Where to Street Ride & Camp in the Ozarks?

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by BgDadddy, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Leg Humper

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,238
    Location:
    East TN & West FL
    Hi Y'all,

    I am going to be in Hot Springs, AR on May 9, 10 & 11 with nothing to do but ride!! :ricky

    Hoping someone can help me out and let me know where to go. I'm interested in street only, the twistier and hillier the better. I hear the Ozark Mts are great, but I'd be ok with OK or MO also if someone knows good rides.

    I'm doing an Ironbutt ride Friday to get there Fri night and plan on riding by day and camping by night Sat, Sun and Mon before going back to my friend's place in Hot Springs Monday evening.

    Can anyone help me out with routing? If anyone knows where to camp, that would be a bonus.

    Thanks!

    Big D
    #1
  2. DrLewall

    DrLewall ADV Has gone to SHIT

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    46,523
    Location:
    Banned Camp
    Bring your rain gear!!!! Rain in forcast thru next wednesday here in the Ozarks
    #2
  3. dfwscotty

    dfwscotty Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,059
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    I like Mt. Nebo. Really nice park with some history and a view. You can go out and hang a right and hit areas of Hwy 7 or head through Russellville and take 7 up to Jasper. With those two simple directions and a bit of routing, you can get hundreds of miles of routes. Nebo is a nice central location.
    #3
  4. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    20,817
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I was at Mt. Nebo with Dr. Lewall and Dragon a week or so ago. Awesome scenery, great ride up the moutain. Nice campground at the top.

    You could ride from there into NW Arkansas up Highway 23 (the Pig Trail), Up Highway 7 (great ride) to Harrison, You could go to Oklahoma to the Talamenia Parkway, You can go to Altus via Arkanasas 64 to Arkansas wine country, then from there to Old 71 and over to Devils Den State Park crossing west of I540 (awesome park, great hiking, climbing, scenery).
    #4
  5. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    942
    Location:
    Southern Ozarks
    Mt. Nebo, Mt. Magazine, Petit Jean Mt., Lake Dardanelle (north and south) State Parks are all within a few miles of Russellville, AR and have wonderful facilities (all paved roads). Head north up Hwy 7 and take any paved road east or west once you get passed Dover, AR. You won't be let down.

    You can PM me if you would like more detailed routes. Enjoy the Ozarks....you will be back:D .
    Mike
    #5
  6. arkansawyer

    arkansawyer Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,444
    Location:
    Hot Springs
    I'm going to be the only one to say 7 isn't that great. It's usually got cars and slow moving packs of cruisers on it. Quite a few of the cruiser crowd are real jerks about letting faster moving traffic(which is anything upwards of a trail 70) by. If you get lucky and catch 7 with no traffic it is nice.
    65 is another road to avoid. Way too much traffic and cops. It is a fast way to connect other roads if you have to.

    123 from Hagarville to Mt. Judea
    27 from Hector to Tilly
    16 from Clinton to Swain
    21 from Ozone to Kingston
    309 into War Eagle

    These are my favorite roads off the top of my head. String them together however you want.

    Pedestal Rock State Park on 16 5 miles or so E of 7 is a good place to stretch and walk.
    Alum Cove State Park on 327 has a natural bridge after a half mile steep walk.
    Both of these parks are free and only have chemical toilets.

    Since you're doing a 1K day Friday I figure you will make Saturday an easy day. North on 7 from Hot Springs to Ola, turn left at the stop sign and head to Plainview, turn right on Davis St off of Plainview's Main St, Davis turns to dirt at the intersection with Kingston Rd, turn left onto Kingston Rd and follow it to 27, right onto 27 into Danville. The best parts of this ride are 7 between Lake Nimrod and Ola and 27 from Kingston Rd to Danville. I like to eat lunch at the Salvadorean place in Danville on 27.

    Nebo is a nice place to camp. Real showers and toilets and a view of the valley. Some of the tent spots are rocky and I paid nearly 20 bucks to camp there last time.
    The new lodge on Magazine is beautiful, and they have a good buffet.
    Quite a few towns in the Ozarks don't have gas anymore.
    #6
  7. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    16,529
    Location:
    In Yonder Hills
    +1 Arkansawyer !!!
    #7
  8. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    16,529
    Location:
    In Yonder Hills
    Also, if Oklahoma is on your mind, Talimena Drive runs from Mena, Arkansas to Talihena, Oklahoma.
    #8
  9. deaconjones

    deaconjones Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    419
    Location:
    West TN
    http://cruisetheozarks.com/

    Don't be put off by the title. Great info here. Go to the planning maps (color-coded) and print them off for your tank bag. Save you a lot of guesswork. :D
    #9
  10. RipperFox

    RipperFox ExplosiveOrdnanceDisposal

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    592
    Location:
    Ft. Gibson, OK
    #10
  11. Silver

    Silver Dirtnewb

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,294
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    :D Thanks for the props RipperFox.

    Bg, what kind of milage are you wanting to lay out per day? I can toss ya some routes. The 3 main roads you are going to want to ride if you are looking for asphalt and awesome twisty are 123 by Mt. Judea, 341, and head up into MO for 125(take the ferry, just so you can say you have). Those three roads will make your whole trip, they are that good.

    Otherwise head up pig trail and get a sticker or a patch at Turners bend. Then head out 215 for some awesome pavement and have lunch at Oark Cafe(I hear the buttermilk pie is awesome). If you want some touristy stuff come back out 215 to 23 and head up to Eureka, get a picture with the BIGGEST CHIMES IN THE WORLD as well as go see some lions and tigers and stuff.

    Highway 21 is pretty ok and can be part of the zig zag. Highway 7 is pretty twisty and smooth past 74, going to other direction it's got some awesome scenery, go slow though as it's heavily patrolled.

    For OK, there is Talimena drive which is looooong and twisty, but also heavily patrolled and there's a ranger up there that will tag you for not doing the cautionary speed limit through turns. It's an ok ride, but not awesome.

    341 is called the AR gap because it's just that twisty, with really good pavement. If you roll this road and see pushmountainpictures out there stop by and say hi. His name is Jack and he's super awesome. There will probably be a ranger on 341 somewhere so look for people waving at you or flashing their lights or something if he's around. If not, just keep it tame. I came out of a corner kinda full tilt and was like "Hey, there's lights on the top of that blazer" so I slowed and waved and he didn't come get me so wheee.

    125 in MO, you'll cross a ferry to get there which is neat, it's also free. Then you just keep going, once you cross 165(?) it goes completely NUTS. Elevation changes out the wazoo, wonderful smooth turns, and it's just awesome. Heh, even if you don't know how to wheelie, hitting the gas coming off a few of those hills, YOU'RE GOING TO WHEELIE. This might be dated info though because I haven't ridden it in two years, but it's awesome if it doesn't have any major damage.

    Hrm. OK most of those are more northern. Down by you, you have magazine mountain which is nice and twisty, last time I was on it, it was kinda rough though, but great scenery.

    Mt. Nebo I haven't done yet but have heard really good things.

    I believe there are a few roads over by little rock that are awesome, but again cannot confirm.

    You'll be kinda close to 21, which is wider open sweepers.

    I'll probably think of more lol. But that's what I got for now.

    I just got into camping off the bike last season, so the only camp spots I know of are off 215 and whatever cavern is up by 341, can't remember it right off hand, typing this up fast. They are both pay campgrounds. I heard wolfpen gap was super primative and not free either.

    Although Jack told me off 341 it's a national forest and you can find somewhere in the woods and tuck off and camp right off 341. I cannot confirm that though. So others I'm sure will chime in with more info on camping.

    You could also petition DrLewall, he has a campground setup literall in his back yard kinda. I plan on camping there sometime this season hopefully. Might end Sat night and see if he has anything going on.

    So let me know the milage you want to lay down per day, I'll come up with a few routes for you asphalt wise. Hell if I can find anyway to do it I'll come out and join you Sat/Sun. That's probably pretty slim chance though.

    We'll see.

    edit: Blanchard springs cavern and Redding campgrounds.
    #11
  12. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Leg Humper

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,238
    Location:
    East TN & West FL
    Wow! Thanks everyone.

    Silver, I plan on Sat being an easy day, maybe 150 - 200 miles before stopping to camp, but I want Sat to be an all day ride - dawn to dusk. Monday, anything is fine too, as long as I make it back to Hot Springs by around dark.

    I'm packing for primitive camping, but a shower (or river) would be appreciated.

    Big D
    #12
  13. DrLewall

    DrLewall ADV Has gone to SHIT

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    46,523
    Location:
    Banned Camp
    Wolf Pen! Cant get more primitave than that and the Mulberry river is right there! Plenty of bathing space! :D Breakfast and Dinner just 5 miles down the road at Oark!
    #13
  14. arkansawyer

    arkansawyer Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,444
    Location:
    Hot Springs
    Free primitive camping in the National Forest just N of Hot Springs. The area between 7 and 9 is very pretty. It's gravel, but very well maintained and smooth. I've camped next to creeks in there and taken a whore bath in them.
    #14
  15. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    16,529
    Location:
    In Yonder Hills
    Nice little spot! :thumb
    #15
  16. Silver

    Silver Dirtnewb

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,294
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    We'll start with day one. 150-200 miles. Going to go 175, but for more good road you can shoot up 23 further and then come back down to add some extra miles.

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=embed&saddr=Hot+Springs,+AR&daddr=++34.849875,-93.096771+to:Ola,+AR+to:AR-309,+Arkansas+to:AR-23+to:I-40+W+to:Oark,+Arkansas&hl=en&geocode=%3B%3BFVWGGAI++dVttr-g%3BFcBDGgIdi2Nq-g%3BFfRTHgIdZ9Bn-g%3BFZjyHQIdKlpo-g%3B&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=10&via=1,4,5&sspn=0.861863,1.785278&ie=UTF8&ll=35.092645,-93.42365&spn=1.19389,0.88356&output=embed" scrolling="no" width="425" frameborder="0" height="350"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map</small>
    <small>
    Click the view larger map to zoom and scroll in.

    First highway out is highway 7. I haven't run this portion but have been told it's really good, bad thing is that it's going to be packed and probably patrolled on Sat. Just take it easy and get a feel for the land and whatnot.

    Once 7 is done you'll head over to 309(magazine mountain). This road is nice and twisty, last I was on it it was pretty rough, so have fun but keep eyes open just in case. You'll get some view like...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After 309 you'll hop on 22 over to 23 which is scenic bypass highway 23, the historic pig trail. This will be pretty boring until after you pass over/under I-40, then it gets good. You'll see...

    [​IMG]

    That's not me. Also you will want to stop by Turners bend, which is right off 23 and highly visable.

    [​IMG]

    You might be hungry by now, but hang on, you're almost to Oark and the Oark cafe!! Pretty sure that the NWA guys as well as most OK guys have adopted the Oark cafe as THE place to eat if you're around there. So stop in Turner Bend and grab a sticker or a patch for the pig trail, grab a drink, then keep on going. A bit further up you'll see 215, this will take you to oark. It's also an awesome road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then once you've done lunch or whatever, head back out 215 and to Wolf Pen gap for primative camping, or to Redding a bit further west if you want a shitter and a shower.

    Once you get all set up for camp if you still want to ride, head back out 215 and to 23, then go North on 23 for all those twistys, it was rough last time I was on it but I think they have cleaned it up some. Very twisty stuff. So ride that till the twisty's run out(you'll know) and turn around and do it again, then back down 215 to camp.

    That's what I would ride for first day if I were shooting for the miles you want to lay down. You get to head out a few must rides, 309(magazine mt), 23(The Pig Trail), and 215 which is a lesser known great road. And you get to chow down at the Oark Cafe which again pretty sure all the NWA guys love as do more than a few OK guys. Oh and they serve breakfast too I guess.

    So, when does AR call me to hire me on as a tour guide. :D :ricky

    I'll bang out day two tomorrow. Still thinking about that one.

    edit: Ok map is fixed.
    </small>
    #16
  17. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    20,817
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Silver, you could be a cycle tourism spokesman for Arkansas, nice!
    #17
  18. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Leg Humper

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,238
    Location:
    East TN & West FL
    Very very nice! Thanks a lot!

    Got any ideas for the rest of the weekend?


    Big D
    #18
  19. Silver

    Silver Dirtnewb

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,294
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    YEP! Will post Sat suggested route for ya here in a while. :D:thumbup
    #19
  20. Silver

    Silver Dirtnewb

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,294
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    Proposed route for day two. Covering two of the best roads in AR.

    http://tinyurl.com/czl9ed Oark to Big flat. 484 miles. :D

    The embed thing with google maps is being stupid, so I just linked it.

    Pack up camp and head to Oark for breakfast. Yum! Then head down 103. 103 is a bit rough, and after you get down the mountain going to be boring, but with all curves, sometimes there are some straights, it's a means to an end.

    You will get on 103 this...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And more than a few of those. Once finished with 103 you'll bounce east to 21. 21 isn't as technical and will have more of the bigger sweeper variety, you'll pass the ozone burger barn which I have heard has pretty good eats but can't confirm. Probably pass this by or stop to take a picture, you got some miles to cover today. :D

    You'll get to fallsville and veer right. If you need a break hit the fallsville one stop. From when I was there last year, the owner is, ahh, eclectic hehe. Oh and if the bathroom is still out of order you'll have to use the outhouse. Yes. Outhouse.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Stay on 21 till you get to the 74 Junction, then head on 74 over to Jasper. While on 74 take a quick stop at one of the pull offs. Turn off the bike, take off your helmet, and listen to what you hear. Nothing. Nothing is what you hear. No cars, no hustle and bustle, no voices, just nature. Enjoy!

    Yay!
    [​IMG]

    Ahhhh.
    [​IMG]

    Now in Jasper keep on going on 74 till you get to 123. I've put you on 123 going North to South as it's not as hairy as going south to north. Now, 123 doesn't go batshit insane till after mt. judea. Up to that point you might be going "Well that Silver guy was full of shit" and thinking that the roads you have been on thus far have just been ok, not stellar. Well. This portion of 123 in my opinion is the very best AR has to offer. It's going to drop your jaw and make you want to call home and tell them you love them but you're now moving to AR because 123 IS. JUST. THAT. GOOD.

    [​IMG]

    At the start you'll see why North to South is the preferred route. You'll get into some crazy switch backs for a bit. Once past those it opens up a bit and you'll have some really tight fun turns. Easy though, you've got a rock wall on one side and a guard rail and serious drop off on the other. Have fun but be careful, 123 has claimed lives.

    [​IMG]

    Once out of the really tight stuff 123 opens up into a buuuuunch of 20-25mph cautionary turns. It's just down right dreamy. Once done with 123 take a quick break, shake that doo doo out of your pants leg from the line you blew but pulled back in and head on to 16. Now you have a choice. You can take 74 to 27, which I have ridden this one and it's pretty fun. Or take alt route and go down a bit and then come back up 27. I haven't ridden this route. Take yer pick.

    Stay on 27 to 14 and keep going east past big flat to 341. Along the way you'll get...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, you're at 341. In my opinion the 2nd best road in AR. Often called the Arkansas Gap, as yes, it's just that twisty. Possibility of a park ranger on the road somewhere, so keep your eyes out for anyone telling you to slow it down. Have fun, it's awesome twisty time! Oh also if you see pushmountainpics(Jack) stop in and chat for awhile, he can give ya the local lay of the land and tell ya what is going on.

    Jack
    [​IMG]

    Jack is an all around awesome guy, and a good photog to boot. Observe..
    [​IMG]

    So take a couple of passes and let him get some pictures of ya, you won't be disappointed.

    Now, what I would do is go find a place to camp. From here you have decisions. The ferry and 125? Or go ride push mountain for the rest of the day. I would find where you're going to camp, note it or set up, either or, and head back out. If you head to 125 you won't be disappointed, it's stupid twisty with elevation changes galore. My 3rd favorite road in the area. And you get to ride the ferry!

    See, I'm not kidding you, really, a ferry.
    [​IMG]

    It's free and a good picture op. From there keep on 125. Once you get past highway 160 it''ll get crazy. Ride it up and come back down. On the map I routed the return to come back down on 5, this is your choice because I haven't ridden 5 so I can't say if it's good or bad.

    Head back to where you have decided to camp. Total on route for the day is roughly 480+ miles. That should cover the whole day for you, also you get to ride what is in my opinion the 3 very best roads in the area.

    Someone else will have to chime in for camping spots though, as I've only been to blanchard spring caverns. It was a nice spot but not primitive like you were wanting. So hopefully someone knows a bit more. I'm sure there's tons of camping in the area.

    Taa Daa! :D:thumbup
    #20