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Culp Loop Scenic Drive Tour
On Back County Roads

What You'll See - The difference between our Culp Loop Tour and all other back country roads is that the Culp Loop is a mixture of both private and forest service property. Unlike the other back country roads you'll see a mixture of open Ozark hill views, meadows, farms, and little historic sites. The Culp Loop Tour is also fabulous for fall foliage and spring redbuds and dogwoods. There are several spots on public land where you can stop for a walk, to bird, etc. You'll see plenty of wildflowers.

Food & Gas - Closest gas and snacks are at Point 38, which is about 6.5 miles down Hwy 341 from Point 35. This little store is open 7am to 5pm (winter) or 6pm (Summer) Monday - Friday, Saturdays 8am to 5pm, closed Sundays. You can drive from either Point 35 or Point 36 to Point 11 to get to Calico Rock, which is a little over 18 miles away.

The Routes - There are two back country roads on the Culp Loop Tour - CR-74 and CR-73 - connected by Hwy 341. Start at Point 35, Point 36, or Point 11. We recommend starting at Point 35. At Culp CR-74 and CR-75 intersect so direction does not matter. If you start at Point 36 just remember to reverse right and left because we describe the tour as if you started at Point 35.

City Rock Extension - You can access the Culp Loop Tour from Point 11 by going past City Rock Bluff. And of course you can go from Culp to City Rock Bluff, and on to Point 10 at Calico Rock.

Road Names - If  you go from Point 36 to Point 11 (or visa versa), it's all the same road, but there are several names for this one road. It is called Culp Road, Sugarloaf Road, and FSR 1105. Because this road runs through two counties - Baxter and Izard - it has two different county road numbers. On the Baxter County side it is CR- 73. On the Izard side it is CR-53. Then CR-74 is also known as McCowan Road and FSR 1103. No worries, we keep it all organized for you here.

How Long Is It? - Going by our map the Culp Loop Tour starts at Point 35 on Hwy 341, follows CR-74 to Culp where it intersects with CR-73, which you then follow out to Hwy 341 and join the main tour loop again at Point 36. Total distance is 16 miles. If you drive it without stopping it takes a little over an hour. Top speed on these roads will be 20mph, with average speed around 10 to 15mph. Yes, the locals will blow by you at 40mph but they have driven these roads all their lives. They know every curve, and know how to drive in loose dirt. Don't try it - it takes practice!

How To Treat Locals - The cardinal rule is don't mess with gates and fences. Don't go on private property without permission. What makes locals angry more than anything else is people who open livestock gates and don't close them. Chasing loose livestock around in this country is no fun. All the locals we have met in here are extremely friendly and helpful. Show them a little respect and consideration and they'll be a ton of fun. Finally, if you want to stop, please pull to the side of the road, or pull off, so others can get around you. And don't be alarmed if locals pull up and ask if everything is okay. It's normal for them to make sure you don't need help. Working people live on this road, and like the rest of us, they can be late for work from time to time. Stay out of their way and they'll be happy. Sometimes the old-timer farmers have time to talk, other times they don't. It depends on what's going on at the farm.

Following The Tour

What's On CR 74 - This is the remote section. It also has the best Ozark hill views. You'll see old homesteads from 125 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 found. It is a mixture of private and public property. There are several spots you can stop on public property.

Finding CR-74 - At Point 35 on Hwy 341, look for CR-74 on your right. It's just a dirt road coming out of the woods. The only sign is the little blue Baxter 74 sign. The road is wide enough for vehicles coming the other way to easily go by. The road surface tends to have a wash-board surface, but it is not rough, just noisy in places. It's 9 miles from Point 35 to Culp. CR-74 is also known as McCowan Road and FSR 1101.

On The Way To Culp - For the first two miles you'll be driving through classic Ozark hardwood forest. At about 1.3 miles you come to a saddle in the road. This spot is shown on some maps as Caroline Gap. Not far after this you break out into hill pastures which are still in use. This is the McCowan farm, still owned and operated by the McCowan Family, the settlers this road is named for. Years ago we met Mr. Jeff McCowan in this spot who was 94 at the time. He was extremely fun and interesting to talk to. His sons still operate the farm today, like Jeff did after his father passed. You'll continue along the top of this ridge enjoying Ozark hill views over pastures. At 5.8 miles you come to the intersection of CR-74 and the north end of CR-75 (aka FSR 1101). (CR-75 is the most remote of all back country roads on our map. CR-75 is the connecting road between our Culp Loop Tour and the Forest Loop.) At this intersection some maps will show the road between here and Culp as FSR 1103. In another 3.2 miles you'll come to the intersection at Culp where CR-74 meets CR-73. You'll know you're getting close to Culp when you come to a long straight stretch of sandy road lined by tall pines. We always stop here to bird for a few minutes and to listen to the wind in the pines, one of our favorite Nature sounds. At the end of this stretch you'll get a good view of Sugar Loaf Hill that's near Point 11 on our map. This view point shows on maps as Pretty Hill. The road heads down and you soon come to the intersection of CR-74 and CR-73.

Intersection At Culp - You'll know you are at Culp when you come to a white house with a tiny creek flowing past it. This is the intersection of CR-74 and CR-73. Turn left to continue the Point 11 Culp Loop Tour. Turn right to go to City Rock Bluff and Point 11. From here it is 5 miles to Point 11 at Hwy 5.

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. It is not as hilly and remote as CR-74 where you just came from. The road is wider and has more traffic.

Now Following CR-73:

Culp - This is the half-way point on the tour. Just 0.2 miles past the intersection of CR 73 and CR 74 you come to Mill Creek and Bethal Springs Menonnite Church. This tiny little white church has been here for a long time. Across the road is a much larger building, which is a bible school. This whole area, shown as Culp on maps, is an old mill settlement from the early 1900s era. The mill itself burned a long time ago.

Table Rock Church - Another 1.5 miles down CR 73 you'll come to a sign on your left at CR-127 for Table Rock Community Building, established in 1889. This was a school and church back in the late 1800s. Turn in and go see the old building, it's about 100 yards in. It now serves as a community building, and as an official voting polling spot. You'll see the long cement tables next to the cemetery under tall pine trees. An old road runs between the building and cemetery and goes down to a creek. This area is the head waters of  Mill Creek back at Culp.

Harris Cemetery - Another 1.9 miles down CR 73 you'll come to Sneed Creek bridge. At this creek bridge is Harris Graveyard on your left. These little cemeteries are found all through the Sylamore area. They are all mostly family graveyards with several generations, usually with fewer than 40 graves. Right after Sneed Creek you'll see CR 124 on your right which dead ends on private property along the White River.

Cold Water School House - A mile further up the road you'll cross Cold Water Creek and then come to historic Cold Water 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. The school was in active use until the 1960's. The white building with the tin roof is the school.

Cold Water Spring - One-tenth of a mile further you come to Cold Water Spring. You have to look hard to see it. It does not look like much, but it was a life-saver more than once for settlers. 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 water from 10,000 years ago.

Early American Ozark Life - At this point you've seen farms, churches, schools, a mill sight, and a cemetery - all of which made up an early American farm culture in the Ozarks. If you want to see what their daily life was like, pay a visit to the Ozark Folk Center where you'll enjoy live demonstrations what these hill folk did to settle and survive here.

Point 36 End Tour - From the spring the road crosses through farmland and hillside views for another 2 miles, then you come to Point 36 at Hwy 341.

Running Tour Backwards? If you came in from Point 11 past City Rock Bluff, have come to Point 36 at Hwy 341, and wish to continue the Culp Loop Tour, turn left (south) onto Hwy 341. Go about 2.5 miles and look for CR 74 (aka McGowan Road, FSR-1101) at the top of the hill on your left. For details on this leg of the Culp Loop Tour, see Point 35.

Culp Loop Tour Starting At City Rock Bluff

City Rock Bluff - Starting at Point 11 follow the directions to get to City Rock Bluff. Then, from the City Rock Bluff parking lot, continue on past City Rock Bluff away (west) from Hwy 5. At this point you are still in Stone County, so the road carries the Stone County Road Number of CR-53. At 0.7 miles down CR 53 you'll hit the Stone/Baxter county line, where the road squeezes between two large rocks. You'll see the county line signs here. Once you pass the rocks you are now on Baxter County Road 73 (CR-73), which on most maps still shows as Culp Road, or FSR 1105, or Sugarloaf Road. Only the CR number changes.

Creeks - As you drive along CR-73 you'll see several other roads branching off CR 73, but stay on CR 73. Most of the branch roads dead end. At 0.4 miles from City Rock you'll come to where two creeks flow together - both are named Jack's Creek. About 1.5 miles further you'll cross a bridge over another creek (Cataract Creek) next to an old abandoned cement block store building.

Arrive At Culp - At 2.5 miles from City Rock you come to the intersection of CR 73 and CR 74. A white house next to a little creek is at this intersection. If you turn left up the hill onto CR 74, you come to CR 75 in 3.2 miles. If you stay on CR 74 you'll come out at Point 35 in 9 miles. To continue the Culp Loop Tour stay straight and follow the directions given above from Culp.

Culp Loop Tour Mileage Chart
From Point 11 at Hwy 5 to City Rock Bluff - 2.4 miles
From City Rock Bluff to the intersection of Baxter CR 73 and CR 74 at Culp - 2.5 miles
From Culp to Point 36 on Hwy 341 via CR 73 - 6.8 miles
From Culp to Point 35 on Hwy 341 via CR 74 - 9 miles
From Point 11(Hwy 5) to Point 36 (Hwy341) through Culp via CR 73 - 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
To North End of CR 75 From Culp - 3.2 miles
To North End of CR 75 From Point 35 - 5.8 miles

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