Buffalo Island Loop-Great River Road
This route is an official loop off the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, beginning and ending at Blytheville in Mississippi County. It includes several towns in Craighead County, so it also is an easy drive from Jonesboro. The Buffalo Island loop includes the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the towns of Manila, Leachville, Monette, Caraway and Black Oak (birthplace of John Grisham and locale for his novel, "A Painted House"). Legend has it that floodwaters of the St. Francis, Little River and Big Lake once stranded a herd of buffalo on an island now occupied by these communities. Remains have been found that bear out this legend.
Directions (Click on Web Link for Map):
Depart US 61 at Blytheville via SH 18 West to Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Continue west on SH 18 through Manila to SH 77. Travel north and then west on SH 77 to Leachville. Travel south on SH 119, then west on SH 18 to Monette and south to Black Oak.
Travel south on SH 135, then east on SH 158 through Caraway, continuing to SH 77. Travel north on SH 77, then east on SH 18 to return to Blytheville, OR rejoin the Great River Road south of Blytheville at Luxora by continuing on SH 158.