Biking Arkansas: 5 Dream Destinations for Cyclists

Arkansas might pri­mar­i­ly be known as a trout fish­ing hotspot, but in recent years it’s been steadi­ly build­ing a remark­able rep­u­ta­tion among cyclists. From paved street rac­ing to back­coun­try moun­tain trails, there’s two-wheeled adven­ture around every cor­ner of this state. Check out these incred­i­ble bik­ing trails to see why Arkansas is a pre­mier out­door des­ti­na­tion.

Slaughter Pen, Bentonville
1. Slaugh­ter Pen
Tucked away in the Ozark Moun­tains of north­west Arkansas lay some of the best sin­gle­track in the nation. Slaugh­ter Pen has gar­nered quite a name for itself over the last few years. The pre­miere bik­ing des­ti­na­tion boats 20 miles of begin­ner, inter­me­di­ate and expert moun­tain bik­ing trails. An epic series of wall rides and log runs wind­ing through the All-Amer­i­can Trail along the Razor­back Green­way offer plen­ty of air and days of adven­ture. With­in two years of the cre­ation of Slaugh­ter Pen, it was already rack­ing up awards and host­ing the annu­al IMBA World Sum­mit.

2. Wye Moun­tain Loop
While Aransas has plen­ty of moun­tain trails to choose from, the state offers up plen­ty of pave­ment for cyclists to enjoy. The Wye Moun­tain Loop out­side of Lit­tle Rock is a 37-mile route that winds through the rolling Oua­chi­ta Moun­tain foothills. The cat­e­go­ry 5 climb cir­cles Lake Maumelle near Pin­na­cle Moun­tain State Park and climbs rough­ly 500 feet before send­ing you off on an exhil­a­rat­ing down­hill ride for three straight miles. The area is also wide­ly revered for its stun­ning daf­fodil fields, so spring­time rides are a real treat.

Upper Buffalo Trail System
3. Upper Buf­fa­lo Trail Sys­tem
Anoth­er gem tucked away in Ozark Moun­tains, the Upper Buf­fa­lo Trail Sys­tem is packed with rough­ly 40 miles of superb sin­gle­track that wind around the high­est point in the region. The hand-built sin­gle­track and machine-cut flows tra­verse the Buf­fa­lo Nation­al Riv­er and offer some of the most breath­tak­ing scenery in the state. You’ll breeze past stun­ning water­falls tucked away in old-growth hard­wood forests, along with steep cliffs and wildlife you won’t find any­where else in the state. Because the area is so remote, you’ll find you have many of the trails to your­self. It also means you’ll be on your own when it comes to riv­er cross­ings and deal­ing with the weath­er.

4. Lake Oua­chi­ta Vista Trail
The apt­ly named Lake Oua­chi­ta Vista Trail—or LOViT—boasts over 40 miles of scenic sin­gle­track with vis­tas over­look­ing the beau­ti­ful Lake Oua­chi­ta. It’s the per­fect option for both novice rid­ers and experts alike, with bench­cut and low­er grades along­side plen­ty of steep, tech­ni­cal climbs as you tra­verse the ridge top. Tight switch­backs and quick descents bring the adren­a­line rush while the over­look­ing Oua­chi­ta Moun­tains pro­vide a serene set­ting per­fect for any­one look­ing to set a slow­er pace and enjoy the views. The IMBA Epic route will see you tack­ling five dif­fer­ent moun­tains across its length, so expect to get a good work­out in.

5. Iron Moun­tain
If you’re look­ing for a fast and flowy trail sys­tem in Cen­tral Arkansas, Iron Moun­tain has every­thing you need. The trail sys­tem here is well known for its ample array of switch­backs along with a few near-tech­ni­cal pass­es through its many rock gar­dens. Pri­mar­i­ly inter­me­di­ate in dif­fi­cul­ty, it’s great for cyclists want­i­ng to get in a light work­out with a few climbs while also enjoy­ing the lake views. The down­hill por­tions of the loop con­tain quite a few berms, so as long as you’re com­fort­able tack­ling them you’re in for a quick and fun descent. While it prob­a­bly won’t test your lim­its, Iron Moun­tain is great for a remote bik­ing expe­ri­ence with tons of flowy down­hills.