The local scenery is impressive. But the trick is knowing where to go, and how to get back without getting lost for too long. Whether you want to get off the beaten path and explore back roads, or take an easy trip down a scenic highway, whether your interests are historical, cultural, or both, we have a free map for you to follow.
Caroline Gap Tour
If you want to see the essence of the Ozarks, the way they were, and what they are now, take the Caroline Gap Tour. This series of true backwoods gravel roads is as Wild Ozarks as you can get and still call it a road! You'll see the tiny little school houses built at the turn of the century, a spring you can drink from, rolling pastures cleared from the rugged hillsides, and pioneer cemeteries. Wildflowers line both sides of the road from early spring until frost. Bears, bobcat, gray and red fox, deer, and many other animals are common here. Towering pines, classic Ozark hickory-oak-pine forests, cedar glades, and steep hills give varied habitat to birds. This is an easy drive and there are plenty of spots you can pull off the road to look around. Much of the drive passes through State and Federal land so you are welcome to explore. The drive is easy and the road good. But there are no public restrooms along the way!
Karst Scenery Drives
When you stand on City Rock Bluff you are standing on a layer of 400 million year old petrified skeletons of microscopic organisms that rises 150 feet above the White River. Here you'll see the traces of the forming forces of the Ozark karst topography. All through the White River Valley you can see these bluffs from the comfort of your vehicle, or by short easy walks. You can park your car about 200 feet from this spot. The walk to it is flat smooth rock which in itself is filled with fascinating folds and creases made countless millions of years ago.
Cultural - Historic Drives
Get a county map. Load up the cooler with beverages and a picnic. Put on comfortable clothes. Then start driving the hundreds of miles of rural Ozark Hill Country back roads. It is hard to get lost for long as all the roads are well marked. You'll see a part of America that is rarely mentioned in history books. Small farms are everywhere. The ever-present assortment of wildflowers, birds, and little creeks slipping over limestone formations, and the cattle roaming shadowed hillsides inspire one to waste unreasonable amounts of film or digital camera memory! So too will the numerous old weather-grayed buildings sagging beneath the weight of time.
Modern Day Drives
The outer limits of the City of Mountain Home show the modern Ozarks. Large farms of horses and top grade beef cattle demand expansive pastures. Numerous paved roads take you all through the area. Locals are friendly as long as you respect their fences and livestock gates. Don't climb fences and leave gates open and you'll get along just fine. If you stop to stare, pull your car safely off the road so the locals can zoom by. As you drive about you'll see modern subdivisions, beautiful picturesque homes. For added color drive just before sunset.