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Level: Intermediate
Length: 5 mi (8 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +196/ -225 ft
Total: 17 riders

Mountain Biking Charlton / Crystal Springs

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#59 of 196 mountain bike trails in Arkansas
#4,147 in the world

This is an out and back singletrack, well maintained trail. Out and back is about 10 miles. There is a big climb (or downhill) at the Charlton trailhead, but otherwise there is probably an equal amount of climbing and downhill from both directions. There is a water spout on the road halfway (the locals get their drinking water there...I saw them). Not too technical, except in a few places. Near the Crystal Springs trailhead there are a few sections that overlap with 4-wheeler trails. The trail is well packed, the long slow climbs are what get you, but you're rewarded with nice long downhill sections after. The only hike-a-bike may be at the big climb/downhill at the Charlton trailhead, but it is steep, so not that long.

First added by dauw on Jan 11, 2005. Last updated May 1, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Take HWY 270 west from Hot Springs, AR for @ 20mi. Pass through Crystal Springs, then look for the Charlton Recreation Area on the right. Alternatively, it is 15 miles from Mt. Ida going east on HWY 270. For the Crystal Springs campground trailhead, just take the N. Crystal Springs road (CR 20) at Crystal Springs until you come to the camp grounds, and the trailhead is behind a pavilion to the left. There are several other trails in the campground that connect to the trail, but they are not marked.
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Charlton / Crystal Springs Trail map

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Local Info

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Evansdad (on Feb 15, 2020)
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Trail conditions

Dry (on Feb 15, 2020)
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Charlton / Crystal Springs videos

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Mountain Bike Trails Near Crystal Springs, Arkansas

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Advanced | 13 mi
Advanced | 14 mi
Advanced | 48 mi

Rider questions

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  • dpking

    Good flowing trail. Lots of climbing going out but great downhill riding coming back. Parts of trail very overgrown. Lots of trees down across trail. If it would have been better maintained it would be 5 stars.

    Reply | Thank

    The trail head & parking area was CLOSED over the holidays. Did not get to ride Charlton. Chose 4 based on the last time I rode it about 20 years ago when I lived in Hot Springs AR

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  • mtbark

    The Charlton is an out and back trail with trail heads at both the Charlton Recreation Area and the Crystal Springs Camping Area, you can start from either end, parking is available at both places. The trail does have lots of climbing involved as well as some nice downhills so you should get your fill of both. It is very well maintained by the Forestry Service except where 4 wheelers may have gotten on the trail. It can be very technical in places especially on the big hill near Charlton. For more information go to www.mtbark.com

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  • dauw

    If you are riding one way only, start at the Charlton trailhead. After the immediate big climb, the rest of the 1st half is downhill. Otherwise, the trail is not too technical, but is fun. Ride as fast as you can. There's a water stop about halfway at the road.

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