Culp Loop Back Country Scenic Drive
Point 35 Details
0.6 mi. between 34 & 35
County Road 74 - McCowan Ridge Road
The Information on this page is
identical to what you'll find on the Point 36 page except it's
Road Name - Baxter CR-74, McGowan
Road, FSR-1101. Not a dead end road, connects to several other Back Country Roads.
New To Driving Back Roads? -
Read Our Back
Running Culp Loop Starting at Point 35 - 16 miles
from Point 35 to Point 36
Description - The Culp Loop is like no other
back country roads on our tour. What makes this scenic drive different is it's a
mixture of public and private lands. It's part heritage, part historic, and very scenic.
You'll see small farms both old and new. And few roads put you into the spring and fall
foliage like these.
You'll drive through dense hardwood forests, tall stands of
pine, and through meadows and pastures. You'll enjoy things very small as well as enjoy
the best wide-open views of the Ozark hills. There's no restrooms, stores, or restaurants.
You'll be in remote country but never more than an hour from town.
There are many spots for birding, wildflower spotting, and
quiet wooded walks. Along classic Ozark creeks, wooded roads, and right beside the roads
where you can stop without being in the way. Where you stop and walk is up to you. Signs
tell you when you are on public property or private property.
Deciding Where To Start - Most people will
spend from two to four hours on this tour. That means you can fit it in between meals.
Between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner. Decide where you will eat after you
finish the tour. That will tell you the exit point to shoot for.
Picking A Route - Look at our tour map. Find
the green shaded roads where it says "Culp Loop". Look at Points 35, 36, and 11.
Note County roads 73, 74, and 53. (If you want to run off into deep back country also note
CR 75.) You can drive in at Point 35, drive CR 74 to Culp, pick up CR 73, and come
out at Point 36. Or you can run the reverse. Either way it is 16 miles.
You can come in from Point 11, stop to see City Rock Bluff,
then continue to Culp down CR 73 to Point 36, drive up Hwy 341 to Point 35, drive
down CR 74 back to Culp, then continue back out to Point 11.
What's On CR 74 - This is the remote
section. It also has the best views. You'll see old homesteads from 75 years ago, run
through stretches of classic Ozark hardwood forests, and tracts of tall pine trees. You'll
see active hillside cattle farms. CR 74 is one of the best spring and fall roads we've
What's On CR 73 - A historic spring, two
historic little school houses from the 1880's, settler cemeteries, three Ozark creeks, and
the historic little mill settlement called Culp. Not much is there, and that's the
beauty of it. CR 73 also is very pretty in spring and fall foliage.
What's On CR 53 - This is another scenic run
with a creek and City Rock Bluff scenic overlook. At City Rock you walk out on top of a
200 foot high bluff that's directly over the White River. You can see for several
Starting On CR 74 at Point 35 - CR 74 is aka
McGowan Road, and FSR-1101. CR 74 is part of Horse Trail D so you may see some folks on
horseback. While still on Hwy 341 you'll see it as a simple dirt road heading off into the
trees. Caroline Gap is about a
mile in from Point 35 on CR-74. The Gap has a rock overhang large enough to cover a small
herd of cattle, which it has been used for. You can't see it because of the trees. We
mention it here because most maps show Caroline Gap but don't explain what it is. For the next couple of miles you'll drive through classic Ozark hardwood
forests - red and white oak, black and red gum, sassafras, hickory, etc. The next stretch
opens up into hillside pasture. You'll be up on top of McGowan Ridge where you'll enjoy
several scenic views. At 5.8 miles in you come to the junction of CR 74 and CR 75, which
is a remote road running through the heart of the Sylamore forest. About 2 miles from the
CR 75 junction you come to a sharp turn with a beautiful view. This is Pretty Hill, which
is well named. From here you begin a steep decent down off the ridge. You're a little over
a mile from Culp. Over this next mile you'll drive a long straight stretch of road lined
by tall pine trees. This is a great area to stop and go for a stroll. As you approach Culp
you are coming downhill when you meet with the junction of CR 74 and CR 73. You'll see a
white house next to a little creek. Turn left onto CR 73 to head toward Point 36, or turn
right to head toward City Rock Bluff and Point 11 and
If You Turn Left at The Junction of CR 74
& CR 73 - 6.8 miles from here to Point 36. As you
turn onto CR 73 you'll start to see Mill Creek on your right. About 0.2 of a mile you come
to a little white church next to the creek. Across the road from the church is a large
white building which is a bible camp. This is Culp. In the early 1900's Culp had a saw
mill on Mill Creek. The mill is long gone, as are most of the other buildings that were
here about 100 years ago. Another 1.5 miles down CR
73 you'll come to a sign at CR 127 for Table Rock Community Building, established in 1889.
This was a school back in the late 1800s. It now serves as a community building, and as a
vote polling spot. You'll see the long cement tables next to the cemetery under tall pine
trees. Another 1.9 miles down CR 73 you'll come to Sneed Creek bridge. At this creek
bridge is Harris Graveyard. These little cemeteries are found all through the Sylamore
area. They are all basically family graveyards, usually with fewer than 20 graves. Right
after Sneed Creek you'll see CR 124 which dead ends on private property along the White
River. A mile further up the road you'll cross Cold Water Creek and then come to
historic McPhearson School House, which is on private property and not open to the public.
The area was once known as McPhearson, a small farming settlement active in the late
1800s. The school house is all that is left. It was in active use until the 1960's. The
white building with the tin roof is the school. One-tenth of a mile further you come to
Cold Water Spring. You have to look hard to see it. There is a small white horizontal PVC
pipe sticking out of the ground at near ground level. Flowing out of it is water coming
from deep underground. Over the last 120 years this little trickle of water was sometimes
the only water available. During droughts settlers came from miles around to collect water
for themselves and their livestock. While the spring has never gone dry that anyone can
remember, it has slowed down in the last 20 years. Deep wells are drawing down the huge
aquifers filled with glacier melt from 10,000 years ago. From here the road crosses
through farmland and hillside views for another 2 miles where you come to Point 36 at Hwy 341.
If You Turn Right at The Junction of CR 74
& CR 73 - This takes you To City Rock Bluff
in 5 miles, and Point
11 in 7.4 miles. It is
another pretty scenic run. It's more open, there's more fields, and more houses. You come
to a little creek in 0.6 of a mile from the CR 74 and CR 73 junction. This is Cataract
Creek. A mile later you come to the County Line where the road squeezes between two large
natural rock pillars. You are now in Stone County and the road now becomes Stone CR 53.
You'll soon come to another larger creek. Next to the road by this creek, named Jack's
Creek, is an abandoned block building that used to be a store. Another 0.7 you come to
City Rock Bluff. Look for the little parking lot on your left. You'll see a ring of
boulders and a rusty old sign frame. Park here, then walk past the old sign. If you have
children with you DO NOT LET THEM RUN
AHEAD! About 200 feet past the sign
is a cliff that drops 250 feet straight down into the White River. There are no safety
railings. Walk out to the edge and enjoy a panoramic view off across the Ozark hills, and
up and down the White River. When leaving City Rock Bluff you'll drive another 2.5 miles
where the road junctions with Hwy 5 at Point
11. Turning left (north)
brings you into the town of Calico Rock at Point 10
in 2 miles. Turning right (south) puts you back on the main tour loop going towards
Connections To Other Back Country
11(Hwy 5) to City Rock Bluff - 2.4 miles
From City Rock Bluff to intersection of Baxter CR 73 and CR 74 - 5 miles
From Culp to Point
36(Hwy 341) on CR 73 - 6.8 miles
From Culp to Point 35(Hwy 341) on CR 74 - 9 miles
From Point 11(Hwy 5) to Point 36(Hwy341)
through Culp via CR 73 (aka Culp Road) - 16.5 miles
To Junction of CR-75 and CR-74 From
Culp - 3.2 miles
To Junction of CR-75 and CR 74 From Point 35 - 5.8 miles
From Point 36 to Point 11going through Culp - 16.5 miles
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