Arkansas Boston Mountains Byways

Sep 14, 2018 View Comments by

Arkansas Boston Mountains Byways

Some riders are under the misimpression that all of the great motorcycle roads are either on the West or East Coasts. Au contraire, there are also great roads in the middle of America, particularly in the state of Arkansas. The northwest portion of the state has a rugged Ozark landscape known as the Boston Mountains. Some of the main attractions in this region are located on or near State Route 23, which is also known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

While the etymology of the road’s name can be a subject of debate in “The Natural State,” the ubiquitous presence here of the chubby pink oinkers is not. Potential origins of the designation are not hard to find. For example, the University of Arkansas, also known as the Home of the Razorbacks, isn’t far away. Spotting wild hogs (not to be confused with riders on the two-wheeled version of hogs) are common along the route. And last, but not least, the route itself is at least as twisty as a pig’s coiled tail.

Riders on SR 23, and on other serpentine byways in the Boston Mountains, often find themselves motoring through tunnels of foliage in this richly forested area—a welcome feature on a hot day. Spring wildflowers and vivid fall colors in the deeply wooded terrain add visual texture to the riding experience in the shoulder seasons. The road itself frequently consists of short straights stitched between hairpin curves and substantial elevation changes.
The 120-mile route, laid out here, proceeds south to north, starting in Ozark, AR, but it obviously can be ridden in either direction, possibly all in one day if you’re in a hurry—but don’t be! In addition to the route’s many riding pleasures, there are fascinating points of interest along the way. So, take your time and check them out too.

Points of Interest
1. Turner Bend Store
Located on the banks of the Mulberry River, Turner Bend is a white-water river outfitter, has snacks and other supplies in the store, and offers riverside cabin rentals. Find it at 20034 N Hwy 23, Ozark, AR, (479) 667-3641, www.turnerbend.com.
2. Withrow Springs State Park
Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, the cool clear waters of this state park provide a refreshing respite from the mental concentration required of riders on the Pig Trail. Stretch your legs on one of the relatively short nature trails; www.arkansasstateparks.com/withrowsprings
3. War Eagle Mill
Taking Route 12 east from Route 23, riders find a historic working gristmill perched on the east bank of War Eagle Creek. Offering an inviting back-in-time setting, a cafe, shopping, and a fall craft fair, War Eagle Mill is a popular gathering place, particularly for motorcyclists. 11045 War Eagle Rd, Rogers, AR, (866) 492-7324, 
www.wareaglemill.com.
4. Eureka Springs, AR
Clinging to the side of a hill in the Ozark Mountains, this charming Victorian village offers fine dining, a full price range of lodgings, a historic downtown with over 100 shops and galleries, a steam-powered excursion train, numerous spas, and a wildlife refuge. It’s a great place to spend a day, a weekend or even longer; 
www.eurekasprings.org.
5. Beaver Bridge
For obvious reasons, this suspension bridge over the White River is also called the “Little Golden Gate Bridge” of Arkansas. North of Eureka Springs, riders turn off of Route 23 onto Route 187 and follow it to the c. 1949 554-foot-long bridge. Since it’s only 11 feet wide, traffic can move in only one direction at a time; www.exploresouthernhistory.com/beaverbridge.

Tags: , Categories: Classic Roads