- 26.5 miles (42 km)
- Take 1.5 hours to view the byway.
Ready for some down-home adventure? Want to watch outhouses cruise down the streets during the Beanfest & Great Championship Outhouse Race? Or listen to banjos and mandolins fill the night air during one of the Bluegrass Festivals? Well then, make plans to visit Mountain View, Arkansas and the nearby Sylamore Scenic Byway.
Nestled inside the southeast corner of the Ozark National Forest, Sylamore Scenic Byway will draw you into the heart of the Ozarks where you'll find lavish fall colors or sweet-smelling blossoms of dogwood and redbuds in spring. Go deeper by following hiking trails, either on foot or on horseback, and discover the brushy undergrowth teeming with wildlife. Fishers and hunters will want to obtain permits for pursuing whitetail deer throughout the forest or small-mouth bass in one of the many clear streams and lakes. Rent a kayak, or bring your own, to explore the nooks and crannies of the White River. Summer weather might find you lazily floating downstream or pitching a tent for a weekend of relaxation. Runners will want to keep a lookout for waterfalls as they dash along the North Sylamore Trail. The Ozark National Forest abounds in opportunities to get away from routine.
If you've exhausted the possibilities above ground, put on a warm jacket and head below the earth's surface for an enlightening experience with spelunking at Blanchard Springs Caverns. This "living cave" becomes a cathedral of stalactites and stalagmites with opalescent colors and deep shadows.
Get back to civilization by touring Calico Rock where the whole downtown is on the National Historic Register. Perched on rocky outcroppings, the town's mellow atmosphere will help make your entry back to city life more smooth. For a lively calendar of events, make your way south to Mountain View, home to folk music festivals and the Ozark Folk Center, where you can watch artisans hard at work or enjoy a home-cooked meal. Either way, Sylamore Scenic Byway will start you off in the right direction.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Blanchard Springs Caverns (AR)
At Blanchard Springs Caverns, visitors can enter a "living" cave where glistening speloeothems, like stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstones, are slowly changing. These crystalline formations are the result of minerals deposited by dripping water.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is administered by the US Forest Service, Sylamore Ranger District, Ozark-St. Francis National Forests. Blanchard is a three-level system, but only two levels of the caverns are open for guided tours. The first tour, the Dripstone Trail, opened in 1973, completing ten years of planning and development of the caverns. Another four years of work concluded with the opening of the second tour, the Discovery Trail.
The Dripstone Trail Tour, open year-round, shows about a half-mile of huge rooms and sparkling formations. It is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs with assistance. You must provide your own wheelchair.
The Discovery Trail Tour, open only in the summer, is longer and more strenuous. It contains the natural entrance as well as a peek at the water-filled third level of the caverns. The last part of the tour contains great flowstones and crystalline formations. This tour contains 700 stairs.
At Blanchard Springs Recreation Area near the caverns, visitors can camp, fish, swim, and enjoy crystal clear streams, a large flowing spring (12,000 gallons per minute), a small lake, and picturesque bluffs.
Ozark Folk Center State Park (AR)
Just a short distance away from Mountain View, Arkansas ("Folk music capital of the world"), the Ozark Folk Center is dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Ozark mountain folkways. This Arkansas State Park houses an old time craft village where vistors can see 20 or more pioneer crafts and skills demonstrated. A 1,025 seat theater allows vistors the chance to listen to music played as it was in the days before amplifiers and speakers.
The 80-acre complex also houses the Ozark Cultural Resource Center. Open year-round to the public, this library contains books, periodicals, photographs, sheet music and recordings that deal with the history and culture of the Ozarks. Visitors can also stroll through the Heritage Herb Garden, or attend workshops where they can learn how to play the autoharp, dulcimer, or fiddle; grow an organic herb garden, or try their hands at pottery, blacksmithing, shuckery, or one of many other pioneer skills.
Ozark National Forest (AR)
The Ozark National Forest covers 1.2 million acres, mostly in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. You'll find the tallest mountain in the State, Mount Magazine, and an incredible, living underground cave--Blanchard Springs Caverns.