LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Finally, the promise of cool weather is here, the leaves are turning, and it is time to hop in the car and take in the fall colors.

The Natural State has some great destinations to enjoy fall but make your plans. Peak colors are arriving early this year and you do not want to miss the show.

In central Arkansas and want a short drive to catch the colors? Hop on the always-scenic Highway 10 between Little Rock and Lake Maumelle. The drive should take just under 30 minutes.

For a little longer drive and much more scenery, stay on Highway 10 past the lake and on to Perryville. This extra stage will add about 30 additional minutes to the trip.

West Arkansas also provides an incredible drive on the Boston Mountain Scenic Loop, running north out of Alma. Start driving Highway 71 into Fayetteville as you enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Impress your passengers by telling them Highway 71 is a former stagecoach road.

But keep going (in the road trip tradition) and take Interstate 49 south from Fayetteville. Devil’s Den state park will be on your right. This will take you back to your Alma starting point, covering roughly 81 miles.

Continue traveling the Boston Mountains with the Pig Trail Scenic Byway on Arkansas Highway 23. This will start you north of Interstate 40 above Ozark, past White Oak. This will take you north through the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. The end of the scenic byway and Hwy. 23 is almost to the White River at Brashears.

Impress your passengers that the highway is called The Pig Trail because it is the route settlers used to drive pigs to market in Ozark in the state’s early days before railroads made moving hogs easier.  

Honestly, for the scenic, you could go in any direction from Brashears, including turning around and doubling back. West would put you on Arkansas Hwy. 16 into Fayetteville, where you could take the Boston Mountain loop south.

East on 16 puts you back into the forest. A personal favorite would be east on 16 into Clinton, through Alread and Crabtree. You could keep going from there through Shirley into Mountain View, but after all that driving, head south from Clinton and get back on the Interstate at Conway. Perhaps save the Clinton to Shirley to Mountain View leg for the following weekend?