Page 1

Arkansas

Mountain Biking guide

5 E PIC T r a i l s

Lo c a l Favor i t e s

R i de C e n t e r s


Contents Welcome: It’s all about the ride........ 1 Map.................................................................................................2-3 The Imba Impact.....................................................4-5 EPIC TRAILS Ouachita National Recreation Trail...............................................6-7 Womble Trail....................................................................................8-9 LOViT............................................................................................. 10-11 Syllamo........................................................................................ 12-13 Upper Buffalo..............................................................................14-15 Ride Centers................................................................. 16-17 LOCAL FAVORITES Northwest Arkansas Intro.......................18 Hidden Diversity................................................................................19 Lake Leatherwood........................................................................... 20 Mount Kessler................................................................................... 21 Slaughter Pen............................................................................. 22-23 Blowing Springs/Back 40........................................................ 24-25 The Railyard...................................................................................... 26 Lake Atalanta.................................................................................... 27 Fossil Flats........................................................................................ 28 Coler Preserve.................................................................................. 29 Ben Geren......................................................................................... 30 Ouita Coal Company........................................................................ 31 Base Camp: Northwest..................................... 32 Southwest Arkansas Intro...................... 33 Earthquake Ridge............................................................................ 34 Cedar Glades.................................................................................... 35 Iron Mountain............................................................................. 36-37 Fern Hollow....................................................................................... 38 Central Arkansas Intro................................ 39 Enders Fault...................................................................................... 40 Camp Robinson Trails...................................................................... 41 Boyle Park......................................................................................... 42 Burns Park........................................................................................ 43 Base Camp: Central................................................ 44 Delta Intro........................................................................... 45 Cane Creek Lake Trail..................................................................... 46 Village Creek..................................................................................... 47 Craighead Forest.............................................................................. 48 Additional Resources............................... 49 Unique Lodging.................................................. 50-51 Calendar of Events................................ 52-53

Slaughter Pen


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 biking 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. 1


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63

FRONT COVER PHOTO: Iron Mountain • BACK COVER PHOTO: The Railyard

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Arkadelphia

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Lake Conway

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Lake Hinkle

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ARKANSAS

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Perryville

71

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Little

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7

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Brewer Lake

Morrilton

Centerville Jean

Overcup Lake

64

Heber Springs

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Pottsville

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Russellville

Petit tit

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Greers Ferry Lake

65

Subiaco

Blue Mountain Lake

Mansfield

Little Re er d Riv

Dover

Lake Dardanelle

Booneville Magazine

10

Clinton

S. Fork

16

Fairfield Bay

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RIVER

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Paris

Big

Shirley

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Archeys

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Charleston

40 Clarksville

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ARKANSAS

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540

Sugarloaf Lake

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Wiederkehr Ozark Village

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Van Buren

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Horsehead Lake

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Mountainburg

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Lake Fort Smith

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Fort Smith

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Calico Rock

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Mountain Home

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Huntsville

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Fayetteville Prairie Grove

Harrison

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Tontitown

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Mammoth

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Beaver Lake

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Norfork Lake

Bull Shoals Lake

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Cave Springs

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Gentry

Eureka Springs

Garfield

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Bentonville

Siloam Springs

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Pea Ridge

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Bella Vista

M I S S O U R I

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Sulphur Springs

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West Memphis

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For a more detailed version of the maps in this guide, go to MTBProject.com.

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Grand Lake

Lake Lee

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Horseshoe Lake

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Local Favorites

61 Wilson

Marked Tree Tyronza

Lake Poinsett

49

Dyess

Lepanto

Harrisburg

Augusta

Bald Knob

Osceola

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63

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5. Upper Buffalo

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Jacksonport

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Jonesboro

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1. Ouachita National Recreation Trail

St. Francis

62

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Cherokee Village

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Diversity Trail 7. Lake Leatherwood 8. Mount Kessler 9. Slaughter Pen 1 0. Blowing Springs/Back 40 11. The Railyard (BIKE PARK) 12. Lake Atalanta 13. Fossil Flats 1 4. Coler Preserve 15. Ben Geren 1 6. Ouita Coal Company 17. Earthquake Ridge 1 8. Cedar Glades 1 9. Iron Mountain 0. Fern Hollow 2 21. Enders Fault 2. Camp Robinson Trails 2 3. Boyle Park 2 24. Burns Park 25. Cane Creek Lake Trail 26. Village Creek 27. Craighead Forest

3


The

4

Impact From Whistler, British Columbia, in 2004 to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2014, IMBA’s World Summits garner global attention. Each host community adds its distinct character as industry leaders gather to learn, connect and collaborate. For 2016, that host community was Bentonville, featuring Northwest Arkansas’s iconic cutting-edge trail systems through the Ozarks. Participants reveled in the rugged natural beauty of this area and enjoyed the bustling town square overtaken by mountain biking enthusiasts. While the region’s top-notch trails got their much-deserved day in the sun, the most powerful takeaway from the weekend was what can happen when a community comes together – as demonstrated by Northwest Arkansas. It was a grand stage to show off what’s happening here and what’s to come in this leading mountain biking destination.


E PE PI IcC Ryan Leech Hans Rey Danny McKaskill

Riding

Arkansas is home to five Epic Rides as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA): Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT), Ouachita National Recreation Trail, Syllamo, Womble and Upper Buffalo. IMBA distinguishes these trails as the most demanding singletrack adventures in natural settings. In addition to these incredible trails, IMBA has also recognized Bentonville, Fayetteville and Hot Springs as Ride Centers for their bicycle-friendly facilities and resources, and commitment to move mountain biking forward in these cycling scenes. Northwest Arkansas is the first-ever Regional Ride Center and was the natural choice for last year’s IMBA World Summit.

“Bentonville offers every convenience for mountain biking enthusiasts at every level. The city is surrounded by miles of trails, and a paved greenway system connects it all together – from bike shops to food and lodging – in a flash. In the adjacent town, Rogers, there is a huge public free-ride facility called The Railyard where you can spend all day hitting jumps and riding the trails.” Seth Alvo, Founder of Seth’s Bike Hacks

5


6


1

EPIC

TRAIL

Ouachita National Recreation Trail

At 223 miles, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is the longest hiking trail in Arkansas. The western 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. 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.

“After conquering some very challenging technical sections, you’re rewarded with fun descents and beautiful vistas atop each hill. you’re riding in a beautiful wilderness where you’re not likely to encounter anyone other than wildlife.” Brent Whittington — Owner and CEO, Moots Cycles

7


Lake Ouachita STate Park

8

Lake Ouachita


2

EPIC

TRAIL

WOmble

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

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, it delivers an experience that lives up to that status. ne a r by tr ai ls

• EAGLE ROCK LOOP • OUACHITA NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL

9


10


3

EPIC

TRAIL

LOViT

Starting from one of Arkansas’s popular destinations, Hot Springs, this IMBA Epic ride starts from the Little Blakey Dam and ends at Shangri-La Resort passing several resorts along the southside of Lake Ouachita. 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

Bathhouse row, Hot Springs

ne arby tr ai ls

• CHARLTON LAKE LOOP • WOMBLE • CEDAR GLADES 11


4

EPIC

TRAIL

Syllamo 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. ne ar by t r ai ls

• OAK RIDGE TRAIL (Bull Shoals-White River State Park) • PIGEON CREEK

12


“For me, the Syllamo is one of the best rides in Arkansas. Big loops of technical singletrack leading to beautiful overlooks make this a go-to system for serious mountain bikers.� Herman Owens, Trail Specialist for Arkansas IMBA Epics

13


5

EPIC

TRAIL

Upper Buffalo 14


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, helping riders navigate the lush forest. Prepare to get wet with many creek crossings, some of which offer swimming opportunities on hot days. “The Upper Buffalo has all the components for a next-level experience: gnarly descents, grindy climbs and the kind of remoteness that requires you to support yourself and your bike in all situations. I’ve suffered through those hills, but I’ve never left the Headwaters wishing I’d stayed closer to home.” Tandie Bailey, Northwest Arkansas Dirt Divas

Image courtesy of Arkansas Wild/ Novo Studio

ne arby tr ai l

• LAKE FORT SMITH (Lake Fort Smith State Park)

15


International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

Ride Centers

Bentonville • Fayetteville • Hot Springs

16

Crystal Bridges Museum of AMerican Art, Bentonville


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.

Be n t on v ille • 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/ Back 40 (see pages 22-25) and 22 miles of trails at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area (see page 19)

Fayet teville • 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 21)

Hot Sp r i ng s • 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 6-7), the Womble (see pages 8-9) and the LOViT (see pages 10-11). • Home to a national park, historic Bathhouse Row, spas, hotels, restaurants and galleries in the rolling Ouachita Mountains 17


Buffalo National River Area

9 10 14 8 13 15

7

Local Favorites

12 11 6 16

Northwest

Northwest Arkansas is fast becoming the nation’s premier mountain biking destination. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains are 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 35-mile Upper Buffalo Headwaters, one of the IMBA Epics. IMBA also recognizes two Ride Centers in the region – one in Bentonville and one in Fayetteville. With great restaurants, hotels and bike shops in the area, it’s a place that really gets it when it comes to supporting the local cycling scene. 18


6

Hidden

Diversity

Hobbs State Park-COnservation Area

Fast and hilly riding awaits mountain bikers at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. About 22 miles of singletrack are 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.

ne arby tr ai l

• LAKE ATALANTA • SLAUGHTER PEN

19


7

Lake

l e at h e r w o o d Eureka Springs

Lake Leatherwood City Park has more than 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.

ne arby tr ai l

• HIDDEN DIVERSITY TRAIL 20


8

mount

kessler

Fayetteville

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 now open at the base of the mountain. ne a r by t r a i ls

• MOUNT SEQUOYAH • LAKE FAYETTEVILLE

21


22


9

S l au g h t e r

Pen

Bentonville

Visitors to Slaughter Pen trails in Bentonville enjoy a truly unique mountain biking 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 Bike Bentonville.com. ne arby tr ai l

• BLOWING SPRINGS/BACK 40

23


ne arby tr a il

• SLAUGHTER PEN

10

B low i n g S p r i n g s / B ac k 4 0 Bentonville • Bella Vista Back 40

Back 40

BLOWING SPRINGS lies in the southern part of Bella Vista. Caves, waterfalls, springs and cliff riding are a few of the features of Blowing Springs. The whole loop nets about six miles of natural surface trails and connects easily to Slaughter Pen for more mileage. One of the highlights is a 30-foot bridge that drops from a rock shelf to connect to the trail below that winds around to Blowing Springs Cave. This is a good place to get off the bike, enjoy a snack or packed lunch in the picnic area, and walk up to the cave to feel a naturally cool breeze. The trail system includes a total of eight bridges and 15 benches. Given the terrain, some of the trails are inherently more challenging; however, the trail was built with safety and sustainability in mind. Parking is located just off Blowing Springs Road before you get to the RV park. The BACK 40 is not only a testament to the world-class riding in the Ozarks but also Blowing to the direction SPrings mountain biking is heading in Arkansas – forward-thinking and fast. The Back 40 is the first of a multi-phase project that plans for a total of 150 miles of natural-surface trail through the city of Bella Vista’s 45 square miles. The construction of the trail system is by NWA Trailblazers and has been fully funded by a $3 million grant to that organization from the Walton Family Foundation. These 40 miles will make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but they are actually right in the thick of the top riding in the region, a short distance from Slaughter Pen via the Greenway and from Blowing Springs. Parking at Lake Ann places you at the epicenter of the trail system. Your ride will end with a fantastic downhill back to the car from any direction. Be sure to try your luck on the hand-cut rock ledge on Grayson’s Canyon. The lion’s loop has old lion statues – see if you can find them! 24


25


11

the

Railyard Rogers

With its world-class dirt jumps, wood ramps and railroad cars, The Railyard was a major addition to Northwest Arkansas in 2015. The bike park’s downtown Rogers location allows ease of use and quick access to the eateries and watering holes around town. Ride the beginner line if you’re just learning, or hit the pro line for 20-foot gaps. Take a break in the balcony overlooking the park, and watch your friends have a go. For more action, head down to the XC trails around Lake Atalanta. 26


12

Lake

Ata l a n ta ROgers

A newcomer to the Northwest Arkansas mountain biking scene, Lake Atalanta is fast becoming a regional favorite for its scenic singletrack. Loop around the lake or hit spur trails populated with swooping bridges, steep short climbs and gravity cavities. The trail system also includes THE RAILYARD and connects to downtown Rogers. ne arby tr ai ls

• HIDDEN DIVERSITY TRAIL (Hobbs State Park) • LINCOLN LAKE 27


13

Fossil

F l at s

Devil’s Den State Park, West Fork

Fossil Flats offers a great taste of Ozark Mountain biking. Home to the oldest mountain biking festival in the state, the trail includes both machine- and 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,” a quick, heart-pounding experience before another creek crossing back into the campground to finish the six-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. ne arby tr ai ls

• BOSTON MOUNTAIN TRAIL (Lake Fort Smith State Park) • LINCOLN LAKE

28

Devil’s Den STate Park, West Fork


14

Coler

P r e s e rv e Bentonville

ne a r by t r a i ls

• BOSTON MOUNTAIN TRAIL (Lake Fort Smith State Park) • HIDDEN DIVERSITY TRAIL (Hobbs State Park)

Recently opened Coler is built on land designated as a mountain bike preserve. Although you might think you are in the backcountry of the Ozarks while riding Coler, the trails are actually located about two miles west of downtown Bentonville. The trails feature multiple flowy jump lines, challenging technical rocky sections and several huge gap jumps. Phase 1 culminates at the spectacular “Hub” near the top of the mountain, a 20-foot-tall steel-and-wood structure that guides riders to the start of three downhill runs. From there, you can choose which trail to take and the level of difficulty. If you are an expert level downhill or enduro rider, try Cease and Desist. It features the “Hammer” — a double black alternate line featuring a 12-foot drop into a valley setting you up for 10-foot step-up jumps and two more large drops. If you love rocky technical trail, then try out Rock Solid – a super technical trail with, you guessed it, rocky goodness. Coler is now the state’s most challenging enduro-style jump trail system. You can easily ride from downtown Bentonville to the trail head by heading west on NW 12th to Punkin Hollow Road. Then take a left onto Peach Orchard Road, and the trailhead is just on the left.

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15

Ben

Geren

Fort Smith

With more than 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 every adrenaline seeker’s need for speed. Also included are miles of winding, twisting, undulating paths through dense woods and ne arby tr ai ls rock gardens to satisfy all styles in between. The most accessible of three trailheads is located at Ben Geren • LAKE FORT SMITH Park’s disc golf course parking lot. (Lake Fort Smith State Park) • SPRING HILL

“Unexpected Project” Mural, Fort Smith

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16

O u i ta

Coal

Co m pa n y Russellville

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 lollipop 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. ne arby tr ai ls

• BENCH TRAIL (Mount Nebo State Park) • OLD POST TRAILS

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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Base Camp Black Apple Crossing CIder House, Springdale

Historic Downtown, Eureka Springs

Northwest 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 16-17), 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 Scott Family 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. 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.

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Hot Springs

Local Favorites

17

18

Southwest

19 20

Tucked away in the Ouachita Mountain foothills are some of Arkansas’s best trails, including three IMBA Epic rides, the 224-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail being the longest with 110 miles open to mountain bikers. Elevations range from 600 to 2,600 feet as the trail follows rugged ridgelines. Spur trails connect to various recreation areas and resorts for overnight stays. The region also boasts five lakes – Catherine, DeGray, Greeson, Hamilton and Ouachita – with great riding, camping and lodging along each one. Designated as an IMBA Ride Center, Hot Springs is a beloved vacation spot for dining, lodging, spas and attractions. 33


17

Earthquake

Ridge Mena

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 Rich Mountain Trail connects Earthquake Ridge to the IMBA Epic Ouachita National Recreation Trail.

Queen Wilhelmina STate Park Lodge

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• FOURCHE MOUNTAIN • WOLF PEN GAP • OUACHITA TRAIL

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18

Cedar

Glades Hot Springs

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• LITTLE BLAKELY • LOVIT

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 13 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 challenging 18-hole disc golf course, radio-control (R/C) flying field, playground, pavilions, bike wash and restroom.

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• CEDAR GLADES • FERN HOLLOW

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19

Iron

M o u n ta i n

Arkadelphia

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 more than 24 miles to cover, you would be hard pressed to find better riding anywhere in 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. The 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 is home to the 2017 and 2018 Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals. 37


ne arby t r a il

• IRON MOUNTAIN

20

Fern

H o llow

White Oak Lake State Park, Bluff City

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.

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Junction Bridge, Little Rock

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22

Local Favorites

Central

24

The well-maintained multi-use trails in downtown Little Rock, North Little Rock and surrounding cities are a source of pride in the Central Arkansas community. Highlights in the Little Rock metro include the Arkansas River Trail, which extends to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and the trail systems at Boyle Park and Allsopp Park, plus Camp Robinson and Burns Park on the North Little Rock side. 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, the site of the Slobberknocker Mountain Bike Race in May. 39


21

Enders

F a u lt

Woolly Hollow State Park, Greenbrier

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. ne arby tr ai ls

• CADRON SETTLEMENT • OUITA COAL COMPANY

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ne arby tr ai ls

• BURNS PARK • JACKFORK

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Camp

Robinson

Trails

North Little Rock

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 more than 40 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.

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23

B oy l e

Pa r k

Little Rock

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 newly updated portion on the northwest 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.

ne arby tr ai ls

• ALLSOPP PARK • WILDCAT MOUNTAIN

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ne arby tr ai ls

• CAMP ROBINSON • JACKFORK

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BURNS

PA R K

North Little Rock

The multi-use trails at Burns Park in North Little Rock were among the early trail systems open to mountain biking in Central Arkansas. Accessible from the Arkansas River Trail and several bike/pedestrian bridges, 14 miles of trails can be easily reached from downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. The trails are shared with hikers, runners and equestrians. The trails feature challenging rock gardens, stout climbs and fast rocky downhills with several loop options. If you like challenging climbing and some of the best views in the city, head half a mile east on the river trail to the Emerald Park climb; it will test both your skill and strength. If you are looking for a more leisurely ride, head west to Pfeifer Loop at the base of the Big Dam Bridge for some beginner-friendly dirt. When you’re done riding, there are plenty of craft breweries and local restaurants just off the river trail in town.

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Base Camp

Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock

Central The Bicycle-Friendly Communities of Little Rock and 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.

Lost Forty Brewing, Little Rock

Clinton Presidential Center & Park, Little Rock

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Mississippi River State Park, Marianna

27

26

Local Favorites

Delta

25

The topographical divisions of the Arkansas Delta make for two different riding experiences. The Upper Delta features gentle sloping hills, while the Lower Delta is flatter than any other region in the state. Cane Creek State Park in Star City offers great riding on 16 miles of singletrack on the Cane Creek Lake Trail. Also in southeast Arkansas is Delta Heritage Trail State Park in Helena-West Helena, a rails-to-trails conversion along a former Union Pacific Railroad. While in the Delta, make time for food and fun in a place that’s famous for the blues and BBQ. You can’t go wrong with James Beard Award-winning Jones’ BBQ Diner in Marianna or Craig’s in DeValls Bluff. 45


25

Cane Creek Lake Trail Cane Creek State Park, Star City

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 trail that takes visitors past eagle roosts and beaver lodges.

Cane Creek State Park

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26

V i l l ag e c r e e k Village creek State Park, Wynne

Located on Crowley’s Ridge 15 miles north of Interstate 40, Village Creek State Park offers more than 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. Many of these trails are wide and open, perfect for the beginner mountain biker. 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.

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27

CRAIGHEAD FOREST JONESBORO

Situated on Crowley’s Ridge, Craighead Forest Park offers unique outdoor recreation for a park in the middle of the Arkansas 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.

ne arby tr ai ls

• LAKE BONO • VILLAGE CREEK STATE PARK

Jonesboro

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Additional

Resources Bike S hop s 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 Bike & Trike Shop, Siloam Springs GPP Cycling, Rogers, Bella Vista and Fayetteville

The Handlebar, Fayetteville Highroller Cyclery, Fayetteville, Rogers Lewis and Clark Outfitters, Rogers, Springdale Mojo Cycling, Bentonville Mountain Home Bicycle Company, Mountain Home Phat Tire Bike Shop, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale

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 NLR Bicycles, North Little Rock The Ride, Conway Spokes/Giant, Little Rock SOUTHWEST Berridge Bikes, Texarkana Parkside Cycle, Hot Springs Spa City Cycling, Hot Springs NORTHEAST Gearhead Cycle House, Jonesboro

organ i z ations Arkansas Master Naturalists Borderline OORC Carroll County OORC Central Arkansas Off-Road Group Central Arkansas Recreational Peddlers Central Arkansas Trail Alliance Friends of Arkansas Singletrack Friends of Ouachita Trail Friends of the Syllamo Trail Frontier OORC LOViT Trail Dogs Northeast Arkansas Trail Organization Ozark Off Road Cyclists River Valley OORC Womble Trail Watch

Con tr ibu t ors

mtbproject.com

imba.com

oztrailsnwa.com

Special thanks to MTBProject, IMBA and OZ TRAILS for providing route information, maps and images and to local cyclists for sharing their experiences on these trails. Contact local bike shops for information on rental and shuttle service.

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Where to

stay

Upper Buffalo River Cabins

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Yurt at DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck

Shangri-La Resort, Mount Ida

Mountain Harbor Resort, Mount Ida

The Hive at 21C Museum Hotel, Bentonville

In Arkansas, there are many bike-friendly lodging options for your mountain biking vacation. From historic hotels to state park cabins, campsites and yurts to lakeside resorts with shuttle service, book your stay at a place that suits your style and supports your ride. Before you head this way, check in with regional travel associations, CVBs and welcome centers in the area for additional resources, and be sure to “like� trail Facebook pages for suggestions and tips from local riders and visitors who have conquered the ride and have shared their stories. Go to Arkansas.com for more information.

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Calendar of

Events

Ja nua ry • Buffalo Headwaters Challenge, Red Star FEBRUA RY • Lake Ouachita Vista Trail MTB Marathon, Joplin March • Syllamo’s Revenge, Mountain View • Ouachita Challenge, Oden A pr il • Double Barrel Poker Ride, Bentonville • Ride like a mountain man, Heber Springs May • iron mountain man, Arkadelphia* • the ugly gnome, Greenbrier (Woolly Hollow State Park) June • Timberlands, Star City (Cane Creek State Park) • Battle for Townsend’s Ridge, Rogers (Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area) July • Fat Tire Festival, Eureka Springs • Rogers Cycling Festival, Rogers Sep te mbE R • Northwest Arkansas Mountain Bike Festival, West Fork (Devil’s Den State Park) O ct obe r • Slaughter Pen Jam, Bentonville • River Valley Rumble, Fort Smith Nove m be r • Attila the Hun, Hot Springs *USAC National Championship Race 2017 & 2018

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Held annually in the fall, SLAUGHTER PEN JAM in Bentonville is the largest XC event in Arkansas, with 300 racers and more than 2,000 spectators over the three-day festival. Friday’s events kick off the festival with BMX stunt shows and live music. On Saturday, “The Pen” – Slaughter Pen Hollow Park – is open to vendors with food, bike obstacle courses, kids’ areas, giveaways, contests, archery biathlon and other live entertainment. On Sunday, it’s race day. Juniors, Cat 3, 2 and 1 men and women compete in the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series Race. To register or learn more, visit SlaughterPenJam.com. 53


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

Arkansas Mountain Biking Guide