Whether you are coming for a visit, just passing through or considering moving to The Natural State, it’s important to make connections with people who share your interests. If you are a mountain biker, it becomes even more important. You want to find that hidden trail, the best route on an epic trail and some friends to share recovery beverages with after the ride.
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (Epic) – Known as the LOViT, the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is a hiking/mountain biking trail covering over 45 miles of the south shore and mountains along Lake Ouachita a beautiful lake famous for clean water and islands that are perfect for camping. The trail runs along the shore following inlets and ridgelines offering awe-inspiring views of the lake. This IMBA epic trail runs from Denby Point at the western end to Blakely Dam at the Eastern. Besides several campgrounds and resorts along Lake Ouachita, we also recommend spending time in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
- Syllamo Trails (Epic) – The Ozark Mountains host these incredible trails just north of Mountain View, Arkansas. Over 50 miles of trail loops to satisfy any skill level. Due to the remoteness of this system and recent weather patterns the trails have sometimes been less than ideal. There is good news though, in the last year groups have formed, attention has been given and the trails are on a comeback. The trails have been host to popular trail runs and mountain bike races. Do check with the Friends group to verify current conditions. While in the area, make time to visit the town of Mountain View, it’s the home of Americana music and a beautiful little town. Syllamo trails are “pay to play” – $3 per day, and you can pay at the trailhead, or buy a year-long pass for $30 at the Blanchard Caverns visitors center.
Iron Mountain Trails – Probably the best groomed trail system in the state with fast, flowing trails currently covering over 18 miles. Just 5 miles from Interstate 30 at Arkadelphia, Arkansas the trail lies on both sides of the DeGray Lake Dam utilizing a very short bit of pavement to connect them. The trail system hosts two mountain bike races and several triathlon/Xterra races each year.
- Slaughter Pen Trails – Slaughter Pen is a premiere urban bike park. Located along the Razorback Greenway Trail in Bentonville, Arkansas (an IMBA ride center), The Pen has all levels of cross country riding plus downhill and pump tracks all easily accessible from the town square and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Technical rock sections, skinnies and beautiful bridges accentuate this trail.
- Ouachita National Trail – The longest single section of mountain bike trail in the state lies along the 223 mile Ouachita National Trail. 100 miles is currently open to mountain bikes from the Talimena Highway in the Western Ouachitas to Highway 7 near Jesseville. Parts of this trail, along with the Womble Trail, are used for the Ouachita Challenge Mountain Bike Race.
- Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trails (Epic) – One of the newest of the IMBA Epic trails in the state this remote trail includes the highest point in the Ozark Mountains and deep valleys. Much of the trail is classic Arkansas singletrack with sections of fast, groomed trail. This trail is undergoing a lot of growth, look for new and improved sections opening over the coming years. For information on the trail conditions and group rides, we recommend contacting the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists.
- The Womble (Epic) – The Granddaddy of Epic trails in Arkansas. This is classic mountain biking in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains near Mt. Ida, Arkansas. Home of the Ouachita Challenge Mountain Bike Race this 38 mile linear trail connects to the Ouachita Trail and hundreds of miles of forest roads. Camping is available nearby and along the trail.
- Camp Robinson (CARP Trails) – The Camp Robinson trails are well worth the $25 yearly fee for over 40 miles of beautiful, hand cut trails within minutes of downtown Little Rock and now visitors can access the trails by purchasing a 3-day pass for only $5. (Information on accessing the trails HERE.) Go with locals on your first trip to learn the trails. They have everything from beginner friendly trails to expert, rock-ladden sections. It’s easy to spend the day out there.
- Back 40 Trails – A brand new trail system in northwest Arkansas, Bella Vista’s Back 40 trails offer something for every ability, with scenery that is not to be missed. Within the nearly 40-mile system, the singletrack Back 40 Loop intersects with secondary trails boasting technical rock outcroppings, a thrilling downhill flow, sweeping berms and bluff-hugging bridges. The Ledges, a three-mile hand-cut trail featuring rock ledges, is quickly gaining attention as a technically challenging trail, bringing riders back to the roots of mountain biking. You will think you are in the remote wilderness, surrounded by surprising bluffs, waterfalls and creeks, but these trails are only minutes north of Bentonville. The Back 40 trails are free to the public, and will be featured in this 2016 IMBA World Summit. (submitted by Cassi Lapp)
- Arkansas State Park Mountain Bike Trails – Arkansas State Parks has supported mountain biking for over 27 years. There is no charge to use the mountain bike trials in the state parks. These trails exist all over the state and range from highly technical trails like the Jackfork at Pinnacle Mountain to easy wide trails at White Oak Lake. Also, except for a short hunting season at Hobbs State Park (the trails are closed during hunting season), trails within the parks are safe during hunting season. Many of the state park trails host Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series races throughout the year.
- Tons More – The state is riddled with mountain bike trails on state, federal and private lands. A good source for many of these trails is the MTB Project. Find a trail and enjoy year-round riding. You can also find a lot of information about Arkansas mountain bike trails at Mountain Bike Arkansas.
Below are some resources to help you find the right trail and the right group. Remember, mountain biking season in Arkansas is year-round, now go have some fun.
- Central Arkansas Trail Alliance (Facebook)
- Ozark Off Road Cyclists (Facebook)
- Central Arkansas Off Road Group (Facebook)
- Friends of Syllamo Trails (Facebook)
- Friends of Arkansas SingleTrack (Facebook)
- Central Arkansas Recreational Peddlers (Facebook)
- NorthEast Arkansas Trail Organization (Facebook)
- Womble Trail Watch (Facebook)
- River Valley OORC (Facebook)
MTB Race Teams and Ride Groups:
- Also, check with the trail organizations above for scheduled rides.
- Bell and Company (Facebook)
- Central Arkansas Velo (Facebook)
- Parkside Cycle Racing Team (Facebook)
- Crank it Up Cycling (Facebook)
- Ozark Cycling Adventures (Facebook)
- Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (Facebook)
- River Valley Mountain Biker (Facebook)
- Arkansas Heels on Wheels (Facebook)
Local Bike Shops:
- Northwest Arkansas
- Phat Tire Bike Shop (Facebook) – Bentonville, Fayetteville & Fort Smith
- Mojo Cycling (Facebook) – Bentonville
- Highroller Cyclery (Facebook) – Fayetteville & Rogers
- Lewis and Clark (Facebook) – Rogers & Springdale
- The Bike Route (Facebook)- Fayetteville
- Champion Cycling and Fitness (Facebook) – Fort Smith
- Scott’s Bike Shop (Facebook) – Fort Smith
- The Bicycle Outfitter – Harrison
- Adventure Mountain Outfitters (Facebook) – Eureka Springs
- Central Arkansas
- Chainwheel (Facebook) – Little Rock
- Spokes (Facebook) – Little Rock
- Arkansas Cycling and Fitness (Facebook) – Little Rock & Sherwood
- The Community Bicyclist (Facebook) – Little Rock
- Angry Dave’s (Facebook) – North Little Rock
- NLR Bicycles (Facebook) – North Little Rock
- J&P Bike Shop (Facebook) – Sherwood
- The Ride (Facebook) – Conway
- Parkside Cycle (Facebook) – Hot Springs
- Carr’s Chain Reaction (Facebook) – Russellville
- Northeast Arkansas
- Southwest Arkansas
Many trail groups in Arkansas are associated with the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Supporting them supports us.