My tires bounced along a rocky path carved through a dense forest of towering pine trees. The sunlight filtering through the canopy revealed a scene that looked as though it was plucked from a J. R. R. Tolkien novel. We were completely in the wilderness, yet only minutes from downtown Hot Springs National Park, riding a newly-constructed network of trails that brings world-class mountain biking to Hot Springs.
The words of Leslie Fisher, above, open up a great article on the new trails being constructed on Hot Springs property known today as the Northwoods. Older mountain bikers will remember that before Cedar Glades was opened up next door at the Garland County landfill, this area was known for the original Attila the Hun Mountain Bike Race. Closed after 9/11 for various reasons, the Northwoods have been off limits to mountain bikers since. Now it’s back and better than ever.
Below, is the schedule of events for the official opening of the first section of the Northwoods trails with more to come. The ribbon cutting is on Friday, November 16 followed by the grand opening on Saturday, November 17. This section connects to the Cedar Glades trail system (still a favorite of mine in the state). First, let’s look at a couple of videos of how and why the trails are being brought back. Thanks to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for bringing Seth’s Bike Hacks to Hot Springs a couple of times to report on the trails.
This first video shows what the area was like before IMBA Trail Solutions started building. “Dam Straight” is not a part of the trail system opening next week but, hopefully, it will be included in future trail expansion.
Schedule of events:
NORTHWOODS TRAILS RIBBON CUTTING – Friday, November 16th
Waterworks Trailhead – 300 Pineland Drive
3:00 – Opening Remarks, Traci Berry, Steve Arrison, Pat McCabe, Dave Wiens (IMBA ED), Gary Vernon (Walton Family Foundation)
3:15 – Ribbon Cutting and Inaugural Group Ride
6:00 – Celebration at Low Key Arts, 118 Arbor ($10 donation)
NORTHWOODS GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION – Saturday, November 17th
Cedar Glades Trailhead – 461 Cedar Glade Rd.
10:00 – Vendor set up.
Noon – Ribbon Cutting, pro rider and Executive Director of IMBA, David Wiens to speak.
Noon – Shuttle service to and from Waterworks Trailhead begins courtesy of Ouachita Rides and Guides.
Noon – Orbea Bike and Rocky Mountain Bike Demos
Noon – Skills track opens courtesy of Fasttrack.
1:00 – Climbing Wall opens (closes at 3:00)
1:00 – SHAM Cyclocross event begins
2:00 – Time trials begin (build a bike, fix a flat, bike toss)
5:00 – end
Vendors on site
Rocky Mountain Bikes
Lost 40 Brewing – free t-shirts to the first 100 people
Red Bull Land Rover LD Taurus mobile DJ vehicle
Itz Gud Fud Food Truck
Brandos Food Truck
A live performance by Brian Martin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYmrLoJaWaA
Ouachita Rides & Guides shuttle service to and from Waterworks Trailhead.
International Mountain Bike Association
Central Arkansas Trail Alliance
Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Diamond Lakes Travel Association
Spa City Cycling
Hot Springs Thoroughbreds NICA Team
Raid the Rock AR
Fully stoked for this, as someone whose just getting into mountain biking and to coincidentally come across this i think its the perfect timing for me to really push my skills and really be part of this opening as well.
I hope we get to have access and use of Northwoods for a long time to come and can only thank Arkansas for really facilitating environments and areas like this for recreation, sport and fitness!