This is one of the most enjoyable motorcycle rides Arkansas has to offer — a wonderful short loop circling where the Ozarks meet the Ouachita Mountains. The namesake for this ride — Mount Magazine — is the highest peak in Arkansas at 2,753 feet.
The Arkansas River carved out the valley to the north of the mountain, and the Petit Jean River sculpted the one to the south. The result is that this region has become one of the premier destinations in Arkansas.
It would be a disservice to describe the 10-mile ride up AR 309 to Mount Magazine from Havana as merely dragonesque and here’s why. Besides switchbacks and tight curves, there’s huge elevation change as riders cruise up and over this wonderful geological feature.
AR 309 at Havana starts out at an elevation of about 380 feet. The first mile is fairly pedestrian, but it soon reveals its wild side. By the time the road crests at Mount Magazine, it has risen out of the Petit Jean Valley over 2,200 feet above Havana. The ride up the mountainside is full of hairpins and tight curves often running through tunnels of heavy foliage.
From the peak, AR 309 continues winding back down to about 490 feet at Paris. Together, the total elevation change is over 4,300 feet. The state park atop Mount Magazine features an impressive lodge and cabins with upscale accommodations as magnificent as the scenic views — the perfect lodging for motorcycle getaways.
The other three legs of this loop are nice runs through the Arkansas River and Petit Jean Valleys. These roads are scenic routes which go through a combination of farms and woodlands. While not as technically challenging as some of the other motorcycle rides Arkansas has to offer, these roads are pleasant and relaxing.
Courtesy of Arkansas Motorcycling