Overall Route Rating
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4.34 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.34
37 Reviews

Talimena National Scenic Byway

Motorcycle Route Author

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By Guest (0 McR Points) on Feb 01, 2004

Rider Reviews

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Sooner805
October 21, 2012
The road was beautiful as always and is a great…
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morris13
2 McR Points
April 2, 2015
The Talimena Scenic Byway is a wonderful ride…
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Written Directions

This 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.

Scenery

The 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 Enjoyment

As 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 Opportunities

Access 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."

Motorcycle Road Additional info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Top Images

Talimena National Scenic Byway
Talimena National Scenic Byway
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Talimena National Scenic Byway
Talimena National Scenic Byway
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Sooner805
October 21, 2012
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Cruiser
The road was beautiful as always and is a great ride. It must be noted the the road condition on the Oklahoma side is poor. It has been repaved in spots with gravel and oil which creates a somewhat dangerous ride. Someone didn't use good judgement as the road has a large percentage of motorcycle traffic and the loose gravel is dangerous. Please use caution.
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8 riders found this road review useful
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morris13
April 2, 2015
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
The Talimena Scenic Byway is a wonderful ride heading East out of Talihina, OK on Hwy 1 transitioning into SH88 to Mena, AR. The 54 miles of good roads, excellent scenery and a combination of twisties and straightaways with a higher percentage of curves makes for an excellent ride through the Quachita National Forest! At the time of our ride, 3/30/15, the QUEEN WILHELMINA Hotel was under remodel.

WARNING: Please take note and extra caution when approaching the Eagleton Vista corner. This is about 5.4 miles West of Mena, AR. This corner is a triple threat do to its decreasing radius, negative camber and transitioning from slight uphill to downhill grade as you enter the turn.
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4 riders found this road review useful
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montmil
December 14, 2011
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
Rode the Skyway mid-week in early June of 2011.No traffic worries and plenty of opportunities to air out the Trophy. Elevation changes, beautiful views and twisties to delight any rider. What's not to like!
Booked two nights at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge -very reasonable prices and the food was terrific. We were advised by the Lodge desk to be aware of Black Bears recently seen nearby!
Recommend an eatin" stop at Pam's Hateful Hussy Cafe in Talimina OK. Great comfort food, atmosphere and pie to die for. Forget counting the calories.
Mena AR, on the other end of the Skyway, is a good rider destination. A walking tour of the downtown area will not disappoint. Popular spot for motorcyclists from around the area. Multiple eateries to choose from, too.
Fall colors attract way too many cars and motorcycles. Although the scenery is outstanding, the constant stop n' go quickly gets annoying. Distracted cage drivers on your 'six' take all the pleasure from the ride.
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3 riders found this road review useful