Is $1 million for 2 miles of trail a good deal? Lincoln Parish Park in Louisiana thinks so

America's first rideable waterfall trail hub has opened in Ruston, Louisiana.
Dropping in on the Waterfall Hub.
Photo: Caleb Daniel, courtesy Lincoln Parish Park

Louisiana is not a state that’s well-known for mountain biking, but as with seemingly everywhere else in the country, that’s slowly changing. A new bike park with five professionally-built downhill flow trails (totaling two miles of singletrack), a dual slalom, and a skills course has just opened in Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana, with a price tag of $1 million.

Even to those in the industry, $1 million for just two miles of trails sounds like a steep price tag. At first, it did to Lincoln Parish Park, too.

How $1 million materialized out of thin air

“In August of 2020 I had this revelation that we had an area in the park that has about 100 feet of relief over approximately 1/2 mile and that we could have downhill flow trails,” said James Ramsaur, Director of Lincoln Parish Park. “I reached out to the top builders to get an idea of how much it would cost and discovered my idea for flow trails only was around $500,000. We are extremely under funded, and I knew we could not afford it, so I just sat on the idea. 

“About 6-8 months later, the Parish (County) Administrator called and informed me that we were notified by the state that we qualified and were awarded a $500,000 grant THAT WE DIDN’T EVEN APPLY FOR! 

“When the cost estimate came in for the Waterfall Hub it was just under $500,000. We had budgeted $50,000. So I reached out to the Ruston Convention and Visitors Bureau to see if they might possibly help financially, emphasizing that the project would bring many people from out of our area.  Fortunately they understood what this project could do for tourism and gave us a grant to build the Waterfall Hub. So the God of mountain biking hooked us up!”

Photo: Caleb Daniel, courtesy Lincoln Parish Park

America’s first waterfall trail hub

Characterizing these trails as mere “singletrack” is a dramatic understatement. The five downhill flow trails feature progressive difficulties for all abilities ranging from beginner to advanced. The trails include plenty of features, such as tabletop jumps, massive berms, a big hip jump, a wooden flyover ramp into a drop, two rock gardens, and more.

But by far, the bike park’s standout feature is the Waterfall Hub.

If you’re familiar with modern trail development in Arkansas and around the nation, you’ll have observed the rise of the “hub” feature. Hubs were first popularized in Bentonville, and Rouge Trails — hailing from Bentonville — was the contractor for this project.

A trail hub is a central point from which a plethora of different trails begin. Generally, multiple downhill-only trails drop off the hub, and one climbing trail brings riders back to the top. The hub can function as a convenient place for friends to meet up, and riders of different abilities can easily choose different downhill lines because it’s easy to regroup back at the top.

But what exactly is a “waterfall hub”? It turns out that it’s just what you’d imagine: a trail hub with water falling from the sides. Check out this short video to get a feel for what it looks like:

This hub cost an astonishing half a million dollars on its own — as much as the construction of all of the other mountain bike trails and features in the park combined. While that cost seems staggering on the surface, if Ruston is trying to set themselves apart, they’ve succeeded.

Lincoln Parish Park was already home to over nine miles of classic cross-country singletrack, which plays host to one of the longest-running XC races in the nation. The March, 2025, race will mark the 33rd year of the Piney Hills Classic.

Whether you’re coming to race or you’re coming to see what the heck a “waterfall hub” actually is, Ruston, Louisiana is now officially on the MTB map.

 

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