Saturday, September 12, 2009
Scenic Highway 7 Named one of Nation's Best Fall Drives
Scenic Highway 7, which leads from Louisiana all the way up through Arkansas to near the Missouri line, was listed in a report on Yahoo this week as one of the best drives in America for seeing fall colors.
Sometimes I agree with these lists and sometimes I don't, but in this case they definitely hit the nail on the head. Scenic 7 is one of the most beautiful drives in America. It also passes numerous historic sites and sections of it figure prominently in the Civil War history of Arkansas.
The section of the highway that leads through Hot Springs, for example, follows the same route that General Thayer's troops followed in 1864 as they marched south from Fort Smith to join in the Red River Campaign. Soldiers taking part in this march described passing the famed Hot Springs of the Ouachita and noted how the area, already a popular resort by that time, had been abandoned due to the war.
The drive crosses the Arkansas River at Dardanelle, scene of heavy fighting during the war. From there it leads north into the Ozarks, which were the domain of the guerrilla bands and "mountain Feds." The drive provides a great chance to see the scenery where these groups hid out and operated during the Civil War.
To learn more about the drive itself, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/scenic7.