Beginning from Fayetteville’s downtown square, this beginner friendly adventure motorcycle tour wastes no time guiding you into the forest on twisty, paved backroads and offers a quick escape to fun roads and riverside scenery.
If needed, a quick fuel stop is available on your way out of town - with the next option 50 miles down the road. Just after you hit the dirt and get into the groove you’ll be forced to stop and take in a view you can’t pass up alongside the West Fork of the White River. Next, it might feel like you’re headed back to civilization as you get a peek at scenic Highway 71 before turning back towards the hills. Keep an eye out for the creek crossing of London Creek on Wyola Road. It usually isn’t deep but can be very slippery.
From the small community of Sunset, you’ll turn onto Winfrey Valley Road and soon see an overlook of Brown Hollow hidden on your right. The road has been bench cut into the side of Henderson Mountain, with only a small row of trees between you and a steep drop into a valley. The mostly gravel but partially rocky terrain provides an exciting and dynamic ride down into Winfrey Valley – and just under 10 miles of descent!
Shepherd Springs Road is a winding gravel path leading you to Lake Fort Smith State Park, a great place for a break if your backside is calling for one. If your stomach is talking to you more than your backside, cruise down curvy Highway 71 into Mountainburg and stop at Pizza Den for tasty pizza and ice cream. Riders with small fuel tanks should consider staying on Highway 71 south to Simmons Quik Stop (note: 87 octane only) as the next fuel stop is 100 miles into the route.
From here we jump onto the famed Trans-America Trail to turn us north. Lee Creek, a popular swimming hole, is a great spot to cool down in the hot time of year. Just up the road you’ll jump back onto a narrowing gravel road. Beware the creek crossing at Cove Creek, as it can be anything from a puddle to foot peg submerging depending on the season. Once you hit pavement again, you’ll be inbound to Lincoln to top off the fuel tank and grab a burger at American Drive In. If you’re ready to head back to town you can jump on Highway 62 back to Fayetteville. But if you’re hungry for more, run up the road to play at Wedington Wildlife Management Area before settling back into the Fayetteville groove.
Our Winfrey Valley Tout route finishes back in Fayetteville’s downtown and lively entertainment district where you’ll find a large variety of popular after the ride favorites like Penguin Ed’s BBQ – serving up local BBQ since 1962 or Crisis Brewing Company – a go to for a cold brew. Pro tip: there’s a red phone by the bar that rings down to Pinguin Ed’s BBQ (just 220 ft away from Crisis) to call in pickup orders, perfect for celebrating the days ride around one of several outdoor fire tables at the brewery.
Route and photos by Will Cheek for Experience Fayetteville.