Now You Can Pedal and Paddle at this Multimillion-Dollar Whitewater Park

The WOKA whitewater park in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, is now home to a brand-new mountain bike trail system opening on May 17th, 2024.
All photos by Adam Munich, courtesy Rock Solid Trail Contracting

Some diehard mountain bikers have a tendency to forget that there are so many other exhilarating and immersive adventure sports that this wild and beautiful world has to offer. However, the reality is that many riders participate in all kinds of adventure sports, from downhill skiing and snowboarding to hiking, rock climbing, and whitewater paddling.

The newest mountain bike trail system opening in Arkansas gives adventurers with a predilection for the rush of adrenaline two of their favorite activities in one location: singletrack mountain biking and whitewater paddling.

The Waters of Oklahoma and Arkansas (WOKA) whitewater park just opened in 2023 after a $30 million investment, and now, an all-new mountain biking trail system is opening on the same land on May 17th, 2024. This brand-new trail system comprises 12.6 miles of hand-cut singletrack through a beautiful forest along a paved greenway bike path. 

The greenway provides easy access from downtown Siloam Springs, Arkansas, which is situated on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. WOKA is the one of the first professionally built trail system in Siloam Springs, and thanks to its pedal-friendly access from downtown, this new trail system promises to be a boon for locals and visitors alike. 

According to Adam Munich, Digital Marketing Coordinator for Rock Solid Trail Contracting, WOKA is “a really nice, intimate trail with a lot of cool boardwalks. You’ll even see double bridges and culverts stacked up. It’s just a really nice, intimate trail setting—very different than what you would typically see in like Slaughter Pen or the Castle Hub in Bentonville.”

Despite being located 50 minutes from Bentonville, the Bentonville Trailblazers are the main group behind this new trail development, and they hired out the contract to local trail building giant Rock Solid Trail Contracting. The woodlands at WOKA were a blank canvas that allowed Rock Solid and the Trailblazers to conceptualize an entire trail system from scratch, whereas “normally, the Trailblazers build trail connections through any parcel squeeze we can acquire,” according to Uriah Nazario, Director of Soft-Surface Trails for the Trailblazers. The “untouched woodlands will forever be commercially or residentially undeveloped and saved for any of us or future generations to enjoy,” said Nazario.

Building an entire 12.6-mile trail system by hand requires an incredible investment of time and money, but Nazario explained that one “con of having this trail system outside of an urban area is that it requires long-term maintenance to fall more on the shoulders of volunteers, as our team would have a tough time logistically keeping a bunch of flow trails in tip-top form, and therefore we had to make sustainability a top priority. Although a mass of our tourism comes to ride flowy, jumpy goodness and various machine-built trails here in OZ, these trails require professional maintenance for proper long-term upkeep. With the native soils and substrate untouched, we are often left with loose, sharp karst rocks (worst marbles ever) in the trail tread. There’s not enough binding material to form a proper sustainable trail tread that can withstand our storm events if the top organic layer is completely stripped away, so it’s a case where less is more.”

Instead of Rock Solid taking a mini excavator into the woods and quickly cutting trails, they led teams of builders into the forest with McLeods and pickaxes to dig miles and miles of trail by hand. “Hogan Koesis and the Rock Solid teams did a great job with blood, sweat, and tears to deliver you, the rider, a unique experience,” said Nazario. “These trails will be ridable in the rain, and therefore, it’s a resilient year-round experience for folks to come enjoy this amazing gift for free—right next to an amazing whitewater park. So come blow out your legs on the sweet singletrack then hop in a kayak and exhaust the rest of your body on these rapids, and go home feeling like you either conquered WOKA, or it conquered you. Either way, we think you will leave with a smile on your face.”