Recommended Rides
 

Iron Mountain Road
Black Hills National Forest
South Dakota

17 miles, 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtails, 3 tunnels and 2 splits with spectacular views of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. It is not uncommon to see wild antelope, deer, turkey or buffalo along or on the route. Nuff said

The federal designation for Iron Mountain Road is U.S. 16A. The Iron Mountain portion of it begins at the junction of South Dakota 244, just west of the town of Keystone and ends at the junction South Dakota 36, 16 miles east of Custer.

There is food, fuel and lodging in both Keystone and Custer, as well as at one or two places along the route itself.

The road is only an hour's drive south of Sturgis, so it can be busy during Rally Week, especially in the afternoon. Iron Mountain Road is not maintained in the winter months.

 
 


Talimena Skyway
Ouachita National Forest
Oklahoma - Arkansas

The 54-mile long Talimena Skyway rides the rolling and twisted crest of Rich and Winding Stair Mountains through the Ouachita National Forest. While much of the route will support the posted speed limit of 55 mph, there are at least three sections where sharp turns and sudden changes in elevation do not: one near the junction of U.S. 259 in Oklahoma; another where the road desends into Mena and a third one about halfway between the other two. Golden Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks and Turkey Black Vultures are the most visible wildlife seen on this route, riding above the course on the strong mountain updrafts.

The route gets its name from the towns of Talihina, Oklahoma and Mena, Arkansas, which mark the western and eastern terminuses of the road. In Oklahoma, the route is designated Oklahoma 1 and in Arkansas the highway designation is Arkansas 88. Much of the route on the Oklahoma side is now a part of the Winding Stair National Recreational Area.

There are no services on the route itself, with the exception of at Queen Wilhelmina State Park on the Arkansas side, so it's not a bad idea to top off your tanks in Talihina or Mena before starting.

 
 


The Twisted Sisters
Texas

The 131-mile long Twisted Sisters follow some of the most rugged and scenic parts of Texas Hill Country in and around the upper Nueces and Frio river valleys. Several sections of the route have a distinct rollercoaster-like feel to them. While the road quality is generally good, there are numerous blind curves and not every hillside turn that deserves a guardrail gets one.

The 'Sisters' reference comes from three consecutively-numbered Farm-To-Market Roads that make up the majority of the route: FMs 335, 336 and 337. The Twisted Sisters can also be divided into the Hundred Mile Loop and the road from Leakey to Medina.

The Hundred Mile Loop begins and ends in the town of Leakey. From the center of town, take FM 337 west to Camp Wood. Turn north onto Texas 55 for a few miles and then continue north when you get to FM 335. Turn east on Texas 41, then south on FM 336 which will get you back to the northern edge of Leakey. A couple miles south on U.S. 183 closes the Loop. Or do it in reverse. The FMs are where all the excitement is. The state highways are tame.

Many people who ride the Hundred Mile Loop take FM 337 from Medina to get to Leakey. While this road is tame at first, some of the sections above Vanderpool can be quite challenging. FM 337 was voted the #1 Road to Ride by Ride Texas Magazine.

Gas up in Leakey before you start the Hundred Mile Loop, as the amenities once you leave town vary between slim and none.