Oklahoma Map

Talimena Scenic Drive

Basics
Length:
54 miles (86 km)
Time:
1 to 2 hours to drive or 5 hours to enjoy this Byway.

Description

Stretching 54 miles through eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, the Talimena Scenic Drive winds along the top of the Ouachita, Winding Stair, and Rich Mountains, providing stunning views and outdoor opportunities sure to please and interest all visitors. Enjoy one heart-stirring panorama after another as this Byway treads its way along forested mountain peaks.

Weaving its way through the Ouachita National Forest, the Byway route presents travelers with bewitching sights of the forest's natural magnificence. Visitors can partake of the route's visual wonders through scenic turnouts. Each stopping place showcases one of the Byway's scenic highlights, from copious woods of oaks and maples to meadows and valleys peppered with wildflowers.

Talimena also ambles through fascinating historical and intriguing geological locations. Explore trails that horse thieves used in the 1800s at Horsethief Springs Historical Site and Picnic Ground. While crossing the state line between Oklahoma and Arkansas, stop at the five-foot iron marker that once delineated the border between the State of Arkansas and the Choctaw Nation. Discover old tombstones and learn about Rich Mountain's settlers at Pioneer Cemetery Historic Site. Budding geologists can examine the mountain's history by observing the rock glacier at Sunset Vista, and everyone can appreciate the forest's dwarf oaks on an interpretative trail at Castle Rock Vista.

Adventurers will find a welcome outlet along Talimena Scenic Drive, which boasts access to recreation destinations through not only the Ouachita National Forest and Winding Stair National Recreation Area, but also Queen Wilhelmina State Park and Cedar Lake Recreation Area. The forest has over 700 trails for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and off-road vehicles, such as Ouachita National Recreation Trail, a 194-mile trail that traverses Ouachita National Forest. Whether you desire quiet fishing holes, energetic hiking trails, adventurous camping spots, or marvelous sightseeing views, this Byway's state and federal lands present travelers with an opportunity to relish the forest's harmonious solemnity.

Situated among the highest east-west spanning ranges in between the Rockies and the Appalachians, the Talimena Scenic Drive combines enchanting natural grace and outdoor amusements, making this drive not only a sight-pleasing pursuit but also a vacation destination everyone is sure to enjoy.

Tourism Resources

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Black Fork Mountain Wilderness Trail (AR)

The trail leads you into the wilderness and offers beautiful panoramic views in every direction. A day hiker or an overnight backpacker may enjoy spectacular views of Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Rich Mountain Fire Tower, and the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The trail traverses historic sites dating from the late 1800s to 1940 where pioneers once settled. The trail also features unusual geology and vegetation.

Directions

From Mena, AR go 4 miles on Hwy 71 north to Acorn. At Acorn, take Hwy 270 west 6 miles to the trailhead.

Black Fork Mountain Wilderness Trail (OK)

The trail leads you into the wilderness and offers beautiful panoramic views in every direction. A day hiker or an overnight backpacker may enjoy spectacular views of Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Rich Mountain Fire Tower, and the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The trail traverses historic sites dating from the late 1800s to 1940 where pioneers once settled. The trail also features unusual geology and vegetation.

Directions

From Mena, AR go 4 miles on Hwy 71 north to Acorn. At Acorn, take Hwy 270 west 6 miles to the trailhead.

East End Visitor Information Station (AR)

The East End Visitor Information Station (VIS) is located 4 miles from the US Highway 71 junction and serves as the eastern gateway to the Talimena Scenic Drive. This facility offers travelers, entering or leaving the Byway, a place to rest and refresh, to receive weather reports on the Byway, to view maps and exhibits of the National Forest area, to receive a tour guide on the Byway, and to purchase gifts, t-shirts, hats, and gifts with the Byway's logo upon them.

East End Visitor Information Station (OK)

The East End Visitor Information Station (VIS) is located 4 miles from the US Highway 71 junction and serves as the eastern gateway to the Talimena Scenic Drive. This facility offers travelers, entering or leaving the Byway, a place to rest and refresh, to receive weather reports on the Byway, to view maps and exhibits of the National Forest area, to receive a tour guide on the Byway, and to purchase gifts, t-shirts, hats, and gifts with the Byway's logo upon them.

Mena (AR)

Located in the central portion of Arkansas, Mena is nestled in the Ouachita Mountains with cascading streams, bass-filled lakes and a million and a half acres of pristine national forests

Mena (OK)

Located in the central portion of Arkansas, Mena is nestled in the Ouachita Mountains with cascading streams, bass-filled lakes and a million and a half acres of pristine national forests

Ouachita National Forest - Arkansas (AR)

The Ouachita National Forest in central Arkansas covers 1.8 million acres. Headquartered in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the forest is managed for multiple uses.

Ouachita National Forest - Arkansas (OK)

The Ouachita National Forest in central Arkansas covers 1.8 million acres. Headquartered in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the forest is managed for multiple uses.

Ouachita National Recreation Trail (AR)

This trail parallels the entire length of the Talimena Scenic Drive and provides hiking and backpacking opportunities for the Byway traveler at almost any point. There are many other trail systems that intersect the Ouachita National Recreation Trail providing for a variety of loop-hike opportunities in various locations.

Ouachita National Recreation Trail (OK)

This trail parallels the entire length of the Talimena Scenic Drive and provides hiking and backpacking opportunities for the Byway traveler at almost any point. There are many other trail systems that intersect the Ouachita National Recreation Trail providing for a variety of loop-hike opportunities in various locations.

Pioneer Cemetery Historic Site (AR)

The story of the Old Pioneer Cemetery on top of Rich Mountain is a patchwork of tales and parts of tales handed down through the generations of the families who lived on the mountain.

Pioneer Cemetery Historic Site (OK)

The story of the Old Pioneer Cemetery on top of Rich Mountain is a patchwork of tales and parts of tales handed down through the generations of the families who lived on the mountain.

Queen Wilhelmina Lake Vista (AR)

An inspiring view of Queen Wilhelmina Lake, the Little River Valley, and western Mena, Arkansas.

Queen Wilhelmina Lake Vista (OK)

An inspiring view of Queen Wilhelmina Lake, the Little River Valley, and western Mena, Arkansas.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park (AR)

On top of Arkansas' second highest peak, this cloud-capped hideaway is rich in history as in scenery. In the late 1800s, a resort hostelry named Queen Wilhelmina Inn in honor of the Queen of the Netherlands was built on Rich Mountain by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad. Two inns have now replaced the original "Castle in the Sky" - the latest is the state park's focal point. The park offers lodging, restaurant, camping, interpretive programs, and gift shop.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park (OK)

On top of Arkansas' second highest peak, this cloud-capped hideaway is rich in history as in scenery. In the late 1800s, a resort hostelry named Queen Wilhelmina Inn in honor of the Queen of the Netherlands was built on Rich Mountain by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad. Two inns have now replaced the original "Castle in the Sky" - the latest is the state park's focal point. The park offers lodging, restaurant, camping, interpretive programs, and gift shop.

Rich Mountain Fire Tower (AR)

A great place to experience climbing an old fire tower and enjoy a picnic lunch on this end of the Byway.

Rich Mountain Fire Tower (OK)

A great place to experience climbing an old fire tower and enjoy a picnic lunch on this end of the Byway.

State Line Historic Site (AR)

Drug up the mountain by mules, this five-foot iron marker delineates the historic line between the Choctaw Nation and the State of Arkansas.

State Line Historic Site (OK)

Drug up the mountain by mules, this five-foot iron marker delineates the historic line between the Choctaw Nation and the State of Arkansas.

Details

Length:
54 miles (86 km)
Time:
1 to 2 hours to drive or 5 hours to enjoy this Byway.
Main Roads:
OK-1 E/OK-1 Scenic E and AR-88 E

Map + Directions

Customizable Directions


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