Trip Report: Mountain Biking at Mount Nebo

Trip Report: Mountain Biking at Mount Nebo

The Community Bicyclist

As Mount Nebo in Arkansas stands tall, its history tells a compelling tale. Named in the 1860s after the biblical site by Mrs. Louis White, this landmark was once a thriving resort destination. The late 1800s saw the Summit Park Hotel attracting visitors, accessible by steamboat on the Arkansas River and by horse up the mountain. Notably, in 1924, Mount Nebo witnessed the first all-female government in Arkansas history. However, a devastating fire in 1918 destroyed the hotel. Subsequently, the Dardanelle Chamber of Commerce successfully advocated for Mount Nebo’s transformation into a state park in 1927. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps left an indelible mark by constructing cabins, trails, and bridges, shaping Mount Nebo State Park into the revered outdoor recreation hub and scenic marvel it is today.

This welcoming trail, winding through the heavily wooded Mount Nebo State Park.
This welcoming trail winds through the heavily wooded Mount Nebo State Park.

In July 2020, the final phase of the Monument Trail system opened on the mountain, quickly becoming a hot spot for cyclists from around the state and country. This 25-mile trail system is one of four Monument Trail designated systems in Arkansas State Parks. The other three are located in Hobbs, Devil’s Den, and Pinnacle Mountain State Parks. Built by Rock Solid Trail Contracting, the Mount Nebo trails incorporate unique rock work and offer breathtaking views of the Arkansas and Petit Jean River Valleys.

Seizing the opportunity for a quick adrenaline fix, I strapped on my helmet and headed for Miller’s Goat Trail. This 5-mile loop whispers “sweet singletrack” around Mount Nebo, weaving above and below the historic Bench Trail. It’s a chill ride, perfect for a weekday escape.

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It's rare that I don't stop at this overlook when riding at Mount Nebo State Park.
It’s rare that I don’t stop at this overlook when riding at Mount Nebo State Park.

The trail unfolds like a mountain bike dream – flowy descents that leave you grinning, punchy climbs that keep things interesting, and epic vistas that make you stop and soak it all in. Throw in some winding paths through giant rock gardens, and you’ve got a recipe for pure riding bliss.

Fern Lake is tucked away on the trail, this serene pond was once a destination for vacationers at the long-gone Summit Park Hotel. Imagine soaking in the views after your ride, knowing you’re sharing the spot with a bit of mountain history. Miller’s Goat Trail truly offers something for everyone – a quick escape, stunning scenery, and a touch of the past. Now that’s what I call a perfect weekday adventure.

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Fern Lake is at the intersection of several hiking and mountain biking trails in the park.
Fern Lake is at the intersection of several hiking and mountain biking trails in the park.

To further enhance your post-ride experience, consider swinging by Jackalope Cycling, just a short ride (or drive) away. Owner Johnny Brazil isn’t just passionate about bikes; he’s a wealth of knowledge on all things outdoors in the area. Jackalope Cycling goes beyond bikes, offering essentials for flyfishing enthusiasts, hikers, and campers. You might even find your perfect disc golf driver there, like I did! Whether you need gear, repairs, or just some friendly local advice on trails or hidden dining gems, Jackalope Cycling is a great stop to round out your outdoor adventure.

Check out the short video from the ride here:

 

@arkansasoutside75 Monument Trail Ride Miller’s Goat Trail at Mount Nebo State Park. @International MTB Association @arkansastourism @MOUNTAIN BIKING @Destination Arkansas @arkietravels #VisitArkansas #OutdoorLife #Arkansas #Outdoors ♬ original sound – Arkansas Outside

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