When I told friends in family in my native Kentucky that was heading west to Oklahoma, I became very familiar with flat jokes. At the time, I believed them. But the Talimena Scenic Byway in southeast Oklahoma is the best example of how wrong that assumption was.
The far eastern stretch of Oklahoma State Highway 1 connects the towns of Talihina, OK and Mena, AR. In between the towns is over 50 miles of two-lane highway winding through the Quachita Mountains. And dotting the byway are scenic vistas offering an expansive view of some of the most beautiful land in country.
These mountains were formed by glaciers, and according to the Talimena Scenic Byway’s website , they are currently only one-third of their original height. The byway has become an extremely popular attraction during fall, where the scenic overlooks provide an opportunity to get spectacular photography of the turning of the leaves.
But there’s much more than just scenic vistas in the Quachita Mountains. There’s history in every direction.
Evidence has been found in these mountains of prehistoric campsites during the Ice Age. The Choctaw settled in the valleys after being moved from their homeland. Every town along the highways near the Quachita Mountains has a unique history, and exploring each could make for an interesting weekend getaway.