Riding with the Hogs in the Ozark National Forest!
The Pig Trail Scenic Byway winds through some of the prettiest country in the Arkansas Ozarks.
A 19-mile section of Arkansas Highway 23, the Pig Trail takes its name from fans of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks who use it as a short cut to football games in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoons in the fall. In addition to football fans wearing hog hats and pig noses, the scenic byway passes waterfalls, rock formations, mountain views and the popular Mulberry River.
Long before it became a popular route for Razorbacks’ fans, the Pig Trail was a winding pathway through the valleys and rolling hills of the Ozarks. It existed long before the Civil War and may have originated as a Native American or fur trapper path.
French trappers frequented this region during colonial times. In fact, the name “Ozarks” is thought to come from the aux arc or wide bend of the Arkansas River at present-day Ozark, Arkansas.
By the time of the Civil War, the path was part of a well-used road that linked Fayetteville in Northwest Arkansas with Ozark on the river. It was used by both regular Union and Confederate forces during the war, as well as by guerilla bands that hid out in the mountains to avoid capture by one side or the other. Brig. Gen. W.L. Cabell led 900 Confederates up the Pig Trail from Ozark in April 1863, but they were repulsed by Federal troops at the Battle of Fayetteville.
The Pig Trail became part of the Ozark National Forest when it was established by Presidential Proclamation on March 6, 1908. As the tourism potential of the forest grew and people began flocking to the region to admire the beautiful mountains, the 19 mile section from
just north of Ozark to Brashears was designated a scenic byway by the U.S. Forest Service.
It provides access to some of the prettiest country in western Arkansas. The section between Ozark and the Mulberry River passes two pretty little waterfalls:
- Pig Trail Falls is an 18-foot waterfall on the west side of the byway just two miles south of Turner Bend and the Mulberry River. The falls are right off the shoulder of the road on a sharp bend. A pull off allows you to view them from your car or you can hop out and walk behind them for a view of the back side of a waterfall!
- The Turner Bend Waterfall is visible in the edge of the woods near the south end of the Turner Bend store parking lot. Very pretty when the water is flowing nicely, the waterfall makes for a nice stop on a warm day and can usually be heard running as soon as you step out of your car.
If you are interested in seeing some bigger falls and willing to take a bit of a hike, the High Bank Twins form unique double waterfalls near the High Bank Canoe Access. To reach them from the Pig Trail, turn east on Highway 215 just north of the Mulberry River at Cass and drive 9.2 miles to the canoe access. Park there and walk east along the shoulder of Highway 215 across a small bridge. Once over the bridge, look for a beaten path leading off to your left. Follow it across a stream with small waterfalls and a cascade of its own and keep walking until you see the High Bank Twins. They are 71-feet tall and flow best after rains and during late winter or early spring. The total walk from the parking lot at the canoe access is about 1/4 mile.
Just north of the Mulberry River, a west turn will take you to White Rock Mountain. Noted for its spectacular cliffs and views, it is easily accessed by following the signs from the Pig Trail. The mountain features incredible views, picnicking, camping, hiking, a lodge and historic cabins. Click here for more information.
The Mulberry River itself is a major destination for outdoor adventures. Designated a National Wild and Scenic River, it flows 70 miles from a source in the Ozarks to the Arkansas River. Paddlers love the Mulberry, which flows over Class I to Class III rapids. If you are into fishing, it is a great place to catch Smallmouth Bass and Green Sunfish. You can learn more at the Turner Bend website.
The Pig Trail Scenic Byway crosses the Mulberry River at Turner Bend, a popular destination for those who want to paddle the river.
Most of the 19-mile route passes through the Ozark National Forest, a region of mountains, waterfalls, rock formations and incredible scenery. Click here to visit the official U.S. Forest Service website for more information.
If motorcycles are your thing, the Pig Trail Scenic Byway is a ride that you don’t want to miss! Check out this great free video to find out why: