Plan your getaway to one of America's first resort towns with Hot Springs Arkansas motorcycle rides as selected by REVER. Hot Springs' claim to fame is its large collection of healing natural springs. In the 1800s, visitors from around the world traveled to Hot Springs to heal their ailments. While the healing waters are no longer prescribed by doctors, the soothing bathhouses in their unique Art Deco style remain open for visitors to experience. Outside of town, the Ouachita Mountains offer stunning natural beauty and mile after mile of remote forests. Get ready to experience motorcycle rides around Hot Springs Arkansas with three routes below that have earned the REVER stamp of approval.
In this section of Arkansas, we get down and dirty with a couple ADV loops including one route in the middle of an Arkansas off-road paradise. If you don't have a dual-sport bike, we've included a paved route that will still take your breath away. Discover the best Hot Springs has to offer by downloading the REVER App. It is free to join, and you can open our hand-picked rides to see the best central Arkansas has to offer. Before you fire up your bike, be sure to check out how REVER Pro can revolutionize your rides. For just a few bucks a month, you'll unlock turn by turn navigation, points of interest and twisty roads notifications, offline maps and LiveRIDE SMS alerts and location tracking. It is the best investment you can make to guarantee a great ride every time out.
The winters in Hot Springs are pretty mild, which makes motorcycle rides in Hot Springs Arkansas a four season affair. The Ouachita Mountains can be especially wet in the spring, so make sure to pack rain gear for the occasional downpour. Hot Springs Arkansas is located in the south, so expect hot, humid days if you're planning a summer trip. One ADV route on this list, Rubicon Ridge, is challenging and should not be attempted by inexperienced riders. But don't worry, the ORV park offers trails for all skill levels so beginner riders can work on their skills. Make sure you're outfitted for the trail with ADV riding gear. Of particular note is protective gear that will keep you safe on those tricky trails in the Arkansas hills.
Hot Springs is one of America's first resort towns, and it remains a popular getaway destination to this day. The area is famous for its large collection of natural hot springs, and over a million gallons flow from these underground springs each day. The water is safe to drink, and you can even fill a bottle for yourself at one of the public water pumps. The town is centered around an area called Bathhouse Row. There are eight historic buildings on this small stretch of road, and they've all been restored to their original turn of the century style. Two bathhouses still operate as they did when first built, while the others have been converted into buildings for various other uses. Surrounding Bathhouse Row is Hot Springs National Park, which was the first parcel of land ever set aside by the federal government for recreation. Its creation even predates Yellowstone. Hike a network of shorter trails right near town, and then stay for the night with camping along Gulpha Creek. Learn more about the park on the NPS Hot Springs National Park website. The park also contains the Hot Springs Mountain Tower that allows you to see views of the Ouachita Mountains and Bathhouse Row from a height of 216 ft.
In the early 1900s, Hot Springs was a resort destination for many gangsters of the era. Al Capone was said to frequent Bathhouse Row and the Arlington Hotel often when he was in town. Today you can visit the Gangster Museum on Bathhouse Row to learn more about the era. Another institution still operating from the early days is the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Catch live horse races at the track Thursday through Sunday. Then, quench your thirst after a hard day of riding with the only brewery inside a national park – Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery. All their products are made with the natural thermal springs water. If you're a baseball fan, Hot Springs offers rich history surrounding the early days of Spring Training. In 1886, the Chicago White Stockings chose Hot Springs for the site of the first Spring Training, and soon after several MLB and Negro Leagues teams followed suit. Today you can explore the old sites on the Hot Springs Baseball Historic Trail.
Explore the northern shore of Lake Ouachita, and then ride a remote section of Ouachita National Forest on this two hour loop through central Arkansas. You'll be touring the Ouachita Mountains north of Hot Springs on this route. While the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains run north to south, the Ouachitas are one of the few mountain ranges in the US to run east to west. Begin the trip in Blue Springs just west of Hot Springs Village, AR. Head out on Highway 298 towards Fannie and Story, AR. As you cruise the winding highway, you'll see the high ridges of the Ouachita Mountains to the north. To the south, Lake Ouachita features over 700 miles of undeveloped shoreline. If you want to get off the beaten path, areas like Lena Landing and Cedar Fourche Landing offer views of the northern fingers of the lake. The Lake Ouachita is the largest in Arkansas, and it is famous for its clear waters. Divers can even spot rare lake jellyfish and sponges in its depths. You'll get another chance to see the lake at Irons Fork Recreational Area further on Highway 298. Free primitive camping is available here as well.
Once you arrive in Story, hang a right onto Highway 27 to ride north. Thread between two large mountains in the area, and then follow the road along the creek into the valley. Jet through the gentle curves in the valley as you pass through Onyx, AR. Next, gear up for another mountainous section ahead with some big sweeping curves. Soon, you'll arrive in the Fourche La Fave River Valley, and cross over the river to continue on the route through Rover, AR. A few miles north of town, take a right to follow Highway 28 towards Plainview, AR. In town there is a small diner called the Junction Cafe. Outside of Ola, AR, the route turns south onto Highway 7. Climb back into the hills past Ola Mountain for more views of the area, and then cruise back down into the next valley.
In this final stretch of the ride, you'll pass by Nimrod Dam on the Fourche La Fave. Lake Nimrod is an excellent place to pull off for a break and a relaxing ride by the dam. There are several recreation areas and campgrounds around the lake as well. Next, cross the river and ride back up into rugged country. More sweeping roads await on Highway 7 including a hairpin turn. Little Bear Lake along the way offers a fun detour into the hills off the highway. Across the road, explore a slice of local history at the Hollis CCC Camp from The Great Depression. Keep following Trace Creek along 7, and look for Deckard Mountain off to the west. Next up, stretch your legs at Ironside Spring Roadside Park to see a natural spring near the road. When you arrive in Jessieville, AR, there is a small town burger joint called The Shack along the road. Or you can finish up the loop in Blue Springs by stopping for steaks at the Blue Springs Grill.
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Venture off the beaten path with this three hour mixed pavement and dirt loop through remote Ouachita National Forest land. The Ouachita Mountains offer an easy escape for riders north of Hot Springs, and this route gets off to a bang with a long section of dirt for ADV and dual sport setups. (Note: you can substitute Main Haul Road to the south for the first section of this route if you prefer a fully-paved route.) You'll begin the ride just north of Hot Springs Village on Highway 7. Take a right onto Forest Road 132 to tackle the dirt section right off the bat. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you occupied as you tour the national forest land. Make sure you're set on fuel and breakfast before you head in as there are no services on the first part of this ride. You'll stay on Forest Road 132 for the first quarter of this ride, and it is the main dirt road through this part of the forest. If you're feeling adventurous, several offshoots from the forest road offer more engaging dirt trail opportunities. Eventually you'll reach Lake Winona, and stop to throw in a line at one of three access points for bass, crappie and catfish. At the third access point, you'll see the Lake Winona Dam and spillway. Keep heading east on Lake Winona Road from here to reach Highway 9 at Brown Lake.
When you arrive at the highway, the pavement section of this ride begins. Hang a left to head north on Highway 9. Just up the road, you'll pass by the Roland Burnham hiking trail. Make a quick stop to hike up the short trail and see the nearby cave on the creek. Pass through Williams Junction, and stay on Highway 9 towards Thornburg, AR. On the outskirts north of town, check out the Jones Family Restaurant for some small town fare on the banks of Harris Brake Lake. For an extra detour after lunch, you can loop around the lake. Otherwise, keep on heading north to Perryville, AR. There is another down home restaurant a couple blocks west from the highway called Mustang Sally's. Cruise through Perry, AR on to Oppelo, and then hang a left onto Highway 154 to ride along the Arkansas River. Gear up for a dramatic climb up the towering river bluffs. Once on top, don't miss the Petit Jean Overlook that features unforgettable views of the Arkansas River.
When you're finished at the overlook, continue west on 154 past Petit Jean Park Airport, and get ready for more scenic views along Cedar Creek. There is a lot to see here on Petit Jean Mountain Road including Cedar Falls Overlook, Bear Cave, and the Palisades Overlook. Make sure to bring your camera for the awe-inspiring views. Don't miss a solid lunch spot at the old stone Mather Lodge Restaurant if you're hungry. Get back on 154 west for more winding roads and a switchback on the way to the Petit Jean River. Cross the river at Pontoon, and then ride into Centerville, AR to take a left onto Highway 7. Roll on through Ola, AR, and take a short jaunt west to stay on Highway 7. More scenic Ouachita Mountain roads lie ahead, and you can make a stop at Nimrod Lake and Dam to stretch your legs and check out the local campgrounds. You'll finish the loop by riding back Forest Road 132 south towards Hot Springs.
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It can be quite the challenge to find quality off-road sections for ADV or dual sport bikes in some parts of the country. You either run into private land or poorly maintained trails, so it's a treat when you find a quality trail you can hit time and again. Hot Springs hides a gem of an off-road site with well-maintained trails just northeast of town at the Hot Springs ORV Park. We've selected one of the most popular routes in the park known as the Rubicon Ridge Trail. However, there is an impressive collection of additional sections to explore in the park. Each trail is rated 1 to 5 with 5 being the most difficult, and you can reference ratings on the fly with a map provided by the park. Rubicon Ridge is rated as a “4” for bikes, but the onset of a rain storm can quickly notch up the difficulty on any trail. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
To reach the park area, head east on Route 70 out of Hot Springs, and then take a left onto Mill Creek Road. The entrance to the ORV park is about 7 miles up the road. Before you hit the trail, let's cover a few park rules. There is a daily use fee, and helmets are required for bikes. The park trails close at sunset, so plan accordingly. The park is closed Tuesday and Wednesday during the week. Camping and on-site cabins are available Thursday through Sunday, and amenities like showers and restrooms are provided. For more details, visit ORVpark.com.
The Rubicon Ridge offers perhaps the best look at the rugged terrain in the area. Gear up for a whole host of off-road challenges including steep uphill and downhill sections, loose gravel and mud, large boulders in the trail and more. The Rubicon Ridge trail will take a couple hours depending on your pace. This particular road is a Jeep Badge of Honor trail, so expect to run into some 4x4 traffic now and then. When finished, check out more nearby trails, and then head back to Hot Springs for some well-deserved rest and dinner. We recommend the Ohio Club on Bathhouse Row.
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