Talimena National Scenic Byway

Motorcycle trip to Talimena National Scenic Byway

Admiring beautiful autumn scenery on your motorcycle is one of the perks of being a motorcyclist in the fall months. If you’re looking for a motorcycle ride that shows off some of the most beautiful fall views in the country, you’ll want to ride the Talimena National Scenic Byway. 

This byway is located in southeast Oklahoma and western Arkansas and features breathtaking views of hills, valleys, and autumn landscapes. Read on to learn more about taking a Talimena National Scenic Byway motorcycle ride. 

What Is the Talimena National Scenic Byway?

The Talimena National Scenic Byway is a portion of Oklahoma Highway-1 and Arkansas Highway-88 that spans 54 miles total. This byway crosses the border between Oklahoma and Arkansas, offering views and attractions in both states. 

The America’s Byway Program designated this stretch of road a National Scenic Byway in 2005. The route passes alongside the Ouachita National Forest and the Ouachita Mountain range, providing beautiful views of both natural areas. This drive is especially pretty in the fall, when the trees along the route have begun changing colors. 

The Talimena National Scenic Byway reaches an elevation of 2,681 feet, passing along some of the highest peaks of the Winding Stair Mountains. It also features 22 scenic pull-offs and numerous hiking trail entrances into the Ouachita National Forest. 

Many consider the Talimena National Scenic Byway one of the most beautiful byways in the country. 

Riding the Byway On Your Motorcycle

If you’re looking to take a Talimena National Scenic Byway motorcycle trip, you can access the byway from a few different directions. However, we recommend beginning the byway in Arkansas, then traveling west into Oklahoma. 

Here are the steps to access the byway from the east:

  1. Head north on AR-88 near Mena. 
  2. Continue onto OK-1 once you cross the state border. 
  3. End the route at the junction of OK-1 and US-271. 

This route should take around an hour and 15 minutes to navigate on your motorcycle without stops. However, we highly recommend stopping at at least a few of the 22 scenic vistas along the way. 

There are also several rest stops along the way where you can stretch your legs, purchase vending machine snacks, and use the facilities. However, there are no gas stations along the Talimena National Scenic Byway. You’ll need to fuel up before you leave. 

Attractions Near the Byway

If you enjoy spending time in nature, you can take a few detours along the Talimena National Scenic Byway to explore the beautiful scenery around western Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. Here are three attractions you won’t want to miss near this byway:

Talimena State Park 

Talimena State Park is a beautiful Oklahoma state park that marks the western entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Byway. This park encompasses 20 acres of eastern Oklahoma countryside and natural scenery, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and viewing wildlife. 

We highly recommend stopping at this park for an hour or two at the beginning or end of your Talimena National Scenic Byway motorcycle trip. 

Ouachita National Forest

Much of the Talimena National Scenic Byway borders the Ouachita National Forest. This vast national forest covers 1.8 million acres in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, offering fantastic views of mountains, geological features, forests, creeks, and other natural attractions. 

Cedar Lake Recreation Area

Cedar Lake Recreation Area is a park encompassing an 86-acre lake in Hodgen, OK. This recreation area features beautiful lake and mountain views, campsites, hiking trails, and Oklahoma scenery. 

Cedar Lake is positioned within the Ouachita National Forest grounds, allowing you to access this lake from a quick detour on your Talimena National Scenic Byway motorcycle tour. 

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