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Arkansas

MOUNTAIN

BIKING Guide

Featuring five EPIC TRAILS, LOCAL FAVORITES and RIDE CENTERS


Table of Contents Welcome: It’s all about the ride........................................................1 Map.....................................................................................................2-3 EPIC TRAILS Ouachita National Recreation Trail................................................4-5 Womble Trail......................................................................................6-7 LOViT..................................................................................................8-9 Syllamo............................................................................................10-11 Upper Buffalo............................................................................... 12-13 Ride Centers..................................................................................14-15 LOCAL FAVORITES Northwest Arkansas Intro............................................................16 Hidden Diversity..................................................................................17 Lake Leatherwood..............................................................................18 Mount Kessler.....................................................................................19 Slaughter Pen..................................................................................... 20 Fossil Flats.......................................................................................... 21 Ben Geren........................................................................................... 22 Ouita Coal Company.......................................................................... 23 Base Camp: Northwest..................................................................... 24 Southwest Arkansas Intro........................................................... 25 Earthquake Ridge.............................................................................. 26 Cedar Glades.......................................................................................27 Iron Mountain..................................................................................... 28 Fern Hollow......................................................................................... 29 Central Arkansas Intro................................................................. 30 Enders Fault....................................................................................... 31 Camp Robinson Trails....................................................................... 32 Boyle Park........................................................................................... 33 Base Camp: Central.......................................................................... 34 Delta Intro........................................................................................ 35 Cane Creek Lake Trail....................................................................... 36 Village Creek........................................................................................37 Craighead Forest................................................................................ 38 Unique Lodging.................................................................................. 39 Additional Resources......................................................................... 40 Calendar of Events............................................................................ 41 Enders Fault, Greenbrier


It’s all about the ride With its moderate four-season climate, variety of terrain, number of trails and natural beauty at every turn, Arkansas has everything you could want in a mountain biking destination. People are not only noticing this, but officially recognizing it. Arkansas features five Epic Rides, as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), which places us tied with Colorado for second in the country behind California with seven. In addition to these impressive trails, IMBA distinguishes the cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville and Hot Springs as Ride Centers for their world-class facilities and high standards of hospitality. Northwest Arkansas has been designated the first ever Regional Ride Center by IMBA. It’s not a race, but The Natural State is well positioned as a leader in the field. We’re serious about cycling, just like you. Here in these pages and at Arkansas.com/bicycling, we’ve compiled our list of local favorites with help from MTBProject.com, IMBA and mountain bike enthusiasts. These are rides you’ll come back to time and time again, because they deliver a different experience with the same familiar reward – the rush, the thrill, the exhilaration, the exhaustion, the feeling of accomplishment – with views you can’t find anywhere else.

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Local Favorites 6. Hidden Diversity Trail 7. Lake Leatherwood 8. Mount Kessler 9. Slaughter Pen 10. Fossil Flats 11. Ben Geren 12. Ouita Coal Company 13. Earthquake Ridge 14. Cedar Glades 15. Iron Mountain 16. Fern Hollow 17. Enders Fault 18. Camp Robinson 19. Boyle Park 20. Cane Creek Lake Trail 21. Village Creek 22. Craighead Forest

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1. Ouachita National Recreation Trail 2. Womble 3. Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) 4. Syllamo 5. Upper Buffalo

Arkansas Welcome Center 3


EPIC TRAIL

1

Ouachita National Recreation Trail WALDRON

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OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST


At 223 miles, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is the longest hiking trail in Arkansas. The eastern terminus is in Talimena State Park in Oklahoma, and it travels east, all the way to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. The 108-mile stretch between Highway 88 (the Talimena National Scenic Byway) and Scenic Highway 7 north of Hot Springs is open to mountain biking, making it the longest mountain bike trail in the state. The most traveled part of the trail by mountain bikers is a section in Montgomery County used as part of the Ouachita Challenge Mountain Bike Race each spring. The trail features camping shelters spaced approximately every 10 miles with only a few left to be built. This ride presents a true adventure trip with beautiful views, stream crossings and rugged terrain. Expect to do some hike-a-biking if you decide to take on this trail.

“Some of the toughest and most rewarding trails I’ve ridden …” Todd Henne, Local Cyclist

ONYX

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7

STORY 270

MOUNT IDA

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LAKE OUACHITA

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE HOT SPRINGS

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EPIC TRAIL

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Womble Trail 270

ODEN HOG JAW MOUNTAIN


Featuring 37 miles of singletrack winding through the Ouachita National Forest, the Womble connects to the Epic Ouachita National Recreation Trail at the northern point of McGill Mountain. Hallmarks of the ride are scenic high-mountain views atop difficult climbs. Beginners may wish to plan an out and back on sections of this trail, while expert riders could opt for a shuttle to complete the journey in one direction, as this can be an all-day ride for most. One of the original IMBA Epics delivers an experience that lives up to that status.

MCGILL MOUNTAIN

“The woodsy singletrack of the Womble soothes my soul, clears my head and reminds me of how great Arkansas is.” James Gaston, Local Cyclist

STORY 27

LAKE OUACHITA

OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST

Lake Ouachita

27

MOUNT IDA

Nearby Trails

• Eagle Rock Loop • Ouachita National Recreation Trail 7


EPIC TRAIL

3

LOViT LAKE OUACHITA LAKE OUACHITA RECREATION AREA

CRYSTAL SPRINGS


Starting from one of Arkansas’s popular destinations, Hot Springs, this new IMBA Epic ride starts from the Little Blakey Dam and ends at Shangri-La Resort. An expertly made trail, it offers a good amount of climbing and incredible scenic vistas through flowy singletrack. The climbs of the Vista Trail come with a reward, some of the best downhills in Arkansas. Afterwards, plan on refueling with the many dining options in Hot Springs or even book a spa experience with a massage. The Vista Trail is for all levels of riders. Beginners might want to stick to the section on the western end near Shangri-La Resort.

“The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail satisfies my need for swooping, fast, rolling terrain, technical climbs and descents, and beautiful overlooks. This epic trail has it all!” Addie Teo, Local Cyclist

Nearby Trails • Charlton Lake Loop • Womble • Cedar Glades 270 9


EPIC TRAIL

4

Syllamo Mount Olive

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OZARK NATIONAL FOREST


The Syllamo, comprised of more than 50 miles of singletrack located outside Mountain View in the Sylamore Ranger district of the St. Francis-Ozark National Forest, is one of the most beautiful and technically challenging trail systems in the region. It consists of five loops of varied levels, including Bad Branch, which is a 15-mile section of smooth, fast singletrack. On the other side of the mountain is the White River Bluff Loop, roughly four miles long, which will test even the most advanced riders out there with lots of big rocks and grand views of the White River valley. Once finished with your ride, head to downtown Mountain View and hear locals play bluegrass and folk music around the court square.

“Syllamo is fantastic, the trails are some of the most beautiful yet rugged and technically challenging in the region and, in nearby Mountain View, you can hear the best folk music in the country.” Frank Webber, Local Cyclist

Nearby Trails

• Oak Ridge Trail (Bull Shoals-White River State Park) • Pigeon Creek 11


EPIC TRAIL

5

Upper Buffalo RED STAR

OZARK NATIONAL FOREST

16

OZARK NATIONAL FOREST

UPPER BUFFALO WILDERNESS


Upper Buffalo mountain bike trails include a wide variety of incredible Ozark Forest riding, native plant species and wildlife. This IMBA Epic ride earns its status from the total riding experience. Formally named the Buffalo Headwaters Trail System, this system is a combination of old school, hand-cut singletrack, newly built machine flow/downhill sections and lots of creek crossings with steep climbs and awesome descents, all covering about 40 miles of mostly intermediate to advanced action. Bomb down the 3.5-mile Fire Tower Loop, and connect over to Azalea Falls Trail, one of the best in Arkansas. Due to this remote area, bring plenty of water and snacks, and ideally a friend to ride with you. Cave Mountain Road and Knuckles Creek Road provide trailhead kiosks and information to visitors. Primitive camping is available on Forest Service lands. Upper Buffalo has the feel of a wilderness area but offers maps and markers at each intersection, giving riders an easiness while navigating the lush forest. Prepare to get wet with many creek crossings, some of which offer swimming opportunities on hot days.

“The Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trail transcends all that an IMBA epic ride is – very challenging, a true outback experience and serenity in the forest on killer trails.” Steve Schneider, Regional Representative, International Mountain Bicycling Association

Nearby Trail

• Lake Fort Smith (Lake Fort Smith State Park) 13


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville


international mountain bicycling association (IMBA)

RIDE CENTERS Bentonville • Fayetteville • Hot Springs You likely have a bucket list of places to ride. The International Mountain Bicycling Association has a few to add to your list – 37 to be exact – of gold, silver and bronze levels. IMBA Ride Centers are not only locations with some of the best trails in the world, these are ride-worthy destinations with first-class mountain biking facilities and amenities. Arkansas proudly claims three of them: Bentonville (silver), Fayetteville (bronze) and Hot Springs (bronze). Located less than 30 miles apart, Bentonville and Fayetteville now comprise the Northwest Arkansas Regional Ride Center, the first and only region-wide IMBA hub.

Bentonville

• 40 miles of trails within city limits, 20 of which are natural surface • Much of the singletrack links to various urban trails • Access to bike stations, repair tools, shower facilities and Wi-Fi hot spots • Highlights: Slaughter Pen and Blowing Springs (see page 20) and 22 miles of trails at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area (see page 17)

Fayetteville

• More than 50 miles of riding with multiple trail systems in the heart of downtown • Bike shops, restaurants and a botanical garden are accessible along the trail system • Highlights: Mount Kessler and Mount Sequoyah (see page 19)

Hot Springs

• Gateway to more than 250 miles of mountain bike trails in the area • Highlights: Three IMBA Epics: 108 miles of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail (see pages 4-5), the Womble (see pages 6-7) and the LOViT (see pages 8-9). • Home to a national park, historic Bathhouse Row, spas, hotels, restaurants and galleries in the rolling Ouachita Mountains 15


9 7 8 6 10 11

12

Local Favorites NORTHWEST

With so much great riding across the state, it’s hard to play favorites. But Northwest Arkansas is up there on our list of top destinations. The timeless Ozark Mountains and the beloved Buffalo National River are located here. Nestled in these peaks and valleys, discover hundreds of miles of classic singletrack with new trails added all the time. A claim to fame of the region is Slaughter Pen near Bentonville, a technical 20-mile ride along rocky hillsides. Another crown jewel is the 40-mile Upper Buffalo, one of the newer Epic rides as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). IMBA also recognizes two Ride Centers in the region – one in Bentonville and one in Fayetteville. With excellent restaurants, attractions and bike shops in the area, it’s a place that really gets it when it comes to supporting and growing the local cycling scene.

16

Whitaker Point


6

Hidden Diversity

Fast and hilly riding awaits mountain bikers at Hobbs State ParkConservation Area. About 22 miles of singletrack is open to cyclists on the Little Clifty, War Eagle, Bashore and Dutton Hollow loops. The dirt is smooth and fast with stout climbs and sharp turns to keep riders entertained. Trails loop through a lush pine forest just east of Beaver Lake and a quick drive from downtown Rogers. The trails also drain well and are ready to ride shortly after a rain. Parking is available on Piney and Townsend Ridge roads off Highway 12. The annual Battle for Townsend Ridge mountain bike race in early summer starts and ends at the Townsend Ridge trailhead.

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area

Nearby Trails • Lake Atalanta

• Slaughter Pen

12 BEAVER LAKE

HOBBS STATE PARKCONSERVATION AREA

WAR EAGLE

WITHROW SPRINGS STATE PARK 17


7

Lake Leatherwood

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Eureka Springs

Lake Leatherwood City Park has over 25 miles of multi-use trails and is the home of the Eureka Springs Fat Tire Festival for good reason. Cross country and downhill riding are the stars here with rocky ledges, steep slopes, extended grades, creek crossings and varied terrain making it challenging to all riders. Trailheads in the campground and day-use area take mountain bikers around the lake or up the surrounding hills. The Twin Knobs Trail and the Beacham Trail are by far the most technical; Miners Rock and Overlook Trail have challenging climbs and long, fast downhills. The park has swimming, bathrooms and bathhouses, and cabins are available for rent or stay in Eureka Springs, a Victorian-era mountain town with excellent restaurants, hotels and B&Bs.

LAKE LEATHERWOOD CITY PARK

23

Nearby Trail 62

18

EUREKA SPRINGS

• Hidden Diversity Trail


Mount Kessler Fayetteville

8 The Mount Kessler mountain bike trails are some of the toughest and most scenic in the state. Nine miles of rocky singletrack loop around this urban mountain in Fayetteville. The karst landscape makes for challenging riding and world-class bragging rights. Views from atop Mount Kessler are spectacular year-round with fall boasting that particular wow factor you can only get in the Boston Mountains. Visitors should park at the Mount Kessler Trailhead at 2600 West Judge Cummings Road in Fayetteville off of Highway 265. A 1.3-mile connector trail winds from the trailhead to the singletrack on the mountain. A regional park is under development at the base of the mountain.

62

FARMINGTON

Nearby Trails • Mount Sequoyah • Lake Fayetteville

19


Slaughter Pen Bentonville

9 Visitors to Slaughter Pen trails in Bentonville enjoy a truly unique mountain bike experience. The 40-plus miles of singletrack flow alongside the paved Razorback Regional Greenway and by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where the path is dotted with public art. The Slaughter Pen system includes trails ranging in difficulty from beginners (on the All-American and Seed Tick Shuffle trails) to expert (on Scott’s Alley and Medusa trails) with connector trails taking riders between the various hubs of the system. The trail is the home of the annual Slaughter Pen Jam, a mountain bike race and festival held each fall. Visitors can park at Compton Gardens in downtown Bentonville or at the Bentonville Bark Park on North Walton Boulevard to access the trail. An online map is available at bikebentonville.com.

BELLA VISTA

PEA RIDGE 71

20

NearbyOZARK Trail NATIONAL • Blowing Springs FOREST

ROGERS

170


Fossil Flats

10

Devil’s Den State Park, West Fork

Fossil Flats offers a great taste of Ozark Mountain biking. Home to the oldest mountain bike festival in the state, the trail includes both machineand hand-built trail. Starting in the tent area of the campground and going clockwise, the trail winds through hardwood forests and karst topography up the Lee Creek Valley before eventually crossing the creek and heading up Racers Hill. A fast-flowing downhill brings riders to narrow singletrack hovering above the creek. Be ready for the “gravity cavity” for a quick, heart-pounding experience before another creek crossing back into the campground to finish the five-mile loop. The park offers camping, cabins, miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. a seasonal pool and restaurant, all in a beautiful mountain setting.

OZARK NATIONAL FOREST DEVIL’S DEN STATE PARK

Devil’s Den State Park

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Nearby Trails • Lake Fort Smith • Lincoln Lake

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11 With over 20 miles of old-style singletrack, Ben Geren MTB Trail offers paths that challenge all skill levels. The flat sections of Beaver Dam and Wild Hog Tracks make great training routes for beginners and also warm-up for the challenging climbs of Hobo Hill. The short, steep descents on Roller Coaster and Gravity Fed satisfy adrenaline seekers’ need for speed. Also included are miles of winding, twisting, undulating paths through dense woods and rock gardens to satisfy all styles in between. The most accessible of three trailheads is located at Ben Geren Park’s disc golf course parking lot.

Ben Geren

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

Fort Smith

FORT SMITH

FORT CHAFFEE MILITARY RESERVATION

WILLIES LAKE

Nearby Trails

• Lake Fort Smith (Lake Fort Smith State Park) 22

• Spring Hill


12

Ouita Coal Company

Rolling hills along the north side of Lake Dardanelle are the main feature of this easily accessible trail just off of I-40 at exit 78. About 100 feet north of the paved Wildlife Observation Trail is the Ouita Coal Company Trail named for a local mining company in the area during the late 1800s. The trail is a lollypop shape and includes beautiful views of the Illinois Bayou section of Lake Dardanelle. Riders will enjoy riding through thick cedar forests and catching the breezes off the water. Scenic Highway 7 is just one exit away with access to Russellville hotels, or try camping at nearby Lake Dardanelle State Park.

Russellville

Nearby Trails • Bench Trail (Mount Nebo State Park)

40

64

• Old Post Trails

LAKE DARDANELLE

RUSSELLVILLE 23


Base Camp: NORTHWEST

West Mountain Brewing Co. on the Square, Fayetteville

After ripping through the Ozark backcountry, ride into town and find plenty to see and do and great places to stay in the Bicycle-Friendly Communities of Bentonville and Fayetteville, both designated as International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Ride Centers (see pages 14-15), as well as cities like Springdale, Rogers and Eureka Springs, which hosts the Fat Tire Festival in July at Lake Leatherwood City Park. Fill up on food and fun on your rest day at local restaurants, shops, music venues, museums and a minor league ballpark. A must-see stop in the region is Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which offers free admission and an “art ride” on the grounds. The new Amazeum in Bentonville will get your wheels turning with imaginative exhibits geared toward learners of all ages. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, unwind with music and a cold beer at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, which welcomes a variety of national acts.

Lake Leatherwood, Eureka Springs Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers

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Bikes and brews pair well on the Fayetteville Ale Trail. Start at the Fayetteville Visitors Center on the Square, pick up a passport, and ride responsibly to participating breweries in Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville. While in Fayetteville, cruise down Dickson Street for live music and a taste of the nightlife.


Local Favorites SOUTHWEST 13

14 15 16

A premier outdoor destination, the southwest part of the state encompasses the Ouachita Mountains. Tucked away in these lush foothills are some of Arkansas’s best trails, including three Epic Rides. The new IMBA Epic, the 108-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail, features dramatic changes in elevation from 600 to 2,600 feet as it follows rugged ridgelines and opens up to sweeping views. Spur trails connect to various recreation areas and points of interest. In addition to the diverse, rolling mountain terrain, this region features five Diamond Lakes – Catherine, DeGray, Greeson, Hamilton, Ouachita – with great riding, camping and lodging along each one. Designated as an IMBA Ride Center, Hot Springs is one of the most popular vacation spots in Arkansas with dining, shopping, racing and gaming, museums, historic hotels and the world-famous Bathhouse Row where you can soak in the naturally thermal waters after a long day in the saddle. On Bathhouse Row, check out Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, the first brewery in a national park and the world’s only brewery using thermal spring water as the main ingredient. Lake Ouachita

25


Earthquake Ridge

One of the older trails in the state, Earthquake Ridge offers riders easy rolling hills, steep climbs and rocky terrain. Trailheads are located at the Forest Service Information Center on Scenic Highway 88/Talimena National Scenic Byway, just up the hill from downtown Mena. Public restrooms are located at the Information Center, which also provides maps and other resources. Generally, the trails to the east of the parking lot are easier, while those that follow the highway up the mountain are more technical and strenuous. The newly completed Rich Mountain Trail connects Earthquake Ridge to the IMBA Epic Ouachita National Recreation Trail.

Mena

OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST

Nearby Trails • Fouche Mountain

WARD LAKE ine kyl

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14 Located just a few short miles from Historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, Cedar Glades Park is home to one of the most diverse mountain bike rides in the Ouachita Mountains. There are approximately 10 miles of trail over varying terrain with fun descents, short climbs, several bridges and water crossings. Like many of the trails in the region, the surface is a combination of dirt, roots and rocks/gravel. The park encompasses 432 acres of beautiful cedar forests and has been the site of many mountain bike races, off-road duathlons and triathlons. Other amenities in the park include a nice 18-hole disc golf course, radio-control (R/C) flying field, playground, pavilions, bike wash and restroom.

Cedar Glades Hot Springs

Nearby Trails • Little Blakely • Bear Creek

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Rd.

Ceda

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK

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15 Some of the best-groomed mountain bike trails can be found at Iron Mountain on the south shore of DeGray Lake just outside of Arkadelphia. With over 24 miles to cover, you would be hard pressed to find better riding in this part of the state. Fairly smooth with a few short technical sections thrown in, these are some of the best flow trails in the state of Arkansas. The orange and blue loops are wide-open and meander along the hillsides on the shores of DeGray Lake. And the newly built green and yellow routes on the south side of Skyline Drive add some exhilarating descents that are well worth the somewhat strenuous climbs to get up top.

Iron Mountain Arkadelphia

Nearby Trails • Cedar Glades • Fern Hollow

DEGRAY LAKE

DEGRAY LAKE RECREATION AREA

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Skyline Dr.

7


16 Starting near the tent sites of this timberlands park, the Fern Hollow Trail takes riders through rolling pine forest along the shores of White Oak Lake. This nine-mile trail is a great beginner ride or a fast sprint for the more experienced rider. The only obstacles on the trail are a few roots and rocks. The park is in a remote area of southwest Arkansas, so plan to stay awhile. A modern campground, small marina, boat rentals and a park store make this a great family trip.

Fern Hollow

Nearby Trail

White Oak Lake State Park, Bluff City

• Iron Mountain

POISON SPRING STATE FOREST LOWER WHITE OAK LAKE

WHITE OAK LAKE STATE PARK 387

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17 19 18

Local Favorites CENTRAL

Located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, across the river in North Little Rock and in surrounding cities and towns are well maintained, multi-use trails that are a source of pride in the Central Arkansas community, thanks to groups like the Central Arkansas Trail Alliance (CATA). For locals looking to cut out of work and escape the city scene, these trails allow access to wild, remote areas with routes that loop back around to bring you home in time for dinner. For visitors to the metro, look for Pfeiffer Loop at the base of the Big Dam Bridge on the north side of the Arkansas River Trail, which extends to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock; two trails at Allsopp Park in Little Rock; Burns Park in North Little Rock; and the series of trails at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. Venture to Conway for tight, twisty singletrack at Cadron Settlement Park. Take the scenic route, and travel through Perryville for a hill-climber’s dream of a ride around Lake Sylvia, also the site of the Slobberknocker Mountain Bike Race in May. 30

Little Rock skyline


17 One of the newest state park trails, this piece of heaven was built specifically for mountain biking with two distinct sections. The north side offers a slightly more technical area with tight turns, quick punchy climbs and a couple of rocky areas. The south portion has one big hill before getting into fast, rolling terrains. The recommended route is clockwise giving riders a fast 3/4-mile downhill near the end of the nine-mile trail that will put a smile on your face. Trailhead parking is available near the campground. The park also offers a seasonal swim beach and snack bar, plus miles of hiking trails in the Ozark foothills. The trail is named for an active fault line that runs under the park.

Enders Fault Woolly Hollow State Park, Greenbrier

WOOLLY HOLLOW STATE PARK

Nearby Trails • Caldron Settlement Lake Bennett Rd.

LAKE BENNETT

Woolly Hollow State Park

• Ouita Coal Company

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285


18

Camp Robinson Trails

Originally built by the Central Arkansas Recreational Pedalers (C.A.R.P.), the mountain bike trails at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock are considered the crown jewel of the region for containing some of the best and most varied rides in the Little Rock metro. With over 30 miles to explore from beginner to advanced sections, it’s difficult to do the same route twice. Names like Can O’Corn, Buddha, Port-a-Potty and Dead Elvis reveal the uniqueness of the area. Getting access to Camp Robinson does take a little effort, as it requires the purchase of an annual or three-day sportsman’s pass. Call 501-212-4103 to confirm Visitor Center hours. This is clearly one of those cases where the rides are more than worth the price of admission.

North Little Rock

Nearby Trails • Burns Park • Jackfork

CAMP ROBINSON NATIONAL GUARD

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19 Boyle Park in Little Rock was one of the original parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and many of the original structures are still present today. The looped portion on the northern side of the park is fairly flat, flowy and perfect for beginners. The east side from the Boyle Park entrance to Archwood Drive is strenuous with some good climbs and technical sections and is aimed at intermediate to advanced riders. The South Nature Trail starts with a good climb but then levels out with a wide, fast, slightly downhill section. Once you drop down to the pavement, the route continues on the other side of Boyle Park Road with a short loop that has a slight change in elevation. The variety of terrain found here means riders can mix it up for different challenges. The park also has a playground, pavilions and paved multi-use trails.

Boyle Park Little Rock

Nearby Trails S. UNIVERSITY AVE.

• Allsopp Park

36TH ASHER AVE.

• Wildcat Mountain

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Base Camp: CENTRAL

Downtown Little Rock

Diamond Bear Brewery, North Little Rock Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock

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Little Rock and the neighboring Bicycle-Friendly Community of North Little Rock are the places to stay on your tour of Central Arkansas. Here, the Arkansas River Trail is a common connector to many area trails – Jackfork, Rabbit Ridge, Pfeifer, Burns Park and Emerald Park – to name a few. Camp Robinson and Allsopp Park are both within a mile of the River Trail, which also connects to downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock with short rides to bike-friendly hotels and local restaurants and breweries, such as Diamond Bear in North Little Rock and Little Rock’s Vino’s, Lost 40, Blue Canoe and Stone’s Throw, where they will take a dollar off of your pint if you arrive on velo. Along your ride, discover attractions, including the Clinton Presidential Center, Arkansas Arts Center and Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum and DickeyStephens Park, home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team, in North Little Rock.


22 21

Local Favorites DELTA

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In eastern Arkansas, two natural topographical divisions provide for unique riding experiences in the upper and lower parts of the region – the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, known as the Delta. Features of the Gulf Coastal Plain include gentle sloping hills and thick forests of loblolly shortleaf pine, while the Alluvial Plain is flatter than any other region in the state and marked by bottomland hardwood forests. Cane Creek State Park in Star City sits on the border of these two areas with great riding on 15 miles of singletrack on the Cane Creek Lake Trail. In Helena-West Helena is Delta Heritage Trail State Park. The site of a former Union Pacific railroad is now open to bikers and hikers and continues to be developed in phases from Lexa to Cypress Bend. When completed, the Delta Heritage Trail will offer sweeping views from bridges that span the Arkansas River and the White River. While in the Delta, make time for food and fun in a place known for its history, culture, music and world-famous barbecue. You can’t go wrong at the James Beard Award-winning Jones’ BBQ Diner in Marianna or Craig’s Brothers Café in DeValls Bluff. Lake Chicot

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20 Fifteen miles of timberland trails that traverse rolling hills and span more than 50 bridges have become a major draw of this park. Three of the bridges are large suspension bridges that offer a new experience to first-time visitors. A shelter is available for those who wish to spend the night deep in the woods. The park also offers camping, RV rental, fishing and a kayaking stream that takes visitors past eagle roosts and beaver lodges.

Cane Creek State Park

Cane Creek Lake Trail Cane Creek State Park, Star City 11

STAR CITY

36

CANE CREEK STATE PARK


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Village Creek

Village Creek State Park, Wynne

Located on Crowley’s Ridge 15 miles north of Interstate 40, Village Creek State Park offers over 30 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails. Challenging creek crossings and steep, short hills will test your skills. The trails are well marked with signs at each intersection. Besides camping, the park offers tennis courts, a top-rated golf course, cabins, two small lakes with boat rentals, a public beach and visitor center/gift shop.

Cabins at Village Creek State Park

284

VILLAGE CREEK STATE PARK

ST. FRANCIS RIVER

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22 Situated on Crowley’s Ridge, Craighead Forest Park offers unique outdoor recreation for a park in the middle of the Mississippi Delta – rolling hills with steep, technical drops, plus miles of cross country riding around a beautiful lake just minutes from Jonesboro. Lots of fast bermed turns, small bridges and short climbs can be found throughout the trail system. The park has plenty of camping and day-use opportunities for the whole family. Take a break from your ride with some disc golf, fishing or hiking. The park has also been home to cyclocross and XTERRA events.

Craighead Forest Jonesboro

Craighead Forest Rd.

JONESBORO CRAIGHEAD FOREST LAKE

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E. La

wson

Rd.

CRAIGHEAD FOREST PARK

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center


Unique LODGING

Upper Buffalo River Cabins

Turpentine Creek Safari, Eureka Springs Capital Hotel, Little Rock

DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck Go to Arkansas.com for more information

Devil’s Den State Park, Winslow 39


Additional RESOURCES Bike Shops NORTHWEST Adventure Mountain Outfitters, Eureka Springs The Bicycle Outfitter, Harrison The Bike Route, Fayetteville Carr’s Chain Reaction, Russellville Champion Cycling & Fitness, Fort Smith Dogwood Junction Trikes & Bikes, Siloam Springs Good Bikes, Fayetteville

GPP Cycling, Rogers The Handlebar, Fayetteville Highroller Cyclery, Fayetteville, Rogers Lewis and Clark Outfitters, Rogers, Springdale Mojo Cycling, Bentonville Phat Tire Bike Shop, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith Scott’s Bike Shop, Fort Smith

CENTRAL Angry Dave’s, North Little Rock Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, Little Rock and Sherwood The Bike Lane, Searcy Chainwheel, Little Rock The Community Bicyclist, Little Rock J&P Bike Shop, Sherwood Motive Bike Service, Little Rock with service statewide NLR Bicycles, North Little Rock The Ride, Conway Spokes, Little Rock SOUTHWEST Berridge Bikes, Texarkana Parkside Cycle, Hot Springs

Organizations Central Arkansas Trail Alliance Ozark Off Road Cyclists Friends of Syllamo Trails Friends of Arkansas Singletrack Central Arkansas Recreational Peddlers Northeast Arkansas Trail Organization Womble Trail Watch River Valley OORC

NORTHEAST Gearhead Cycle House, Jonesboro

Contributors

mtbproject.com

imba.com

Special thanks to MTBProject and IMBA for providing route information and maps, and to local cyclists for sharing their experiences on these trails. 40


Calendar of EVENTS January

Buffalo Headwaters Challenge, Red Star

March

Spa City MTB Marathon, Hot Springs Ouachita Challenge, Oden

April

Iron Mountain Man, Arkadelphia Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, Devil’s Den

May

Mountain View Epic, Mountain View

June

Battle for Townsend’s Ridge, Rogers (Hobbs State ParkConservation Area) Riverside Classic, North Little Rock Cane Creek, Star City

July

Fat Tire Fest, Eureka Springs

August

Rogers Cycling Festival, Rogers

September

Northwest Arkansas Championship, West Fork (Devil’s Den State Park)

October

Slaughter Pen Jam, Bentonville Spring Hill Classic, Barling Dawg Days MTB Fest, Arkadelphia

November

Attila the Hun, Hot Springs (Cedar Glades Park)

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Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism 1 Capitol Mall • Little Rock, AR 72201 Arkansas.com/bicycling

FRONT COVER PHOTO Mount Kessler BACK COVER PHOTO Slaughter Pen


Arkansas Mountain Biking Guide