Arkansas State Highway 7

Arkansas Hwy 7Arkansas is full of twisty roads with great vistas and even greater trails that shoot off from the road. One such scenic drive that’s considered one of the nation’s best is Arkansas State Highway 7 that runs from the Missouri border to the Louisiana border, through the Ozark-St Francis National Forest and the Ouachita National Forest, running from Harrison to El Dorado.

The road is worth enjoying just as a drive, though it’ll take you some time to travel from one end to the other—a recent trip from Dardanelle to Hot Springs took us almost an hour and a half for just roughly 45 miles of twisty blind curves and breathtaking vistas of the Ouachita Mountains. While on this trip we encountered some icy conditions that resulted in some really awesome photographs, the drive is beautiful all year — spring flowers, autumn foliage, and all

One hike with a basecamp right on 7 that’s not too far from Fayetteville is 28 miles south of Jasper. The Fairview Recreation Area has primitive campsites and access to drinking water for $7 per day for each site. Water is available starting April 1st until October 31st. The main attraction is access to the Ozark Highlands Trail. The Ozark Highlands Trail is a 218 mile long trail that starts in Lake Forth Smith State Park and ends at the opposite end of the Buffalo River.

Our suggested itinerary for the area is to spend a day driving from Fayetteville to Jasper and exploring the way. Take the back roads to really see the natural beauty of the area — you don’t see much from 412.

Once in Jasper, make sure to check out the Ozark Café and fuel up on some delicious food in a historical setting. Head south on highway 7 for around 28 miles until you see the campsite on the right. Set up camp and enjoy a night in the backwoods of Arkansas. The next morning, take a long hike along the Ozarks Highlands Trail and experience part of the longest trail in Arkansas. If you’re looking  for good maps of the area, we have great ones at Uncle Sam’s that you can use to plan out a hike.

Another option is to hop in your car for a quick 7 mile drive down to Hwy 16 where you can find the trailhead for Pedestal Rocks, a truly breathtaking hike with rock formations you won’t find elsewhere.

Before heading out, make sure to stop by Uncle Sam’s for all your gear and trail map needs.

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