After reading about the Ozark National Forest a few years ago on a motorcycle travel magazine, my wife and I decided to explore the region on our way to the Barber Vintage Festival in Leeds, Alabama. Ok, the Forest is not exactly on the way from Florida but if you like to ride, Seattle is a nice stop on the way to Chicago when departing from Texas.
We setup base camp right outside Mountain View right at the entrance of the forest and I fell in love with the place on the first day. Amazing roads, little traffic minimum law enforcement. The roads are not for the inexperienced and some are not for low hanging cruisers either. Sharp twists, one after the other requiring concentration especially if you enjoy a…er…brisker pace.
My favorite route was the one depicted here, leaving Mountain View on Hwy 5 heading north towards the forest. Make a left on Hwy 14 and you will be in mountain ridin’ heaven, crossing beautiful scenery on amazing roads. Make sure to explore the Blanchard Spring Caverns, an amazing underground world right out of a Jules Verne novel.
We were planning a shorter loop but a local biker strongly recommended us to take ferry to cross Norfolk Lake and ride Hwy 101. What a ride that was!! This rollercoaster-road takes you to a wonderful succession of blind corners and, with their apex at the top of the hump, you don’t really know where to go until you are up there (I had a GPS to tell me to go left or right so I cheated). By the time you arrive in Barkersfield, MO you are right at Don Lawson’s backyardJ. Hang right on MO567 going south and by the time we got back in Arkansas, Hwy 87 took us to US412 towards Viola. That was very busy on a Wednesday afternoon so I recommend bypassing it going directly to Hwy 223 where nice wide sweepers replace the twisties, gently directing you to Hwy 5 and Mountain View. We went back there last year, this time with a larger group getting unanimous two thumbs up.