(BPT) – With vibrant colors, crisp air and unmatched natural beauty, autumn is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Arkansas. During the months of October and November, The Natural State is the ideal destination for a long weekend trip to experience some of the most vibrant fall foliage in the U.S. Whether you’re traveling as a family, taking a couples retreat or exploring solo, consider driving along these scenic routes and enjoying the historic towns, state parks and nature trails along the way:
National Scenic 7 Byway: The National Scenic 7 Byway, the state’s first designated scenic byway, begins in southern Arkansas near El Dorado and runs 280 miles to the Missouri state line. The U.S. Forest Service designated approximately 60 miles of the highway that passes through the Ozark National Forest and the Ouachita National Forest as part of the National Forest Scenic Byways system. The route allows visitors the chance to explore attractions like the famed Bathhouse Row of Hot Springs National Park and numerous recreation areas, which provide opportunities to camp, hike, mountain bike, canoe and ride horses. As the byway cuts through the Ozark Mountains along the Buffalo River, visitors to Harrison can enjoy its historic downtown while hikers visit the Hemmed-In Hallow Trail, which contains the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and Appalachians.
Pig Trail Scenic Byway: A favorite among Razorback fans heading to football games in Fayetteville, the 24-mile-long Pig Trail Scenic Byway was named the top motorcycle ride in the U.S. by the USA Today Readers’ Choice poll. The trail snakes through the rugged and forested Boston Mountains region of Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains beginning on Ark. 23 from the south boundary of the Ozark National Forest to Ark. 16 at Brashears in Madison County.
Talimena Scenic Byway: Discover historic towns along the 54-mile drive on scenic route Ark. 88 from Mena to Talihina, Oklahoma. The drive displays breathtaking vistas as it passes through the Ouachita National Forest extending up Rich Mountain and then through Queen Wilhelmina State Park before it reaches the Oklahoma border. Visitors to the state park can stay in the 40-room lodge and dine on southern cuisine or enjoy campsites, picnic areas and trails.
Mount Magazine Scenic Byway: Starting in Havana, the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway (Ark. 309) begins its ascent through the forested slopes of Mount Magazine, the highest peak in Arkansas. At 2,753 feet, Mount Magazine State Park offers expansive views of Blue Mountain Lake and the Ouachita Mountains to the south and the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark Mountains to the north. Located at the state park, Signal Hill Trail (1.5 miles from start to finish) is enjoyed by hikers who want to reach the state’s highest point to view fall foliage for miles in all directions.
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway: Contained within the Arkansas Delta’s level expanse, Crowley’s Ridge rises as much as 200 feet above the surrounding terrain and stretches from Malden, Missouri, to Helena. The Ridge is characterized by upland hardwood forests, farmland and orchards with a variety of recreational and historical resources. Seven state parks lie along the parkway, which also passes through the St. Francis National Forest, and makes for one of the most scenic motorcycle rides in the state.
Regardless of which byway you choose, beautiful fall foliage views are guaranteed. To learn more about the adventures that await you in The Natural State, visit Arkansas.com.