Car Cruising through the Ozark Mountains
The Ozark Mountains are a car rider's paradise. Families that venture into the valleys through the breathtaking bluffs find that electronic entertainment like Portable DVD Players and MP3 players are second fiddle to the incredible sights encountered while traveling the Ozark Mountain roadways. Below you will find a list of trips sure to please the entire family. The only electronic carryon necessary is a camera to capture the images your family will share for years to come.
Ozark Moonshine Run
The Ozark Moonshine Run is without a doubt the most picturesque driving route in the Ozark Mountains. However, it is not for the easily car sick riders. The route encompasses parts of Scenic Highway 7 and winds through the deepest parts of the Ozarks and Buffalo National River. Along the route you can expect to see magnificent views, ancient bluff lines and the possibility of seeing majestic elk grazing in their natural habitat. Parts of the driving tour makes you feel like you stepped back in time to a slower paced lifestyle. You will see many attractions along the way so take your time and enjoy the scenery but be careful of the many curves along this route. Some parts can be tricky and slightly dangerous.
Directions: Depart Harrison, Arkansas on Scenic AR Highway 7 South heading to Jasper, Arkansas. Travel through Jasper, AR on AR Highway 7 to AR Highway 374 East on your left. AR Highway 374 will join AR Highway 123 where you will turn right. Follow AR Highway 123 through Mt. Judea (pronounced Judy) until its intersection with AR Highway 7 North. AR Highway 123 splits, so be careful to follow the route leading to AR Highway 7 North. Follow AR Highway 7 North to the intersection with AR Highway 16 on your left. Highway 16 will take you through the communities of Deer, Nail and Swain. AR Highway 16 intersects with AR Highway 21 where you will travel north into Boxley Valley. Through the valley, be on the lookout for Elk that graze the fields and sometimes cross the highway. Follow AR Highway 21 to the intersection with AR Highway 43 North. AR Highway 43 North winds through Ponca back to Harrison, AR.
Route Distance: 110 miles with 662 curves
Bull Shoals Dam Route
The Bull Shoals Dam route takes you east out of Harrison, Arkansas through beautiful farm land, across Crooked Creek to Bull Shoals Lake where you will cross the 256 foot dam. The lake covers over 71,000 acres and is used by both boating and fishing enthusiasts. The route passes many attractions including the Bull Shoals-White River State Park and the James Gaston Visitors Center where you can learn of the history and ecology of the lake. Be sure to take a short side trip to Gaston's White River Resort to do a little trout fishing or to enjoy the fabulous restaurant in a romantic setting overlooking the White River.
Directions: Depart Harrison, Arkansas following US Highway 412-65-62 south to Bellefonte. At Bellefonte, turn left onto US Highway 412-62 that goes to Yellville. Before arriving in Yellville, turn left on AR Highway 202 just past the uneven railroad tracks. AR Highway 202 will meet AR Highway 178 in Flippin where you will turn left to the city of Bull Shoals. Follow AR Highway 178 through Bull Shoals, across the Bull Shoals Dam and through Lakeview. Turn right onto AR Highway 126 to Gassville. At Gassville, turn right onto US Highway 412-62 back to Harrison, AR. Follow the business routes through Flippin and Yellville to enjoy the cute towns and attractions they offer.
Route Distance: 100 miles with 326 curves
Peel Ferry Route
If you haven't experienced the Peel Ferry Route, you haven't experienced the most unique route in the Ozarks. The Peel Ferry was developed when the White River was dammed to make Bull Shoals Lake. Bull Shoals Lake now covers the Highway AR 125 leading into Missouri. To compensate for the road loss, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department created the ferry to transport vehicles across the lake into Missouri during daylight hours. There is no charge for the ferry ride. Just pull up to the landing, wait for the ferry to arrive (about every 20 minutes) and enjoy a ride across the lake. The route then takes you through a wonderful ride through the Missouri countryside before arriving in Forsyth, MO and Branson, MO. Take awhile to enjoy the great shopping, dining and shows in Branson before heading back to Harrison, Arkansas.
Directions: The route will start by departing Harrison, AR on Scenic Highway 7 North. Follow Highway 7 to Highway 14 East. Follow Highway 14 for a very short distance to Arkansas Highway 268 North. Highway 268 will meet with Arkansas Highway 125 where it will pass the Corps of Engineer's Park to where it dead ends at the Peel Ferry crossing. Once on the Missouri side of the lake, continue traveling on Missouri Highway 125 to U.S. Highway 160 West. Highway 160 will meet up with Highway 76 West just east of Forsyth, MO. Take Highway 76 West through Branson to U.S. Highway 65 South in Branson. Enjoy Branson for awhile before heading south on U.S. Highway 65 to Harrison, AR.
Route Distance: 110 miles with 378 curves
Eureka Springs Back Roads Route
Eureka Springs is a beautiful Victorian Village nestled in the Ozark Mountains. The city has a great downtown shopping district and many attractions such as the Great Passion Play and the Pine Mountain Jamboree . A great route has been developed to take the rider through beautiful mountain scenery, rolling farmland and quaint little communities. Experience locations and roads like the Pig Trail, Kingston, Race Track Road and Withrow Springs State Park. Enjoy the Elk herds in Boxley Valley, Ponca Elk Education Center and other unique attractions.
Directions: Start in Harrison, AR and travel Highway 43 South to Highway 21 North just south of Ponca. You will drive through scenic Boxley Valley where the Elk herd is visible most days. Many hiking trails are off this route as well. Follow Highway 21 North to Highway 74 West in Kingston. Highway 74 West will join with Highway 23 North just south of Huntsville. Detour through Withrow Springs State Park and enjoy the short drive through the park. The park road is a straight shot through the park and comes out again on Highway 23 North. Take Highway 23 North, known as the Pig Trail, to Eureka Springs. Follow Highway 23 North where it will meet with Highway 62 East in Eureka Springs. After enjoying Eureka Springs, take Highway 62 East to Rockhouse Road in Eureka Springs. Rockhouse Road will meander through the countryside before meeting with AR Highway 221, known as Race Track Road. Take Highway 221 South to Berryville where it will meet with Highway 62 East. Follow Highway 62 East back to Harrison through Green Forest and Alpena.
Route Distance: 132 miles with 571 curves
Mountain View Run
The Mountain View Run takes you down Arkansas Highway 14 across the Buffalo National River through the Sylamore National Forest. The best attraction along this route is Blanchard Springs Caverns that is incredible! The caverns are huge with three different routes to choose. You start by taking an elevator down to the entrance. The cavern is managed by the U.S. Forestry Service. After visiting Blanchard Springs Caverns, continue on to Mountain View. Mountain View has a quaint and charming historic square with great shops and food. If visiting on a Friday or Saturday in the summer months, be sure to catch the live music on the square each of those nights.
Directions: Start in Harrison, AR and travel U.S. Highway 412/62 East to Yellville. In Yellville, turn on Arkansas Highway 14 South. Highway 14 East will take you through beautiful Ozark's scenery, past the Buffalo National River and through the Sylamore National Forest. Stay on Highway 14 East all the way to Mountain View. Once in Mountain View, enjoy the small-town charm and shopping on the square. From Highway 14 East, take Arkansas Highway 66 West to Leslie. At Leslie, take U.S. Highway 65 North to Harrison.
Route Distance: 168 miles with 602 curves
The Osage Trail
The Osage Trail is a great drive for scenic beauty. It takes you through small towns, scenic countryside and mountain overlooks. In the fall and winter, bald eagles are prevalent around many of the hillsides and fields. The driving route meanders through the small community of Osage. Osage was a stopping off point in the old days for travelers heading to Northwest Arkansas. The Osage Clayworks is located in the historic Stamps General Store built in 1901. It is a great representation of the buildings of the times.
Directions: Leave from Harrison and travel west on Highway 392 through the small communities of Capps and Batavia. Highway 392 will meet with U.S. 412/62 where you will head west through Alpena on Highway 62. Follow Highway 62 West through Green Forest to Highway 103 South. The south intersection is on the west side of Green Forest. Don't be confused with Highway 103 North that meets in the center of town. Follow Highway 103 South to U.S. Highway 412 East. Travel east for a short distance on Highway 412 to the intersection again with Highway 103 South at Osage. Highway 103 will take you to Highway 43 North that leads back to Harrison.
Route Distance: 76 miles and 311 curves
The Jasper Disaster has the name for good reason. Mile for mile, this route is the curviest driving route. The route encompasses the most scenic section of Highway 7, follows Highway 74 over the mountains and joins Highway 43 in Boxley Valley. The scenic beauty of this route is incredible with wonderful overlooks, massive drops in elevation and many opportunities to see wildlife like deer, turkey, elk and eagles. Be sure to enjoy the Elk Education Centers along the route as well as Boxley Valley to view the elk herd.
Directions: Depart from Harrison, AR on Scenic Highway 7 South to Jasper. Turn on Highway 74 West and travel to Highway 43 North in Boxley Valley. Take Highway 43 North back to Harrison, Arkansas.
Route Distance: 56 miles with 316 curves