Route Distance: 122 miles with almost 300 curves
Gasoline Locations: Eminence, Summersville
Time Frame: 3-4 hours
Attractions on the Route: Round Spring and Cave, Aker’s Ferry and Canoe Rental, Devil’s Backbone, Montauk Springs and State Park, The Old Mill at Summersville, Alley Spring and Mill, Current River, and Jack’s Fork River with 2 scenic overlooks
The Ozark Hellbender is one curvy route to remember. Riders come from all over the world for the scenery and sweepers of Scenic Highway 19. Ozark Hellbender is also the name of a large and spooky-looking salamander that hides under rocks in the deep holes in our clear streams and is an endangered species.
Federal funds were at one time available to straighten out Highway 19. The state also purchased an extended right-of-way for this task, but with voter input it was decided to keep “The Gnarly Highway” as wild as it was.
Overall, this exciting loop will take you by several spectacular springs like Round Spring, Montauk Spring and Alley Spring and Mill that will surely thrill.
Directions: Departing from Eminence going north on HWY 19 in 13 miles you will cross the famous Current River at Round Spring. (A must-see stop!) Continue on HWY 19 north for 11 miles to HWY KK where you will take a left for 6 miles to Akers. Take a right on HWY K for 11 miles.
Make a left onto HWY E for 4 miles to HWY 119, then another left for 6 miles to Montauk State Park. You will motor by people trout fishing in the cool azure waters of the headwaters of the Current River. A restaurant is also in the middle of the park.
Departing from Montauk you head north on HWY 119 for 1.7 miles to HWY V V – take a left (beware of a couple sharp and flat curves that offer a touch of peril). In 11 miles you will come to HWY 137 where you take a left for 15 miles to HWY 17.
Turn left onto HWY 17 and travel 15 miles to HWY 106. Take a left there for 17 miles to Alley Spring and Mill (a real Ozark Gem). Continue on HWY 106 for 6 miles to Eminence.