Looking for an easygoing, non-technical motorcycle ride through the Ozark Mountains in eastern Missouri? Maybe you’re exploring historic Route 66 southwest of St. Louis and want to put on some miles in the laid-back countryside of the Ozarks. If so, welcome to Missouri’s Lazy 8 route.
Navigating Missouri’s Lazy 8
We start our ride in St. James, Missouri, where the original Route 66 passes through town to cross over Interstate 44. Heading southwest on old Route 66, you’ll come to a traffic light at the juncture of Missouri state Routes 8 and 68 (SR 8 and SR 68). Turn left here to head east. In a little over four miles, SR 68 turns off to the right, and you’ll continue straight on SR 8 through Potosi—the southern terminus of the Wing of the Dragon—all the way to Desloge.
Lazy 8 route map
As our interactive Lazy 8 map shows, this route is easy to find and easy to follow. Use this map to plan your ride, and be sure to add your own must-see stops along with the three we highlight below.
Weather in southeastern Missouri
Three-season motorcycle riding is the norm in this region, with comfortable weather in the spring and fall with hot, humid summers. It’s always important to check the forecast before heading out for a ride—and that’s particularly true in the spring and summer in this part of the country, when severe thunderstorms can produce strong winds, hail, and even tornadoes.
To give you an idea of the weather you can expect throughout the year along the Lazy 8, here are the monthly averages for nearby St. Louis:
Terrain on Missouri’s Lazy 8
As you ride the Lazy 8, you’ll travel across the Salem Plateau, the largest foothill region between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. Expect gentle curves, rolling hills, valleys, forests, and farmland.
Motorcycle safety tips
Missouri state Road 8 is very well-maintained—but as you know, potholes and loose gravel aren’t the only hazards you can encounter on a motorcycle ride. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you ride the Lazy 8:
Be alert for wildlife. You’ll ride through farmlands and sections of the Mark Twain National Forest. In areas like this with lush forests and rolling hills, animals like deer can appear in the road with little to no warning.
Expect varying traffic levels. SR 8 passes through small towns with local traffic, and also serves as a bypass when Interstate 44 has traffic issues. You can also expect to encounter seasonal traffic, since the Ozark Mountains are known as a fall foliage motorcycle destination and go-to summer getaway spot.
Stops to make along Missouri’s Lazy 8
As you ride the 70+ miles of SR 8, you’ll find plenty of places to pull off and enjoy the scenery, along with dozens of great restaurants and even a few wineries. Here are three destinations you won’t want to miss:
Maramec Spring Park
Maramec Spring is the fifth-largest spring in Missouri—its emerald green waters flow at a rate of 100 million gallons a day. This part of Missouri is known for its many springs and caves, with its dissolvable rocks and minerals providing both the beautiful color of the water and the cave formations. Stop at the park to enjoy some hiking, fishing, or even just lunch along the bank of a spring-fed pond.
Huzzah Valley Resort
Among the top-rated river resorts in Missouri, Huzzah Valley Resort sits about 27 miles east of the start of our ride. After settling in, you can enjoy floating, rafting, and canoeing the Huzzah River—plus there are ample camping opportunities, including room for groups of riders. Huzzah Valley Resort would make a great base camp for your eastern Missouri adventures.
Mark Twain National Forest
Mark Twain National Forest covers 1.5 million acres in Missouri and provides countless outdoor recreational opportunities. Your ride will take you through a beautiful section between Steelville and Potosi, where you’ll find the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger Station.