Motorcycle Route Author
By Guest (0 McR Points) on Jan 31, 2004
Written DirectionsThis route is located in the southeast region of Oklahoma and starts in a very small town called Talihina, OK. Talihina is about 60 miles south west of Fort Smith Arkansas and located off of US Highway 271. It is not easy to find on your average printed almanac/map so the best way to find Talihina would be to click on this link to visit an electronic map of Talihina where you can zoom in and out as much as you need to to figure out where it is. The general path of this route is simple -- you are traveling east from Talihina, OK to Mena, AR. To start, just get to Talihina and head east out of town on state route 1. Stay on this same road as it crosses into Arkansas and becomes state route 8 and leads you right into Mena, AR.
SceneryThe Talimena National Scenic Byway or, for short, Talimena Drive extends west to east along the ridgeline of the Winding Stair Mountain and Rich Mountain in southeastern Oklahoma. These are the highest point in elevation between the Appalachians and the Rockies. These fifty miles are filled with sharp curves and 13% grades extending from Talihina, Oklahoma on the west end to Mena, Arkansas on the west end. There are several vistas that overlook the valleys to the north and south as well as picnic grounds along the route as well. Some of the most breathtaking scenery in Oklahoma can be found along this drive.
Another contributer added the following:"Scenery like Blue Ridge Parkway in N.C.. Road on top of Washita Mountains."
Photo contributed by visitor in Jun 09 - "Most of our pictures were taken from the back of our Harley I ride a lot with the camera around my neck so I don't miss a thing! This pic we were rounding a curve and could see the road we would be traveling on soon right next to us ... WOW it was awesome! "
Drive EnjoymentAs mentioned above, the road is filled with lots of curves, switchbacks and steep grades. The speed limit is SLOW which of course allows you to enjoy the scenery. Since the road generally only supports scenic traffic, the road conditions are less than perfect. Since you will be traveling well under the speed limit, you will probably not even notice an occasional pothole. Photo contributed by visitor in Jun 09 - "You could see the road on every mountain and knowing we would travel those roads soon was thrilling to us!"
Tourism OpportunitiesAccess can be at Talihina, OK on the west end or Mena, AR on the east end. Both of these towns offer lodging and restaurants. We usually travel from west to east, ending in Mena. The motels in Mena are accustomed to motorcycle riders and even provide towels for wiping off the dew in the morning. Along the way you will find several vistas and picnic grounds at Old Military Road and Horsethief Springs. You may also want to stop by the Kerr Nature Center which has trails and exhibits that focus on the region's native flora and fauna. The highlight stop along the way is the Queen Wilhelmina State Park and Lodge sitting high atop Rich Mountain. The park includes a lodge with 38 rooms, restaurant, gift shop, and campsites. The park and lodge are located near the east end of the drive just a few miles from Mena.Talihima State Park is also in the area for you to enjoy.
Another contributer added the following:"Camp grounds at Queen Willimina. Childrens' small train ride. Nice Lodge, several lookout spots."
Photo contributed by visitor in Jun 09 - "Our first vista stop at Talimena we seen this passion flower what a wonderful welcome to the ridge!"
Photo contributed by visitor in Jun 09 - "Kiamichi Valley Vista. This was my first trip across the Talimena Scenic Byway. It most definitely will not be my last. Very engaging ride! I'm looking forward to a fall ride."