TT-East 2017: Autumn in the Ozarks
Monday, October 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM - Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:30 PM
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Join us for the 17th annual TT-East as we seek out new areas and head into the Interior Highlands to see the beauty and drive the wonderful roads of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Autumn in the Ozarks in one word can be described as breathtaking. As the warm temperatures of summer begin to drift away, cooler evenings and the changing leaves on the mountains are a welcome change of scenery. Fall in the Ozarks is a feast for the eyes. Rich colors of the yellow Hickory, the orange Sassafrass, red Maples and purple Sweetgum trees bring travelers from all across the region to observe nature’s beauty.
We will spend day one in Missouri traveling through the the Mark Twain National Forest and along the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. We'll enter the Ozarks by way of the St Francois Mountains and the highest point in Missouri at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. After a brief stop at the top of Missouri we'll descend into the Mark Twain National Forest.
Noted for its beautiful scenic qualities, Mark Twain National Forest lies mostly within the Ozark Plateau. It's dotted with remnant hills from one of the country's oldest mountains, the Ozarks. Landscapes here range from gently rolling plains to heavily dissected areas with deep sinuous valleys containing clear, cool, spring-fed rivers and streams. Exposed rock and open glades add visual interest in many areas, and the fall color is vivid - the oaks, sweetgum, and sugar maple put on a show of yellow, orange, and red.
Before we leave the forest we will stop for a picnic lunch overlooking Dillard Mill. A red mill set on the blue waters of Huzzah Creek is as pretty a picture as there is in Missouri, and that’s the setting for Dillard Mill State Historic Site. The site interprets one of the state’s best-preserved gristmills, completed in 1908.
In addition to the great roads through the forest, cutting straight through the scenic landscape north to south is Highway 19, which was built in the 1930s by laborers using picks, shovels, axes, saws and teams of oxen and mules. The route followed the ridges of the hills, with steep drop-offs beyond the shoulders in many stretches. Federal funds once were available to straighten the gnarly highway, but those plans were voted down. Designated a scenic highway, 19 now is a delight for motorcyclists, sports car enthusiasts and any driver who relishes a challenging, backcountry road.
The day will conclude with a stop at the Rocky Falls Shut-In before we end the first day in Poplar Bluff. Rocky Falls is one of the finest examples of this geology in the state. A shut-in is formed when a stream encounters tough igneous rock. While water can easily wear down limestone or other sedimentary rocks, it meets its match in the highly resistant brown, pink and purple porphyry that are remnants of ancient volcanic activity. The result is a dramatic and musical water show, which in this case is as much a waterfall as a shut-in. Rocky Creek cascades 40 feet down the rock, finally finding freedom in a wide pool of cold, clear water that is an excellent if little-known swimming hole.
On Tuesday we will leave Missouri and head into Arkansas where we will be welcomed by the beauty of Mammoth Spring State Park. Mammoth Spring is Arkansas's largest spring and the second largest spring in the Ozark Mountains. A National Natural Landmark, the spring flows nine million gallons of water hourly. Forming a scenic 10-acre lake, it then flows south as the Spring River, a popular Ozark trout and float stream.
The serenity of the spring will soon be shattered as we make our way towards Mountain View and Mountain Home where the hundreds of high speed turns, tight 180 degree turns, and sheer mountain cut outs of AR-9 and Push Mountain Road await. We'll then stop to catch our breath at Bull Shoals Dam.
Bull Shoals-White River State Park is situated where the White River and Bull Shoals Lake meet at Bull Shoals Dam. At 45,440 acres, Bull Shoals Lake is Arkansas's largest lake. Its waters stretch along Arkansas's northern border and into southern Missouri. On a high point above the dam, the park visitor center offers sweeping views of the river, lake, and dam.
We'll spend the rest of the day traveling on wonderful highways running through rural farm land and woodlands until we end the day at Eureka Springs.
Secluded and peaceful with winding mountainside streets, Eureka Springs, Arkansas has a flair like no other town. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Eureka Springs as one of its "Dozen Distinctive Destinations." The streets of this North Arkansas town are lined with extraordinary Victorian homes hugging cliffsides, and its entire downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places. Spring Street, one of the main thoroughfares, was named one of America's 10 Best Streets for 2010 by the American Planning Association. In 2014, Eureka Springs was named as having one of America's Best Main Streets by Yahoo Travel.
On Wednesday the fall color will start to fade back to green as we head into the heart of the Ozark National Forest to drive some of the finest roads that the Ozarks has to offer. Highlights include highway 123, which some people say is the best road in the state, and scenic highway 7 which has been described as having "Nearly 100 percent undiluted natural beauty along a scenic highway revealing a new perspective on a misunderstood state." by Gary McKechnie's Great American Motorcycle Tours. Sights will include the Beaver Bridge, War Eagle Mill, the "Grand Canyon of the Ozarks" and the Boxley Valley which is "one of those amazing places that is a spectacular drive while surrounded by big hills, open valleys, wildflowers, historic sites and wildlife".
The day will end on the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway. This unique scenic byway leads the visitor across the top of Mount Magazine, the highest mountain in Arkansas at 2,753 feet. Mount Magazine Scenic Byway and the adjoining developed forest roads provide the visitor with an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp curves and "hairpin" switchbacks leading the traveler over this flat-topped mountain.
Gracing the south bluff of Arkansas's high point, the Lodge at Mount Magazine is one of the finest Arkansas lodges and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in The Natural State. With its sweeping views of the Petit Jean River Valley and distant Blue Mountain Lake, lodging in this mountaintop resort combines a majestic natural setting with first-class amenities.
The next morning after we descend Mount Magazine and check out some of the surrounding twisties, we'll travel up Petit Jean mountain to the first state park in Arkansas where we'll stop at the vintage car museum and have lunch overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon in the beautiful dining room at Mather Lodge, the only lodge built in Arkansas by the Civilian Conservation Corp. After lunch more great roads and another great park await as we head over to Hot Springs National Park and it's famous bathhouse row. After a stop in the park and a drive on it's scenic mountain roads we'll make our way to our final destination at DeGray Lake Resort State Park.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park is Arkansas’s only resort state park. Set in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains and nestled along the north shore of 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, one of the region’s five Diamond Lakes known for their crystal clear waters, DeGray offers all the outdoor adventure and quality of an Arkansas State Park combined with resort class amenities. The park’s dominant facility, DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge, sits on its own island and offers guests spectacular views of the distant mountains and DeGray Lake itself.
The week will wind to a close with a drive along the Talimena National Scenic Byway. This drive winds along the crest of Rich Mountain (Arkansas's second highest peak) and Winding Stair Mountain in the Ouachita National Forest showcasing some of the most breathtaking vistas Arkansas and Oklahoma have to offer.
Great people, great cars, and great roads is what makes TT-East the special event that it is. Please join us for the 17th annual TT-East so you can experience it for yourself. TT-East, by drivers for drivers.
Full week registration is limited to 15 cars. Part week registration requests will be handled on a case by case basis.
Be sure to visit us on facebook at http://facebook.com/GoToTTEast.
Past Road Trip Event Coverage:
TT-East 2010: Blue Ridge Parkway
TT-East 2011: Fall Tour of the Catskills and Adirondacks
TT-East 2012: Backroads Tour of the Southern Appalachians
TT-East 2014: Tour of Southeast Ohio, The Eastern Highlands of Kentucky, and Western North Carolina (Video)
TT-East 2016: Devils, Dragons, Snakes & Shiners (Video)
Length of days
Before registering, make sure you read the event schedule and fully understand how long the days are. If you are unsure that you have the stamina to spend 8-10 hours on the road per day, make sure you bring a guest that you can share the driving with. Extending scheduled stops or taking extra rest breaks to accommodate individuals who are not prepared is not possible.
Explanation of fees & Cancellation Policy
The registration price covers the cost of lunch for Mon & Wed, event materials and payment processing fees; refunds can only be given up until 9/23/2017. A 10% processing fee will be deducted from all refunds. TT-East is a non-profit event; any remaining funds will be donated to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
(All times are approximate)
|Sunday - St. Louis, MO|
|5:45||6:00||Early Check-in - Hampton Inn St. Louis-Downtown (At the Gateway Arch)|
|6:30||Optional Dinner - TBD|
|Monday - 375 miles|
|8:00||8:30||Check-in & Drivers Meeting - Hampton Inn St. Louis-Downtown
|10:30||10:45||Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Middlebrook, MO
|12:45||1:15||Lunch - Dillard Mill State Historic Site, Davisville, MO|
|2:00||2:15||Fuel Stop - Salem, MO|
|3:30||4:00||Rocky Falls, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Winona, MO
|6:00||Arrive: Hampton Inn, Poplar Bluff, MO
|Tuesday - 335 miles|
|10:00||10:15||Mammoth Spring State Park, Mammoth Spring, AR|
|12:00||1:15||Lunch - Mountain View, AR|
|3:00||3:30||Bull Shoals Dam, White River State Park, Bull Shoals, AR|
|4:45||5:00||Fuel Stop - Hollister, MO|
|6:15||Arrive: Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, AR|
|Wednesday - 295 miles|
|10:10||10:30||War Eagle Mill, Rogers, AR|
|12:30||1:30||Lunch - Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca, AR|
|2:30||2:45||Grand Canyon of the Ozarks Overlook, Jasper, AR
|4:30||5:00||Fuel Stop - Clarksville, AR|
|6:00||Arrive: Mount Magazine State Park, Paris, AR
|Thursday - 210 miles|
|11:15||2:45||Petit Jean State Park, Morriton, AR|
|4:15||4:45||Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, AR|
|5:30||5:45||Fuel Stop - Bismarck, AR (Optional)
|6:00||Arrive: DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck, AR
|Friday - Bismarck, AR|
|All||Day||On Your Own|
|9:30||6:00||Optional Drive - Talimena Scenic Byway (310 miles)
|7:30||Final Dinner - DeGray Lake|