Day Trip to Jasper, Arkansas

Jasper, Arkansas is a small mountain town that is located an hour south of Branson.  Jasper is  situated in the middle of the Ozark Mountains and in Buffalo River country.  While it’s population is itty-bitty (less than 500), you’ll find great eateries, gas stations, and sights to see.  Allow the adventurist in you to come out and explore the natural wonders of Northern Arkansas’s Jasper!

To get to Jasper, take Highway 65 south out of Branson, towards Harrison.   Be on the lookout for signs for Highway 7 (towards Jasper).  Track Highway 7 directly to Jasper for 32 miles.  Highway 7 is absolutely breathtaking with scenic view areas dotted all along the way to your destination.  Pull over and snap a selfie with the Ozark Mountains as the backdrop!

There’s a lot of great business along the city’s square.  As you enter into town and cross over the Little Buffalo River, you’ll see Yeager’s Junction Quik Stop.  Gas up and grab some snacks.  This is the best place to make sure that you and your rig are fueled up for the day!  Follow Highway 7 (the road zig zags around the city’s square) and start climbing out of the city limits.  Don’t worry!  You’ll be driving back through!

Wind further into the Ozark Mountains via Highway 7 for about two miles south of Jasper and be on the lookout for Scenic Point on your left.  Everybody out of the car!  This is the Buffalo River Canyon.  The Buffalo River is flowing through its bottom 1414 feet below Scenic Point, making it the deepest canyon in the Ozarks!

Continue south on Highway 7 for about two miles and watch for State Hwy 374 on your left.  Follow it for 8 miles to the end of the road.  Take Highway 74 to your right towards Mount Judea (but say it like “Judy”) for 12 miles.  Highway 123 will be on your right just on the outskirts of Mount Judea.  This is a twisty, curvy road with switchbacks.  Take it all low and slow!  Be looking for Sam’s Throne Campground on your right.

Sam’s Throne has a short loop trail that will take you to the scenic overlook.  You’ll be looking at the Big Creek Valley and Sam’s Throne straight out.  This area is popular for rock climbers and hikers also.  There’s an additional trail that starts in the second campsite on the right (after you pass through the gate) that is marked with yellow and white reflectors.  This 2.5 loop trail with take you to Sam’s Throne.  You have the option of climbing on top of this rock (no ropes required) but this is a very strenuous climb.  Do not attempt if you have physical limitations or are scared of heights.    Sam’s Throne is a unique experience and is loved by hikers, rock climbers, and photographers.  

Retrace your path back to Jasper for a bite to eat at Ozark Cafe.  This beautiful restaurant is situated on the square and is a favorite.  The portions are generous, the shakes are hand-dipped for you, and the fried mushrooms are HEAVENLY!  *insert angels singing*  The friendly staff is over-the-top when it comes to customer service!  Also, check with them ahead of your visit to see what live music is playing.  They have a huge stage in the restaurant that welcomes great musicians from all over the area.

With your milk shake in hand, walk down the street and pop into a few shops.  Emma’s Museum of Junk is a collector’s delight!  Dig through old photos, political memorabilia, knick-knacks, and just a great compilation of junk!  Also swing through and grab a baked good from Blue Mountain Bakery and Cafe on the square!  They also carry an assortment of local jams and jelly!

Jasper, Arkansas is teeming with life, huge views, and incredible people!  The people of Jasper share the Buffalo River area with us and keep inviting all of us back to experience the beauty of nature.  This encounter with Northern Arkansas is a great day trip out of the bustle of town and into the great outdoors!

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