One would believe that locating the best motorcycle rides in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains would be a simple undertaking, but such is not the case. Really just about any road you are riding in the Ozarks is more fun than any road you have ridden before. So trying to discover the best motorcycle ride is a discouraging task.
Being a relocated Chicagoan to the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks I know that of which I speak. As I started to ride through the Arkansas Ozarks I was simply astounded that I could simply begin from anywhere and ride with no particular destination in mind and experience some of the great motorcycle roads I had ever traveled. Then I started meeting with other riders that shared their favorite motorcycle rides.
Four of the top thirty-three roads in the United States are located in Arkansas. These are Push Mountain Road, the Arkansas Pig Trail, the Arkansas Dragon, and Arkansas Highway 7. All of these are magnificent roads are full of hairpin turns, switchbacks, elevation changes and beautiful scenery that makes for great motorcycle rides. All of these motorcycle roads also demand your utmost attention, or you might find yourself doing a few unanticipated motocross stunts.
Many motorcycle websites have articles on these roads that give details and anyone can just search for any of these roads on YouTube to see videos of these motorcycle rides. Because this information is readily available I will not get into the details of these particular roads. Instead, I will share a few of the lesser known Arkansas motorcycle trips I appreciate.
Push Mountain Road is a famous motorcycle ride that many riders all over the country have ridden or heard of. But, here is my preferred way to create a busy day trip (or more) out of riding this challenging road.
I begin my motorcycle ride by leaving of Mountain Home on Highway 62 west in the direction of Yellville for thirty minutes. I pick up AR-14 Highway South toward my first stop, which will be the Buffalo River State Park. The park is close to 25 minutes from Yellville.
Depending on the time of day I started my motorcycle ride I will head over to the park restaurant that sits near the top of a bluff where you can look out over the river for a scenic breakfast or lunch. The cuisine is secondary to the impressive scenery. The restaurant is only open during the peak travel season, in general between late March to late October. For travelers wishing to explore this great State Park there are cabins and campgrounds for rent, and if time allows I definitely recommend a brief stay for a fantastic time.
Soon after satisfying my appetite I once again head south for around fifteen minutes on AR-14S to the tiny town of Harriet. This portion of this Arkansas motorcycle trip will get the blood flowing in preparation for the Push Mountain Road run. Now I pick up E AR-14. It appears puzzling, but just follow E AR-14.
From Harriet to Push Mountain Road is roughly thirty minutes. You will pass by the tiny town of Big Flat, about midway through. Look for road signs signaling AR-341 North, which is Push Mountain Road. Turn left onto P.M.R. and prepare for a ride you can only imagine. On this trip I will be including the run on this route 2 times, so I simply kick back and take a relaxing trip while I appreciate the scenery this time around.
During this potion of my motorcycle ride I pull over to visit with Chuck at Crossroads, a small gas station and the only point on P.M.R. to find a snack, something to drink (no liquor), or a Push Mountain Road T-shirt. This is a nice break to get off the bike and visit with a great guy and his dog Cooper. Visiting with interesting people always adds to a great motorcycle ride.
Moving on, it takes close to 15 minutes to arrive at the northern end of P.M.R., at the intersection of AR-201. Here I head west for about a mile or 2 and pick up Highway 5 south toward Norfork. In town you can check the Riverview Emporium in Norfork. Don is very intriguing to sit and chat with, as he has traveled the globe widely and his store has many local antiques. Ask him about his hauntings in the building.
I continue my motorcycle ride Highway 5S down to Mountain View, about a 50 minute ride if you don’t get slowed down by a lot traffic. If you are new to the Ozark experience you should clearly make a visit to the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Lots of visitors share the point of view that the Ozark Folk Center is the most likeable tourist attraction in the state. The hosts are forever warm and friendly and the scenery is great. Mountain View also hosts a folk music festival every year, in most cases near the end of April.
There is a wonderful ice cream parlor in the square that would take your grandfather back to his childhood. I stop here to cool down with a tasty delicacy. This is in preparation for a more earnest run of Push Mountain Road and the most hair raising part of this motorcycle ride.
I get back on Highway 5N and ride to the intersection of Arkansas Highway 14, about a 10 minute jaunt. I head west on 14 for approximately thirty minutes to Push Mountain Road. Heading north on P.M.R., I brace myself for a more combative run at this challenging road. Take note here; only experienced riders should challenge this road. It’s a frequent occurrence to see accidents on this road every weekend and there is an occasional fatality.
I make my last stop at the White River Bridge just before the end of P.M.R. and take 10 minutes to sit by the river and let my adrenaline levels come back to a normal level. From here I head up Highway 201 north back into Mountain Home to complete one of the best motorcycle rides in the Arkansas Ozarks.