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The Sylamore Scenic Byway is one of a few scenic byways in the Natural State. It’s a relaxing way to spend a weekend and take a drive together through the Ozark National Forest. It’s also a great way to get to know the beautiful state of Arkansas even more than you already do.
Even though it’s only 26.5 miles long and you could drive the entire drive in about an hour and a half, you could easily spend an entire weekend or longer. From side trips to outdoor recreation, it’s a family vacation in the making.
Driving north to south, you’ll begin your journey in the tiny town of Calico Rock. Don’t even for a second underestimate this little town. From a giant rocking chair photo opp to a history museum, you’ll find plenty of places to explore.
If you’re a history buff, the Calico Rock Museum & Visitor Center is a great place to spend a little time. Just be sure to sign the guest book when you visit. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the history of the area and people who lived in the area (including the famous outlaw Jesse James), get a good look at artifacts, and browse through local artisan wares.
Down the street sits the Printing Press Café and Ice Cream Parlor where you can enjoy a bite to eat. You can even make a reservation at the River View Hotel, a historic hotel that sits on the hill overlooking the White River.
Want to go fishing? Or maybe you’d like to spend a day floating the river in a canoe, kayak or raft. The White River is the place to be.
Driving along the Byway, you’ll come to the town of Allison where you’ll get a beautiful view of the White River. You’ll also have your choice of places to stay and eat, especially if you’ve got a hankering for catfish and hush puppies.
If the river isn’t quite your thing, there are still plenty of outdoor opportunities for you. With activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking and horseback riding, you’ll never be bored.
Stop at the OK Trading Post where you can visit the gift shop, rest on the front porch, or even go for a trail ride. They offer overnight camping trips, as well.
Into mountain biking? Take a ride on the Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail, a 50-mile interconnecting loop trail.
Take a hike along the Mirror Lake Trail or Blanchard Spring Trail in the beautiful Blanchard Springs Recreation Area. Head toward the campground, where you can camp for the night and even take a dip in the river.
While Blanchard Springs Caverns was closed by the time we arrived, we still plan on taking a trip there in the near future. They offer a few different tour options, including the Dripstone Trail, the Discovery Trail, the Discovery in the Dark Headlamp Tour, and the Wild Cave Tour.
Even if for no other reason than this, the beautiful drive is worth taking a trip on the Byway. The Ozark National Forest offers so many opportunities for solitude and gorgeous views along the way.
Just a few tips before you embark…
A trip along the Sylamore Scenic Byway is one you’ll definitely never forget!
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