Arkansas, March 2010: Grandview Loop

On my second day in Arkansas I stuck pretty close to home. From holiday Island, I took Highway 187 east to Highway 23. 187 wasn’t bad, but 23 carries quite a bit of traffic, as it’s the only through road for miles. Unfortunately, I had to be on it for about a mile-and-a-half, there was no way around it. Of course, the road is narrow, and winding, and there’s no shoulder. I pulled over into a driveway once to let traffic pass, but some jerk in a pickup truck had to honk and yell, telling me to “get the f*** off the road”. I just waved.

Once off Highway 23, there was no traffic at all for about 8 miles of hilly gravel road through forested mountains. Very nice.

Then suddenly I was out of the trees and in rolling countryside. As much as I enjoy the scenery of the forest, I really felt at home in the open country rolling toward the town of Grandview. The town’s not much, just a couple dozen houses and closed up businesses.

From there I rolled north on Highway 143, roughly following the path of the Kings River. The traffic on this road wasn’t too bad, and the hills were pretty mellow as well. I really enjoyed this section, but eventually the road looped back west, and I was once again in the mountains (though not as steep as before).

After a nice 5-mile run, this road dumped me out onto Highway 23 again, and again, I had no choice in the matter. This time, traffic wasn’t a problem, and after about a mile I was off the highway and making my way through the ratsnest of roads criss-crossing Holiday Island. After a bit of exploring, and a few killer hills, I was back home.

38 miles, and about 3800 feet of climbing.

Some pictures form the ride:

This is an interesting arrangement. There’s a low-water crossing for vehicles, and a suspension walkbridge for foot traffic. this is on a private drive, not a main road…

A little one-room cabin atop a mountain near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Don’t think anyone lives there, but it was flying the Arkansas state flag. A little weird, sitting surrounded by trees like that, with no apparent road leading in, and yet it appears well maintained…

Pictures don’t do justice to the hilliness of the Arkansas Mountains. Generally, the really steep ones are hard to photograph, either because I don’t want to lose my momentum going uphill, or am white-knuckling it on the loose rock and curves of a steep downhill. This photo also doesn’t really reflect how steep it was, but it does give you some idea of the type of rocks on these roads, though this is a relatively “clean” section. Many roads had bigger rocks, and some were rutted, but most, like this one, were in pretty good shape.

I passed by the The Brothers & Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage Monastery northeast of Eureka Springs, AR. I was hoping for some impressive castle-like structures, but when I check it out, they were mostly just regular buildings. Still, it was lovely tranquil setting.

This is appeared to be a cheap mass-market mountain bike with a really crappy paint job, but it sported a sweet old Porteur front rack. The bike and the rack seemed to be mismatched…

The Kings River in Arkansas begins in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark National Forest and flows Northward for more than 90 miles where it empties into Table Rock Lake at the Missouri State line. This shot was taken near Grandview, Arkansas.

This is the Moreland Cemetery off highway 143 near Grandview, Arkansas.

The Kings River in Arkansas begins in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark National Forest and flows Northward for more than 90 miles where it empties into Table Rock Lake at the Missouri State line. Stoney Point Access features a large gravel bar with rocks way too loose and deep to ride across.

This is me near the river.

Back at Holiday Island, I did some wandering around, towards the end of my ramble, I came a across a wicked-steep hill. This picture shows maybe 1/8 of the hill. It was really tough, but I was able to ride it all, albeit with some traversing of the steeper sections.

Here’s the route map:

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.