Boston Mountains Scenic Loop
|Length:||38 mi (61 km)|
|South end:||I‑40, Alma|
|North end:||I‑49, Fayetteville|
|Length:||42 mi (68 km)|
|South end:||I‑40, Alma|
|North end:||US 71, Fayetteville|
The route runs through the Boston Mountains (a subsection of The Ozarks) in Arkansas for 38 miles (61 km) in Crawford and Washington Counties. The route begins at Alma and runs north to Fayetteville. The route includes the Bobby Hopper Tunnel, the only tunnel in Arkansas. This portion of I-49 was completed in 1999, when it was part of I-540, to bypass the aging US 71.
Also part of the loop, 42 miles (68 km) of US 71 is designated as part of the route. The US 71 segment allows the traveler to go at their own pace through the area. There are many areas to stop and explore along the US 71 segment, opposed to the bustling interstate segment. The route also passes through a number of small towns that the interstate bypasses. It also begins in Alma and ends in Fayetteville.
Points of interest
- Devil's Den State Park
- Beaver Lake
- Butterfield Overland Mail
- Lake Fort Smith State Park
- Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
- Fort Smith National Historic Site
- Van Buren Historic District
- Ozark Highlands Trail
- Pea Ridge National Military Park
- Buffalo National River
- Ozark National Forest
- White Rock Mountain Recreation Area
- Lake Wedington Recreation Area
- University of Arkansas
The first routes through the area were Native American Trails, later formalized into the Ozark Highlands Trails. These rough roads became obsolete with the establishment of the Butterfield Overland Mail, a stagecoach route from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California that traversed the Boston Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. This route has been preserved in part as Arkansas Highway 265 and is well marked throughout Fayetteville and other Northwest Arkansas cities. US 71 replaced the stagecoach route when the United States Numbered Highways system came to Arkansas in 1926.
U.S. Route 71 in conjunction with Arkansas Highway 23 served the Northwest Arkansas area for many years, but as the area grew the routes became congested. The need for a limited-access highway became apparent, and Interstate 49 was completed through the area by 1999.
- Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. AHTD Crawford County map Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
- Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. AHTD Washington County map Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
- "Boston Mountains Scenic Loop/U.S. 71 and I-49." Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Drive Profile. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
- Media related to Boston Mountains Scenic Loop at Wikimedia Commons
- Boston Mountains Scenic Loop on Arkansashighways.com