Cycling

Cycling

 

Make plans to experience some of Arkansas’s best road cycling and mountain biking trails. Follow the trail down Mount Magazine, Arkansas's highest mountain. Travel along the shore of one of southwest Arkansas's renowned Diamond Lakes. Or explore the rugged beauty of the wilderness in the Ozark National Forest. You can find any type of bicycle vacation here in Arkansas, from afternoon jaunts to all-day epic rides and week-long tours. Read on to find some inspiration and learn about the mountain and road cycling adventures available across all regions of The Natural State. Contact state park staff if you need help planning your next bicycling adventure in any of these parks.

 

BULL SHOALS-WHITE RIVER STATE PARK—-The Oak Ridge Mountain Bike Trail traverses the oak-hickory upland forest for a unique walking or riding experience. Along the trail are creek crossings, dirt roads, open meadows, long downhills and taxing uphills. Depending on the direction of travel, the loop trail allows users to choose from two levels of difficulty. Clockwise (marked with blue blazes) is moderately difficult with strenuous uphill slopes. Counter-clockwise (marked with green blazes)—-moderately easy and suitable for more casual recreational riders. Note: Rental bikes are available at the Camper Registration Center in the park. Bicycle helmets are strongly recommended for all visitors (adults and children) on biking vacations.

CANE CREEK STATE PARK—-Head out on the 15.5-mile Cane Creek Lake Trail. On this adventure, you will tour 12 miles of rolling hills in the West Gulf Coastal Plain and then transition into a five-mile section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The many bridges along the way keep the trip interesting and offer the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the park's diverse wildlife. This single track trail will offer exciting rides for all types of riders—from novice adults and children to the most experienced mountain bikers. Difficulty: easy to light moderate.

DAISY STATE PARK—-Situated on the north shore of 7,000-acre Lake Greeson, this park provides access to the Bear Creek Cycle Trail, an 18-mile one-way route that curves along the lakeshore, through creek bottoms, and over rocky hills. The state park is one of four access points along this multi-use trail that was established in 1976 by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas Motorcycle Association. Although the trail was originally designed for off-road motorcycles and ATV's, with the advent of mountain bikes the trail has become a popular destination for cyclists who want to tour the scenic beauty and rugged terrain of the Ouachitas, Arkansas's southernmost mountain range. This challenging trail is recommended for "sport" or "expert" class mountain bikers and not for beginners.

[SPECIAL NOTE:  Beginning August 17, 2015, trail improvement work will require the temporary closure of the first six-mile portion of the Bear Creek Trail from Daisy State Park on the lake’s north shore. This six-mile section that stretches from the park to the next stop at Kirby Landing Recreation Area will remain closed from August 17 until early November 2015. This is the roughest and most challenging part of the 18-mile trail, due to steep inclines and eroded areas. Improvements will include a new public trailhead parking area at Daisy State Park and a new re-routed section from the trailhead that will connect with the current trail between Daisy State Park and Kirby Landing. Daisy State Park’s portion of the trail is rated for expert riders only due to the steep inclines. For those extreme cycle enthusiasts, current trail sections will be left intact and identified as skill builders. The rest of the trail that stretches through lands administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Kirby Landing to Bear Creek Recreation Area and ending near Rough Branch will remain open and unaffected by trail project activity. This portion on the lake’s eastern shoreline is rated easy-moderate.]

DEVIL'S DEN STATE PARK—-The mountain bike trails at Devil's Den State Park are a blend of double track and single track trails that wind through the scenic Ozark Mountains. There are two groups of trails, the Fossil Flats and Cross Country. The Fossil Flats Trail has three loops: the Outlaw (three miles), Sawmill (four miles) and Racer's Hill (five miles). The Cross Country trail is a 15-mile route that can be ridden as a seven or eight-mile loop. The park hosts two major mountain bike events each year: the Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, which is usually the first weekend in April, and the Northwest Mountain Bike Championships, usually held two weeks after Labor Day.

HOBBS STATE PARK-CONSERVATION AREA—-Hobbs State Park-Conservations Area features challenging and scenic terrain and a diverse eco-system. One of the best ways to get a feel for this area near Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas is to travel the 24-mile Hidden Diversity Trail. Highlights include riding ridgelines with several climbs and enjoying views of the lake and cool hollows. The tight single-track will have you stoked for more. The turns, climbs, and drops will keep your heart rate up. When you take a break, you’ll be immersed in the diverse Ozark woods. Watch for hikers and equestrians, and give them the right of way on the trail. The trails are open to mountain bikes year-round, except during extreme wet conditions. Call the park for trail conditions and closings at: 479-789-5000.

LAKE FORT SMITH STATE PARKThe park’s locale, the Boston Mountains range of the Ozarks, is the namesake of the park’s 4.1-mile Boston Mountain Multi-use Trail. This trail, combined with the Shepherd Springs Loop, a 1.8-spur off of the Ozark Highlands Trail, offers you a combined six-mile loop that’s a scenic route to explore this area of Arkansas’s northernmost mountain range. You’ll discover this purpose-built trail for mountain biking likewise serves as a hiking trail. The trailhead is near the park visitor center.

MOUNT MAGAZINE STATE PARK—Arkansas's highest mountain at 2,753-feet, Mount Magazine is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts. For mountain bikers, the Huckleberry Mountain Trail is a challenging 34-mile trek down the mountain and into the adjacent Ozark National Forest. This multi-use trail is also used by equestrians, ORV's and backpackers. The trail's three loops cross creeks and connect Mount Magazine with nearby Huckleberry Mountain. Camping is allowed on the portions of trail that are located on national forest lands.

MOUNT NEBO STATE PARK—The 4 1/2-mile Bench Trail is a fairly level route encircling 1,350-foot Mount Nebo. As you ride through the mixed hardwood and pine forest, you'll pass historic springs and Fern Lake, and see rock work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s. When planning biking vacations at Mount Nebo, note that you can choose to spend the night at primitive campsites located at intervals along the Bench Trail or stay in the park campground. Mount Nebo State Park also features 14 cabins. Bring your own bike or rent one from the park visitor center.

VILLAGE CREEK STATE PARK—Explore the park's 25 miles of multi-use trails (for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding) that lead through the rolling terrain and unique hardwood forest of Crowley's Ridge. Due to the loessial soil on Crowley's Ridge, during times of heavy rains the trails may be closed to bikers and horseback riders. Call ahead for trail conditions by contacting the park at:  870-238-9406. The park also offers campsites around Lake Dunn, and cabins that feature kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces — ready for a comfortable weekend stay. The whole family will enjoy fishing in Lake Austell and Lake Dunn, boat rentals, swimming and an Andy Dye championship golf course. Village Creek is Arkansas's second largest state park in land area.

WOOLLY HOLLOW STATE PARK—A purpose-built trail for mountain biking, the Enders Fault Mountain Bike Trail likewise serves as a hiking trail. The trail takes its name from the area's active seismic fault line just north of the park. Featuring the rolling terrain found here in the foothills of the Ozarks, this singletrack trail leads through gentle valleys along pristine creeks, and climbs over 150 feet to offer winter views of Lake Bennett from ridges above. Cyclists can choose to ride the entire trail or divide it into two loops, the North Loop and the South Loop. A short 0.64-mile section of the park’s Historic Springfield Road Trail connects to the trail. Combining the mileage of both trails, The North Loop is approximately 4.17 miles of smooth singletrack tread through rolling hills, and includes short climbs through the mostly hardwood forest, with minor technical challenges and a few seasonal creek crossings. Add the South Loop for 5.67 miles of mostly smooth tread, a few moderate climbs, and some fast sections through evergreen groves. This loop offers ridgeline views of Lake Bennett during times of winter leaf off, seasonal creek crossings, and a three-fourth-mile hillside descent.

Start planning your bicycle vacation to one of Arkansas’s great state parks today and get ready for the ride of your life.