Talimena National Scenic Byway
The Talimena Scenic Byway is a treasure for two states; Arkansas and Oklahoma. When you ride this stunning byway you will think you have died and gone to heaven. Throughout the 50 mile plus ride you will travel through breathtaking vistas, while passing through historic towns. This wonderful ride could be a day trip or a weekly excursion. Normally we start this ride from the Mena, AR at the east end of the Byway. This ride will take about 1 1/2 hours without stops. I suggest you plan for at least 4 hours on the ride out. This will allow frequent stops you will want to make to appreciate the stunning views and picnic grounds at Old Military Road and Horsethief Springs. A must stop is at Queen Wilhelmina State Park and Lodge that sits atop Rich Mountain. The amenities include a lodge with 38 rooms, campsites, restaurant, and a gift shop as well.
At the west of the ride lies the small town of Talimena, OK. One can find lodging, gas, and restaurants here. We normally stop in town for gas and grub to relax and before the trip back east. At this point we are now ready for a more thrilling ride as we have familiarized ourselves with the road and we can pick up the pace some. If however you just want to crash in Talimena there are multiple bed and breakfasts options, cabins, and the Sassafras Inn & Suites for your lodging needs.
We start his ride at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 71 and AR-Hwy. 88. We head north at the intersection (88E) and this will turn into OK-Hwy 1 at the border. The Talimena Scenic Byway actually ends at the intersection of Hwy 1 and U. S. Hwy 259. Stay on Hwy. 1 until it dead ends into U.s. Hwy. 271. Turn south and this will take you through the Talimena State Park and bring you right into the town of Talimena.
The road quality is a 4 out of 5. Traffic has been light anytime we have made this ride. If you have ridden the Blue Ridge Mountain area in North Carolina you will experience similar scenery.