2Cooleys.Com logo Ozarkmtns.Com/Foliage
Foliage Driving Tours for the South Central Ozarks

Request Free Ozarks Vacation Information
For Quick Pricing & Details On Lodging & Recreation

Keep clicking here to see more Ozarks foliage photos above
33 different photos appear at random. Click again if a photo appears twice

more photo tours of
the Ozark Mountains

Ozark Fall Foliage Information
Foliage Home Page
When Is The Peak?
Ozark Fall Foliage Photos
Best Foliage Driving Tours
Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway Driving Tour
About Ozarks Trees
Day Hike & Mountain Bike Trail
Compared: Ozarks Foliage to New England Foliage
Ozark Foliage Color - What Makes It Happen?
Photography Tips for Fall
Wildlife and Color
How We Prepare Our Reports
Reporting Area Map
 

 

Area Tourist Interests
Free Travel Information Request Form
Restaurants
Attractions
Lodging & Recreation
Local Weather

 

South Central Ozarks
Recreation & Lodging Directories
South Central Ozarks Area
White & North Fork River Area
Mountain Home Arkansas Area
Bull Shoals Lake Area
Buffalo National River
 

Press Room & Tour Leaders - Contact 2Cooleys

 

 

Ozark Foliage & Historical Driving Tours
These self-guided tours are excellent any time of the year

General Information
Routes are planned for anyone visiting Norfork Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, the White River, the North Fork River, Mountain Home, areas. If you are visiting the Buffalo National River area, you may also take these routes, but add at least two hours to your travel time. The Buffalo River has its own grand Ozark foliage display.

Each route is a circular loop so you will not need to return the way you came. Driven non-stop at the speed limits most routes will take about two to three hours to complete. However, plan on adding at least two hours for visits at destinations, stops at other attractions, and a few roadside pull- overs at view points.

Southbound routes are planned so that in any trip you can see both Bull Shoals Lake dam and Norfork Lake dam. At each dam you'll find State Parks, places to pull over to enjoy the views of the lakes and river gorges, and sidewalks for walking out on the dams themselves.

Purchase Arkansas and Missouri highway maps. Primary counties in northcentral Arkansas are Baxter, Marion, Boone, Izard, and Stone. Primary counties for bordering southcentral Missouri are Ozark, Howell, and Douglas.  The directions given here are for the major routes only, and do not include the shortcuts and side trips many people end up taking. The map will be well worth having. These directions are not intended to be a substitute for a map. Please use these descriptions in conjunction with a good road map!

 

scenic ozark driving tours

In the Sylamore Ozark National Forest Area - A high concentration of fun things in a small area. Small towns, scenic Ozark hills, unique shopping, Mom & Pop dining, attractions, walks and hiking, historic sites, and the beautiful Sylamore Creek
National Scenic River Corridor. Free Print & Bring maps and self-guided tours from this new 2Cooleys Directory.

 

Best Area Foliage Drives
Whether you just want to take an afternoon drive or get out "into it", either of the two destinations given below, and the roads leading to them, will serve you well. Each of these destinations are public property with easy access. You can visit both in one day since they are about 2 hours apart. Be sure to get both an Arkansas and Missouri highway map before you head out. The information below is general information only, and is not complete enough to use for driving directions. The idea here is simply giving you the destinations and their general locations.

First is the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, which is between the two towns of Mountain Home and Mountain View, Arkansas. The 130,000 acre Sylamore District borders the 17,000 acre Leatherwood Wilderness area. The Leatherwood then borders the 22,000 acre Lower Buffalo Wilderness area for a total of 169,000 acres of prime Ozark public lands.

Just outside the Sylamore District is Mountain View, Arkansas, Blanchard Spring Caverns, and the Ozark Folk Center. If you want to include fall festivals, some excellent live Bluegrass music shows, and some top-notch art and craft shopping, be sure to visit the Mountain View area. The caverns are also an excellent addition to any trip to the Sylamore. Blanchard Springs is just as spectacular above ground as under. Blanchard is an excellent picnic spot. There are hiking trails, streams, an old grist mill site, and a waterfall at Mirror Lake. Because Blanchard is in a low narrow valley foliage there will turn a good week before the ridgetops above it.

The second destination is the Glade Top Trail just a couple miles southwest of Ava, Missouri, the northern most section of our reporting area. This is a well maintained dirt road that runs along a series of high ridges. There are several scenic pullouts that give some of the best views of the Ozark Uplands. There are picnic areas and even a public restroom in the middle of nowhere at the most scenic spot on the Trail. Few spots in the Ozarks offer better fall foliage. The Glade Top will be a week ahead of our southern reporting area.

If you are visiting the Bull Shoals Lake area then drive Arkansas State Highway 14 from the Yellville area to Mountain View. Highway 14 is a beautiful Ozark drive. If you are visiting the Norfork Lake area, then Highway 5 is your choice. You can go north to Caney Mountain Conservation Area (we recommend it), or south to the Sylamore.

Tour Directions

North Bound Destinations - Ozark County Grist Mills
The destination of the north bound tours are three historic grist mills in Missouri's Ozark County, about 40 minutes north of Mountain Home, Arkansas. The combination of streams, mills, and Ozark Mountain terrain make this area a favorite fall foliage destination. Dawt mill was constructed in 1900, Hodgson Mill in 1861, and Rockbridge Mill in 1865. All three mills are within a short drive of each other. Plan on at least two hours to see all three mills. For details, click here for the Ozark County Mill Tour page.

South Bound Destinations - Ozark Folk Center & Blanchard Spring Caverns
South bound destinations are the Ozark Folk Center, and Blanchard Springs Caverns. The Folk Center is located in Mountain View, Arkansas, and the Caverns are about 15 minutes away. See blacksmithing, pottery making, and over 18 other Ozark pioneer skills and crafts. There is a good restaurant, gift shop, lodging, and live entertainment. Craftspeople explain what they are doing, how they do it, and the historical significance the activity held for Ozark pioneers. Music and dance shows are authentic Ozark traditional folk activities. In the village of Mountain View are several more craft stores, restaurants, and Ozark activities. For more details,
click here for the Ozark Folk Center page.

Blanchard Springs Caverns, just 14 miles away from the Ozark Folk Center, is "the cave discovery of the 20th century". Paved, illuminated walkways take you to stunning underground formations in this huge maze of caverns. Blanchard Springs Caverns are open daily April through October. During November through March, the caverns are closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and also on holidays.

North Bound Tour Routes

From Mountain Home / Norfork Lake
Take Hwy 5 North out of Mountain Home to Hwy 160 in Missouri. Travel East on 160 to the town of Tecumseh. To reach the Mills follow the directions given at http://www.ozarkmtns.com/milltour/. For your return trip continue East on Missouri Hwy 160 to the town of Caufield. In Caufield take Hwy 101 South through the town of Bakersfield, were shortly after you'll cross back into Arkansas and go through the town of Gamaliel (pronounced "ga-mail-ya"). Continue on Hwy 101. Shortly after you cross the long bridge over Lake Norfork you come to the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 62. Turn right (West) to return to Mountain Home.

You may also take Hwy 201 North to reach Missouri Hwy 160, where you turn East to reach Tecumseh. You can also reverse this loop on either Hwy 201 or Hwy 5.

From Bull Shoals/ Bull Shoals Lake
From Bull Shoals travel East on Hwy 178 to Hwy 5. Go North on Hwy 5 to Missouri Hwy 160, and turn East. Travel to Tecumseh. To find the mills follow directions given at http://www.ozarkmtns.com/milltour/. For your return leg travel East on Missouri 160 to the town of Caufield, where 160 intersects with Hwy 101. Take 101 South to the town of Bakersfield, where shortly after you'll cross back into Arkansas. Continue through the town of Gamaliel on Hwy 101, cross the long bridge over Lake Norfork, and you'll soon come to the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 62. Take Hwy 62 West to the center of Mountain Home. Look for an Auto Zone store on your right, and soon after a large Exxon Station on your right. At the traffic light at the Exxon Station, turn onto Hwy 5. Take Hwy 5 to the town of Midway 6 miles outside of Mountain Home. At Midway is the junction of Hwy 5 and Hwy 178. Turn onto Hwy 178 and follow it all the way back to Bull Shoals Dam area.

From the White River Area
Since the White River winds through many miles of Ozark Mountains country, there are several possible starting points. To travel north into Missouri to reach the mills, you'll need to travel up Hwy 5, Hwy 201, or even Hwy 223 if you are staying in the Calico Rock area of the White River. Highway 62 intersects all three of these North bound highways, so the best thing to do is ask your lodging host for directions, or take at look at your map. If you are closer to Bull Shoals Lake, follow the route descriptions from Bull Shoals. If closer to Mountain Home or Lake Norfork, follow those route descriptions.

South Bound Tour Routes

From Bull Shoals
From Bull Shoals take Hwy 178 to the town of Flippin. At Flippin take Hwy 62 West to the town of Yellville. At Yellville take Hwy 14 South. You will be traveling toward the Buffalo National River. (A nice quick side trip is to take Hwy 268 to Buffalo Point Park.) Continue on across the Buffalo River, through the towns of Evening Shade, Harriet, and Big Flat. Just after Big Flat you will see Hwy 341, which travels north through the Ozark National Forest. At the junction of Hwy 14 and Hwy 341 you are in the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest. At this point you can cut your trip short by traveling north through the Ozark National Forest where you'll see great foliage, or continue East on to Blanchard Springs and the Ozark Folk Center.

If you want to cut your trip short here, take 341 North through the Ozark National Forest for several miles. Shortly after you cross the White River on Shedd's Bridge, you'll come to Hwy 201. Turn left (North) on Hwy 201, travel to Mountain Home, turn right onto Hwy 62 at the traffic light at the junction of Hwy 201 and Hwy 62, go through two more traffic lights on Hwy 62, and turn left onto Hwy 5 at the third light. Take Hwy 5 to Midway, which is 6 miles outside of Mountain Home, and at Midway, turn left (West) onto Hwy 178, and take it all the way back to Bull Shoals.

If you wish to continue on to the Caverns and the Folk Center, keep going on Hwy 14 toward the town of Fifty-Six. You'll see signs for Blanchard Springs Caverns, which is a great place to visit. After the side trip to the Caverns, take Hwy 87 to the town of Mountain View. Once in Mountain View follow the signs to the Ozark Folk Center. After your visit to the Folk Center, take Hwy 9 North to the town of Allison, where Hwy 9 junctions with Hwy 14 and Hwy 5. Take Hwy 5 North to the town of Calico Rock. You will be traveling through the Ozark National Forest. Stay on Hwy 5 all the way to the town of Norfork. Just outside of Norfork Hwy 5 junctions with Hwy 201. You can take either Hwy 201 or Hwy 5 to Mountain Home. The most direct route is Hwy 201.

If you want to take an extra 20 minutes for a look at Lake Norfork, the Norfork dam, a large fish hatchery, and the North Fork River gorge, just take Hwy 5 up to the little town of Salesville, which is just a few minutes away. You'll see a little store in the middle of the intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 177. It's called the "Y" Store because it is in the "Y" of the road. At the store go straight onto Hwy 177, go about 2.5 miles, and you'll see the dam. At the base of the dam, on the left, you'll see the fish hatchery. Continue up the hill to the top of the dam and you'll find a nice park. This is a great place to picnic. Across the road is access to Lake Norfork and Quarry Park. To return to Bull Shoals from the dam just take Hwy 177 back to the "Y" Store where Hwy 177 junctions with Hwy 5. Take Hwy 5 to Mountain Home.

Whether you take Hwy 5 or Hwy 201 back to Mountain Home, you will encounter your first traffic light in Mountain Home at the corner of College and 9th street. This is the junction of Hwy 5 and Hwy 201. If you came up Hwy 5, go straight at the traffic light to the next traffic light and turn right onto Hwy 62. If you came up Hwy 201, turn left, and go down to the next traffic light and turn right onto Hwy 62. Once on Hwy 62 go through two more traffic lights, then turn left (West) at the third traffic light onto Hwy 5. Go about 6 miles on Hwy 5 until you come to the little town of Midway. At Midway, turn left (West) onto Hwy 178, and take it all the way back to Bull Shoals, which is about 10 to 15 minutes away.

From Mountain Home / Lake Norfork
From Mountain Home take Hwy 5 to the town of Midway, which is 6 miles West of Mountain Home. At Midway go West on Hwy 178 all the way to Bull Shoals Lake where you'll cross the dam. On the other side of the dam you'll find a great place to park and take in the view of the lake and the White River gorge. Continue through Bull Shoals on Hwy 178 to the town of Flippin.

At Flippin take Hwy 62 West to the town of Yellville. At Yellville take Hwy 14 South. You will be traveling toward the Buffalo National River. A nice quick side trip is to take Hwy 268 to Buffalo Point Park. Continue on across the Buffalo River, through the towns of Evening Shade, Harriet, and Big Flat. Just after Big Flat you will see Hwy 341, which travels north through the Ozark National Forest. At the junction of Hwy 14 and Hwy 341 you are in the Ozark National Forest. At this point you can cut your trip short by traveling north through the Ozark National Forest where you'll see great foliage, or continue East on to Blanchard Springs and the Ozark Folk Center.

If you want to cut your trip short here, take 341 North through the Ozark National Forest for several miles. Shortly after you cross the White River on Shedd's Bridge, you'll come to Hwy 201. Turn left (North) on Hwy 201, travel to Mountain Home, turn right onto Hwy 62 at the traffic light at the junction of Hwy 201 and Hwy 62, go through two more traffic lights on Hwy 62, and turn left onto Hwy 5 at the third light. Take Hwy 5 to Midway, which is 6 miles outside of Mountain Home, and at Midway, turn left (West) onto Hwy 178, and take it all the way back to Bull Shoals.

If you wish to continue on to the Caverns and the Folk Center, keep going on Hwy 14 toward the town of Fifty-Six. You'll see signs for Blanchard Springs Caverns, which is a great place to visit. After the side trip to the Caverns, take Hwy 87 to the town of Mountain View. Once in Mountain View follow the signs to the Ozark Folk Center. After your visit to the Folk Center, take Hwy 9 North to the town of Allison, where Hwy 9 junctions with Hwy 14 and Hwy 5. Take Hwy 5 North to the town of Calico Rock. You will be traveling through the Ozark National Forest. Stay on Hwy 5 all the way to the town of Norfork. Just outside of Norfork Hwy 5 junctions with Hwy 201. You can take either Hwy 201 or Hwy 5 to Mountain Home. The most direct route is Hwy 201.

If you want to take an extra 20 minutes for a look at Lake Norfork, the Norfork dam, a large fish hatchery, and the North Fork River gorge, just take Hwy 5 up to the little town of Salesville, which is just a few minutes away. You'll see a little store in the middle of the intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 177. It's called the "Y" Store because it is in the "Y" of the road. At the store go straight onto Hwy 177, go about 2.5 miles, and you'll see the dam. At the base of the dam, on the left, you'll see the fish hatchery. Continue up the hill to the top of the dam and you'll find a nice park. Across the road is access to Lake Norfork and Quarry Park. To return to Bull Shoals from the dam just take Hwy 177 back to the "Y" Store where Hwy 177 junctions with Hwy 5. Take Hwy 5 to Mountain Home.

Whether you take Hwy 5 or Hwy 201 back to Mountain Home, you will encounter your first traffic light in Mountain Home at the corner of College and 9th street. This is the junction of Hwy 5 and Hwy 201. If you came up Hwy 5, go straight at the traffic light to the next traffic light and turn right onto Hwy 62. If you came up Hwy 201, turn left, and go down to the next traffic light and turn right onto Hwy 62. Once on Hwy 62 go through two more traffic lights, then turn left (West) at the third traffic light onto Hwy 5. Go about 6 miles on Hwy 5 until you come to the little town of Midway. At Midway, turn left (West) onto Hwy 178, and take it all the way back to Bull Shoals, which is about 10 to 15 minutes away.

From the White River
Since the White River winds through many miles of Ozark Mountains country, there are several possible starting points. To travel south to Blanchard Springs Caverns, the Ozark Folk Center, and the Ozark National Forest from points along the White River the best approach is to determine whether you are closer to Bull Shoals Lake or Norfork Lake and use the route descriptions for them. Take a look at your map, or ask your lodging host for directions. Since both southbound routes are essentially the same, you will be able to take in both lakes, regardless of what direction you travel the routes. However, be sure to reverse all turns if you travel a route backward!

Back Road Adventures
Seeing the Outback Ozarks

If you want to be more adventuresome and drive the less common roads, the Ozarks are loaded with back roads, both paved and gravel. These roads offer some truly fascinating drives. You'll see little streams, old farms, and rock formations you won't see on the main highways. HOWEVER! It is VERY easy to get lost on these roads, and cell phones don't work well back in the hills. If you go backroading make sure you are well armed with good maps! If you get lost most of the local people are friendly and will be glad to give you directions.

About the only way you can make the locals mad is if you mess with their fences and cattle gates. DO NOT climb fences or otherwise enter private property without permission. Too many people leave cattle gates open or otherwise weaken fences. The result is the cattle owners spend three days trying to locate their escaped cows out in the Ozark hills. This does not make them very happy so they get real protective of their fences and gates. Show some respect for their cows, fences, and gates, and most locals will treat you very well.

.

dot.gif (43 bytes)
1997 The Ozark Mountains Website, Inc. DBA 2Cooleys.Com. All rights reserved. No part of this presentation may be used or reproduced in any media for any reason without first obtaining written permission from Ozark Mountains Website, Inc. This includes, but is not limited to photographs, parts of   photographs, and all text. For use fees and use permission phone 870-491-5751. The act of using any photograph, or any part of any photograph, or any text in this Web site, by any private or commercial party who has not first received written use permission from Ozark Mountains Website, Inc., shall automatically be construed to be an act of that party's agreement to pay a use fee of $1,000 per each use occurrence to Ozark Mountains Website, Inc.
8 9 1