Winona Auto Tour Scenic Drive

The Basics

Winona Auto Tour Scenic Drive
Jessieville, AR

Phone: (501) 984-5313 (Jessieville District Office)

Brochure: Winona Auto Tour  (courtesy USFS)

Closest Towns: Hot Springs, Jessieville, Perryville

Directions: West End: From the Jessieville Ranger Office, head North on AR Hwy 7 for approx. 6.1 miles to FR#132 on your Right.
East End: From Perryville, head South on AR Hwy9/10 for about 13.5 miles (3.2 miles South of Williams Junction) to FR#132 on your Right.

About Winona Scenic Drive

The Winona Auto Tour Scenic Drive is one of the more scenic auto tours in the Ouachita National Forest, and visits many spectacular vistas and other unique sites along its nearly 26 miles. The route travels along Forest Road #132 between AR Highway 7 north of Jessieville and AR Highway 9 south of Perryville. The route is generally traveled in a west-to-east direction.

A portion of the tour skirts the southern edge of the Flatside Wilderness, and a side trip to visit the Flatside Pinnacle is an option along this route. Lake Sylvia Recreation Area is another are that is nearby this drive, and offers another side trip. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail follows this scenic drive really close in places, and the west end of the drive is just up the road from one of the trailheads.

The tour begins at the intersection of Forest Road #132 and AR Scenic Highway 7, six miles north of Jessieville. Reset your odometer and begin here, heading East on FR#132. Keep Left/Straight at 3.7 miles, then Turn Right at 4.8 miles. At around the 6.8 mile mark, you arrive at the:

Oak Mountain Vista
Oak Mountain Vista offers views of a heavily forested oak-covered mountain to your left, and distant views of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains to your right.

As you continue along FR#132, the road swings to the north. Along the 8.0 mile mark, you will Turn Right, heading East again. Just 0.2 mile after turning right, a pull-off to your Left is your next stop:

Forked Mountain Vista
From here, you get a good distant view of Forked Mountain, and it marks the beginning of this route's passage along the edge of the Flatside Wilderness Area. Be sure to visit the Forked Mountain page and read about the mountain's legendary history!

Continuing along, you will come to an intersection at 13.3; keep Straight. Just before the 14 mile point, there will be sort of a parking area/wide spot in the road, and a small road leading off to the right just a few feet ahead, leading to the next stop. You can drive up the road on the right and go the 0.2 mile to the overlook, but it can be rough, and would probably be a good opportunity to get out and stretch and walk the short distance to visit:

Crystal Mountain
Not only does Ctystal Mountain provide a scenic view of the surrounding National Forest, but it also offers the chance to collect what is considered to be the best quality quartz crystal in the world. These white quartz veins are laced throughout many rock formations in the eastern Ouachita Mountains, and the areas around Crystal Mountain, near Mt. Ida, AR, offer some of the highest concentrations and quality of quartz to be found. Surface gathering of quartz is allowed within the National Forest, but digging does require a permit.

After visiting Crystal Mountain, continue heading East for ½ mile, and look for a small turn out on your Right. This is the:

Lake Winona Vista
This vista provides views of Lake Winona to the southeast, as well as much of its 43-square mile watershed, mostly within the Ouachita National Forest. The Forest Service is very sensitive about preserving the quality of this watershed, because this 1,240-acre clean and clear lake provides nearly 40% of the water supply for Little Rock, which is only 35 miles to the East. Lake Winona is a "fishing only" lake, to help preserve its water quality.

Heading East, our next stop along this scenic drive is at the North Fork Pinnacle Vista. At approx. 15.8, Turn Left, staying on FR#132 as it heads northeast. The Flatside Wilderness is still on your left, and now to your right is the western edge of the Chinquapin Mountain Walk-In Turkey Hunting Area. The next intersection, at 17.3, marks where we leave the Flatside Wilderness boundary, and Turn Right as we start heading back East again.

(At this intersection, you can also turn left and follow FR#94 on around to the north for 3.0 miles as a side trip to visit the Flatside Pinnacle. This should add a total of approx. 6.0 miles to your trip, so plan to adjust accordingly for odometer readings from here on out.)

Continuing from the last intersection, head East along FR#132 for 2.8 miles until you reach a small parking area on your left, with a small road/trail leading up to:

North Fork Pinnacle
With an elevation of 1,500 feet, North Fork Pinnacle offers sweepiing views in an almost 360 degree direction. As one of the highest points in the surrounding area, it is easy to see why this spot was chosen many years ago as a location for a fire lookout tower. Although now gone, its foundation is all that is left. From FR#132, it is a short but uphill hike of about ½ mile to the top, but the views are definitely worth it!

Back down at the bottom, continue heading East for 1.3 miles until you reach a 4-way intersection at approx. 21.4. Continue Straight through this intersection along FR#132. (This intersection cuts the Chinquapin Turkey Area in half, and it will now be on your left as you drive FR#132.)

(Turning Left at this intersection onto FR#152 for 1.5 miles will take you on a side trip to visit Lake Sylvia Recreation Area and campground.

Continue Straight/Left at the next intersection at 22.4 (to the right, a short distance, is the Wildcat Mountain Trailhead). From here, it is a little over 3 miles to the end of the tour at AR Highway 9. There are a couple more vistas along the last three miles, offering views down onto Lake Sylvia and all the way out to Lake Maumelle to the east.

What's Nearby

Parks & Nature
Flatside Wilderness

Hunt's Loop Trail
Lake Sylvia Loop Trails

Lake Sylvia Campground


Local Eateries

Gear & Supplies

Other Attractions
Chinquapin Mountain Walk-In Turkey Hunting Area
Flatside Pinnacle
Iron Springs Picnic Area

Towns & Cities