Fall Rides – Talimena National Scenic Byway
- Karen Allison
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Fall in Arkansas, what better time for a motorcycle ride. Highlighting the Talimena National Scenic Byway.
Located in southeast Oklahoma, the Talimena National Scenic Byway is widely known as one of the best motorcycle rides in the state. Hit this road to enjoy the scenic drive’s abundant winding curves, beautiful scenery and rolling hills along the 54-mile stretch. Begin your adventure with a stop at Talimena State Park in Talihina, which marks the entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Byway.
Continuing on your journey down the Talimena National Scenic Byway, be prepared for sensory overload, especially in the fall when the foliage is at its peak. The surrounding Ouachita National Forest offers more than 352,000 acres of scenic vistas and hiking trails and is a great place to camp and hike after the impressive ride.
Along the drive are several historic sites and numerous turnouts with panoramic vistas. Many of the sites have exhibits that explain the natural and historical significance of the area. Learn about the prehistoric Caddoan people, early settlers of Rich Mountain, the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Choctaw Nation (tribe) in Indian Territory. Discover interesting facts about the natural environment while absorbing the beauty of shortleaf pine and hardwood forests.
In response to the popularity of ‘driving for pleasure,’ the USDA Forest service established the National Forest Scenic Byway Program in May 1988. This program promotes and recognizes highways in the 156 national forests across 44 states with outstanding scenery and historical significance.
One of the first National forest Scenic Byways, the Talimena Scenic Drive, is located in the western part of the Ouachita Mountains. The drive, designated in February 1989, is between the city limits of Mena, Arkansas and a point of US highway 271 just north of Talihina, Oklahoma.
Constructed by the Oklahoma and Arkansas Highway departments between 1964 and 1969 with federal public highway funds, the route connected two truck trails originally built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Oklahoma and Arkansas highway departments’ now maintain the byway.
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Get out and enjoy this great weather and beautiful foliage!