Had the opportunity to try a few trails around Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas these last couple of weeks. I’m sure many have heard about the surge in mountain biking there. This was my first return riding in northwest Arkansas since riding around Eureka Springs some years ago (Leatherwood and Hobbs trails). The state, as well as local towns, have jumped on the bandwagon. And let’s not forget the million$ apparently provided by Sam Walton, of which one of his sons (does he have more than one?), I am told is into mountain biking.
Besides very well built and maintained trails, I even saw more than one municipal pump tracks, and stretches of sidewalk in neighborhoods with parallel single track that include permanent rock TTF’s. Man, what a way to go to and from school every day!
I had time to try out the Blowing Springs area in Bella Vista, and rode the South Upper, South Lower, and North Upper trails. On another day I rode the west end of the Slaughter Pen area in Bentonville, riding DH Flow, Armadillo’s Last Stand, Medusa, Tatamagouche, and Creek trails. Yeah, I did DH Flow more than once… not very long as downhill berm flow trails go, but fun with a few nicely placed ramps. Had to do it more than once to kinda know where things were to get the most out of it. 🙂 I also rode the Fayetteville Lake XC trail in Fayetteville. All nice trails.
The locals are enthusiastic about the whole thing. Plenty of bike shops, as well as eateries, breweries, etc. Everyone on the trails were friendly and ready to point out the best ride flow/directions and recommendations. It’s been a while since I can remember going someplace where people actually reach out to shake your hand and volunteer their names as a part of just greeting you.
There are several local events that take place in Northwest Arkansas (known locally just as NWA). There are also a few bigger events there. I plan on going back this October for IMBA’s OuterBike in Bentonville. Also in October is the Red Bull peaking of events, the Red Bull Pump Track Work Championship.
For the nearly 8 million minions in Dallas/Fort Worth, NWA makes for a nice weekend mountain bike road trip. Sorry NWA, if we all show up one weekend…
Anyone else travel to visit NWA for mountain biking?
I rode there for two days on my annual road trip to Oregon in June. Quite amazing; the trails are some of the best built you will find, all in an urban setting. The Walton grandsons are the ones into riding and the family’s drive to make the area more appealing to young professionals is apparent in the town’s parks and museum.
Additionally, there is good riding in other parts of the state.
I like Arkansas. Add Syllamo and upper Buffalo headwaters for purpose hand built trails. Oh, legacy point to point Womble. One of my most scary backcountry rides was named Eagle something: way out there isolated, wade across 2 rivers that swell after flash floods miles upstream. In recent times a flash flood swept down stream washing away a USFS XG killing sleeping campers. USFS danger mitigation was to eradicate the recently completed XG, which for a USFS XG, it had heated showers.
Bentonville is friendly. Engage a local rider to connect to what you are riding. FAST.
Pedalers pub and adjoining brew pub.
Anyway Arkansas is cool to me. I will be back there for fall colors this fall.