Ride the Natural State

Arkansas welcomes motorcyclists and has many activities awaiting travelers who like to ride he bikes. The State offers brochures that map routes that are most popular with bikers. This brochure is available at www.arkansas.com/outdoors/motorcycling.

According to noted travel writer, Gary McKenie, Arkansas is one area that he has added to his “Great American Motorcycle Tours.” There are numerous reasons that Arkansas rates high with motorcycle enthusiasts. The scenic vistas, the forests, rivers, and streams, and the friendliness of the people are some of the prevailing factors that make Arkansas a key site for the rider.

Some of the more popular rides are on Scenic Arkansas Highway 7, which goes from Hot Springs to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This route is scenic with hilly terrain, dotted with Lakes and rivers.

When any biker arrives in Hot Springs, he/she has entered a historic city. Shopping, dining, and a State Park is waiting for touring. If a biker comes to the Natural State in the months of January to April, the thoroughbred race track is open. Oaklawn Park offers video poker, electronic blackjack, and other games of chance year round, along with the racing card from January to April. The track is famous for corned beef sandwiches, and some of the most popular horses race. Information on this gaming facility can be found at www.oaklawn.com.

Garvan Woodland Gardens is a place to see animals, birds, and native plants. Daffodil Days begin February 21 through March 10, where 165,000 daffodils bloom.

Bathhouse Row is a downtown “must see.” After a long ride, a leisurely spa treatment is a luxury. These bathhouses use the waters from the hot springs that surround the downtown area. Drinking water from the large water fountain in the center of downtown is a healthful experience. Mountain Valley Spring Water has its headquarters in downtown. They offered bottled water, before the bottles became the rage. A tour of the headquarters offers visitors insight to the claims of healing, etc., experienced by the water drinkers. There is a unique museum and gift shop located there.

This city has been declared America’s First Resort, since many came to the city for the natural thermal waters that flowed here over a century ago. Eateries and lodging are available throughout the town. There are small bed and breakfast inns, several large hotels, and many fine motels. Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Embassy Suites are just a few of the more popular selections. Lodging begins at $75 to $130.

As a rider continues on Arkansas 7 to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, small towns are scattered along the way. The local general store, in each of the small towns, offer a chance to meet the locals, along with a good handmade sandwich and a soda.

In Eureka Springs, the biker is met with another historic city. The city is hilly, dotted with rows of unusual shops, restaurants, and coffee shops. The Great Passion Play is presented from May 1 to October 24Th annually. The Bible Land surrounds the passion play area, where gardens, artisans, and play actors and animals tour the grounds. A cafeteria style dining experience awaits the traveler.

The large Christ of the Ozarks statue sits on Passion Play Road. It is seven stories above Majestic Mountain and weighs more than 500 tons. It can be seen for miles, with its 65 feet outstretched arms.

Thorncrown Chapel is another site to see. The glass and wood edifice stands amidst the Arkansas woods. Sitting in the chapel offers solace after a long drive through the hilly terrain of the city of Eureka Springs.

No trip to Eureka Springs is complete, without a tour of the Crescent Hotel. This elegant Victorian hotel is said to have been haunted, and ghosts still walk on the top floor. There are tours, conducted in the dead of the night, for visitors to seize the chance to see the ghost walking along the top floor. Carriage rides can be traded for the motorcycle at this location. These rides take you through Eureka Springs, with a guide to explain the history of the region. There are bus tours, also, that outline the history of the town.

There are many great places to stay in the town. Bed and Breakfast Inns, along with quaint privately owned motels, and franchise motels are open year round. Rates range from $48 to $189.

Another biker tour is through the town of Harrison, Arkansas. There is a map available through the Harrison Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, which outlines the definite route.

There are other biker friendly towns in Arkansas. They are Fayetteville and Mountain View, Arkansas. These towns are characterized as biker friendly in the state’s “Let’s Ride” brochure, and the Motorcycling News E-letter, available from the www.arkansas.com/outdoors/motorcycling website.

There are many activities that cater to the motorcyclists in the State. Bikes, Blues and Barbecue is one such event held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Wild Hog Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival in Helena, Arkansas is another gathering for motorcyclists. Dogpatch Biker Bash in Harrison, Arkansas, is a large gathering for motorcyclists. Arkansas H.O.G. Rally is another popular gathering.

If you always wanted to ride, but do not have a bike, there are motorcycle rental places located in the State.
Eagle Rider of Central Arkansas in Cabot, Arkansas, and Pig Trail Harley Davidson/Buell located in Rogers, Arkansas, are only two of the bike rental places in the State. Rates depend upon the size of the bike and the length of time the bike is being used.

Motorcyclists should consider Arkansas for their next ride. Arkansas welcomes them.