The Natural State, Arkansas is considered a natural beauty because of its towering mountains, glistening lakes, and must-visit parks. Whether you are looking for a day trip or a weekend excursion, a drive to this part of the United States is going to be one for the books. So fasten your seat belts and explore the best scenic drives in Arkansas, USA.

1. Lake Chicot Loop

Lake Chicot
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chetblong used under CC BY 3.0

Planning to go on a road trip where you can catch a glimpse of Arkansas’ captivating beauty? Commencing in Lake Village, this drive covers a stretch of 22 miles (35 kilometers) and is perfect for enjoying the backwoods of this state. Passing through farmland and parks, this loop orbits a portion of Lake Chicot which is Arkansas’s biggest natural lake and the largest oxbow lake in the USA. Lake Chicot is also the largest flight path for several migratory birds so planning a drive during winter or fall can be great for birdwatching. If you wish to explore more around this loop, go camping or rent a cottage at Lake Chicot State Park.

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2. Sylamore Scenic Byway

Highway 5, 9 and 14 in Mountain View, AR 004
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Buckle up and explore north-central Arkansas through Sylamore Scenic Byway. It is a 26.5-mile stretch (47.7 kilometers) that usually begins at the country’s only ghost town Calico Rock all the way to Blanchard Springs Caverns. Prepare to be welcomed by refreshing vistas of oak-hickory forests and limestone cliffs. While here, you can also check out Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Centre or Printing Press Café. If you love fishing or canoeing, a stop at White River is a must. Learn more about the town’s history and traditional arts when you head over to Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View.

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3. Pig Trail

20151216 1604 Boston Mountains
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jason Ronza used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Immensely loved by travelers, Pig Trail was featured on USA Today’s list of top 10 motorcycling routes. Cruise through this classic 37-mile stretch (59 kilometers) via Boston Mountains at an altitude of about 1500 feet (457 meters). With the charming Mulberry River as a backdrop, breathe in the fresh air as you drive on this lush, forested road that resembles a green tunnel. As you approach Pig Trail Falls, you will also find many suitable spots for hiking, camping, and picture-taking here. Want a hair-raising experience? You may check out the haunted Crescent Hotel nearby.

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4. Two Mountain Way

Blanchard Springs Caverns 008
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 4.0

As the name suggests, Two Mountain Way takes you on a spectacular journey of 48 miles (77 kilometers) from Mountain View to Mountain Home in Arkansas. Throughout the entire stretch, you will witness a plethora of splendid sights so you better keep your camera ready. Two Mountain Way runs along White River, an extremely popular point for trout fishing. Other attractive stops here include the underground caves at Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View, Calico Rock, and Norfork Lake. If you get hungry, grab a bite at Jo-Jo’s Catfish Wharf located on the northern side of Mountain View.

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5. Talimena Scenic Drive

Scenic drives in Arkansas
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alex Butterfield used under CC BY 2.0

Although you can opt for this route any time of the year, Talimena Scenic Drive is specifically gorgeous during fall. The varied colors of the foliage look simply magical. This route is 54-mile long (87 kilometers) but if you want to stay within the state, then your drive will be of about 18 miles (29 kilometers). The trip starts at Mena and ends at Rich Mountain where you will get to see Quachita National Forest and Queen Wilhelmina State Park. The real thrill is the abundance of wild animals here such as turkey vultures, eagles, black bears, and more. If you choose a night-driving experience, then you might hear the coyotes howling.

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6. Capital to Holla Bend

Pinnacle Mountain 001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jason Ronza used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A leisurely drive awaits you on this scenic excursion of about 96 miles (154 kilometers) that starts from the state’s capital called Little Rock to Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. There is an abundance of wildlife to see throughout the year, but during the winter months, you can see a lovely variety of migratory birds, river otters, and more. Other attractions also include Ouachita National Recreation Trail, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and backwater areas. Feast your eyes on the fabulous views of the city from Pinnacle Mountain.

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7. Scenic Highway 7

Scenic Byway 7 in Arkansas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Scenic Highway 7 is one of the most scenic and longest drives in Arkansas due to its 290-mile stretch (466 kilometers). Ideal for nature lovers, there are several appealing spots on the way. Your first stop is South Arkansas Arboretum, a wonderfully maintained botanical garden. If you want to soak in naturally heated springs, check out Hot Springs National Park. In case you get hungry while on the road, drop by The Ohio Club and try out their scrumptious burgers and sandwiches. You may also grab a meal at the state’s oldest restaurant, White House Café. Roll down your windows to appreciate the refreshing views while passing through Ouachita National Forest and Ozark National Forest.

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8. Mount Magazine Scenic Byway

02 Mount Magazine
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jason Ronza used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Eiffel Tower in Arkansas? Yes, you read it right. If you opt for Mount Magazine Scenic Byway, there are some very fascinating spots that you will see along the road like a miniature of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. You will never feel a shortage of magnificent views here as you enjoy a ride through Petit Jean State Park and the highest mountain of the state, Mount Magazine. While on this 45-mile scenic byway (72 kilometers), you will pass through Mount Magazine State Park as well as the serene Ozark National Forest. If you fancy a wine-tasting tour, check out the largest winery in the state called Post Familie Vineyards. Right before the byway ends, take a break and chill on Arkansas River.

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9. Boston Mountains Scenic Loop

Arkansas River Valley 003
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Interstate 49 and U.S. 71, which are often referred to as two scenic byways of Arkansas, form Boston Mountains Scenic Loop. It runs along Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas River Valley. This 38-mile long drive (61 kilometers) will take you to the topmost point of Ozark Mountain. This will give you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take in the breathtaking views of Arkansas. One of the most iconic points along the way is Artist’s Point that overlooks the beautiful Boston Mountains and is also close to Lake Fort Smith Park. There is also a tunnel on the way and a great shopping spot called Fayetteville.

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10. Crystal Trail

Lake in the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oemar used under CC BY 2.0

Crystal Trail deserves a day trip or a weekend excursion. Home to top scenic drives in Arkansas, the route starts at the fantastic Hot Springs National Park, passes through Ouachita National Park, and finally, ends at Page in Oklahoma. Throughout this journey of 100 miles (16 kilometers), get ready to be mesmerized by panoramic views as well as the diversity of flora and fauna. Make a quick visit to Hickory Nut Mountain where you can enjoy delightful views of Ouachita Lake. Another absolute must-visit point is Mt. Ida, a silver mining city and USA’s quartz capital.

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Bring home the best memories from Arkansas

Discover a rejuvenating world of untouched natural beauty on these scenic roads. These 10 best scenic drives in Arkansas, USA, can be a great way to explore the diverse and treasured corners of the state. It doesn’t matter which direction you are headed to as Arkansas will never run out of amazing destinations to check out.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Samali Basu, a Content Creator with almost a decade's experience, is a former field journalist with a demonstrated history of working with various industries. She is Post Graduate in English...Read more

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