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  1. #1
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    looking to do some riding/camping in AR

    The semester is ending and I will be finishing my last two classes for my master's degree in May. After that, it's just hunkering down to work on my thesis till it's done (and doing some TA'ing in the fall). To prepare myself for the torture-fest of staring at a computer for months on end, working on spreadsheets and statistics and writing hundreds of pages, I'm wanting to take a little bike vacation from East Texas.

    Arkansas seems a good choice. It's north of here (and therefore at least a couple degrees cooler) and it's got plenty of trails to choose from.

    I was originally thinking a week of bikepacking would be fun, but the wife essentially vetoed that option because she doesn't want me out there by myself with my medical history. I figured, then, that maybe some day trips (maybe sneaking in an overnight or two on the trail) would keep her happy and make it easier for me to find folks to ride with.

    I'm thinking mid-May would work best for me and hopefully avoid some heat...and I see that there's a race on the Womble on May 30, so it would also avoid that. Finals end May 13, so there's a couple of weekends I can choose from.

    Womble is on my radar, as is Slaughter Pen. Curious about my options and wondering if there's a map anywhere that shows the general locations of trailheads in AR like the mountainbiketx.com Trailhead Google Map. Something like that would help me plan and choose trails to ride.

  2. #2
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    Northwest Arkansas sounds like the place for you. Start off with a trip to Devil's Den State Park. Nice camping and a great trail system. If you want you can backpack into the Butterfield Trail for a nice overnighter. Then on to Slaughter Pen for some of the coolest trail we have near civilization. Make sure you get over to Hobbs State Park for the Hidden Diversity Trail. IMBA helped design this one and it shows. You can camp at Withrow Springs State Park nearby. Finally, go over to Eureka Springs and hit the Lake Leatherwood Trails. I love Miners Rock!

    I could do an itinerary for other parts of the state if you'd like. If you really want to do the Womble (great trail, I can give you several nearby that you should also do)
    Visit us here: ArkansasOutside.com

  3. #3
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    This is a pretty good place to start looking -

    http://www.mtbark.com/index.php?opti...188&Itemid=332

    and a link to the map page

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...15,9.84375&z=7

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the map link...yeah, I don't think I want to venture all the way to Bentonville, to be honest. With Womble being a few hours closer, I think I can get plenty of trail miles in (looks like about 70 if I do the full out-and-back route) and there are even some other options in the area, as well.

  5. #5
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    Love the Google Earth .kmz options on the mtbark website. I've loaded a bunch from the Ouachita region so I can get a better idea of where they go and everything. Now to decide how much time I have that I can spend riding.

  6. #6
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    Womble, Vista Trail, Ouachita trail, plus trails in Hot Springs and West of Mena would make for a great getaway. Or, you can make the trip up to NWA for Hobbs, Slaughter Pen, Lake Leatherwood, Devils Den, plus some local trails here in Fayetteville. Either destination would make a great trip.

  7. #7
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    if you do the womble take a day to do the ouachita trail too, good stuff!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoutcat
    if you do the womble take a day to do the ouachita trail too, good stuff!
    So it sorta looks like most of a loop could be assembled with the Womble and part of the Ouachita. I read that the Ouachita is pretty tough since it's designed for hikers. How realistic would it be to make a 2 day loop doing the Womble on one day and returning on the Ouachita?

    Or would it be a better idea to dedicate more time to a route like that?

  9. #9
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    You need to give THenne a PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    So it sorta looks like most of a loop could be assembled with the Womble and part of the Ouachita. I read that the Ouachita is pretty tough since it's designed for hikers. How realistic would it be to make a 2 day loop doing the Womble on one day and returning on the Ouachita?

    Or would it be a better idea to dedicate more time to a route like that?
    there are short sections of the ouachita that are tough but overall its doable for an intermediate rider and its tons of fun. google the "ouachita challenge" and look at the race map to get an idea where to ride. also, as flyng suggests, THENNE is a good resource. doing the womble one day and doing the OT plus part of the womble another day is doable - tough but doable. you can also do a good 40mi loop that will give you 20mi of OT and 20mi of Womble in one day by starting at the hwy 298 trailhead and riding clockwise to the OT then hooking up with the Womble. its a tough 40mi but rewarding as heck. one word of caution - theres a spot where the OT and womble hook up but its not necessarily obvious as to which way to go and you can end up back on the OT if you arent careful.

  11. #11
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    Still looking at heading up sometime in the next few weeks. How'd the trail looking? Seems there's been a small stretch of dry weather for you guys lately that could have been enough to dry some trails out?

  12. #12
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    Just bring the proper gear and it's all good.


  13. #13
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    just came back to austin from syllamo's revenge near mountain view, and hit a short taste
    of the womble from hwy 29 trailhead. went west about 3 miles and back. Pure sickness that womble was. killer climbs mach downhills and better not fall there is no room for error.
    The trail is cut into the steepest highest deadliest path possible. 2 or 3 black diamond.
    Freaked us all out very much. Want to get back and do the whole thing soon. Awesome views!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamwa1
    just came back to austin from syllamo's revenge near mountain view, and hit a short taste
    of the womble from hwy 29 trailhead. went west about 3 miles and back. Pure sickness that womble was. killer climbs mach downhills and better not fall there is no room for error.
    The trail is cut into the steepest highest deadliest path possible. 2 or 3 black diamond.
    Freaked us all out very much. Want to get back and do the whole thing soon. Awesome views!
    once you ride it a time or two the "black diamonds" become green squares!

  15. #15
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    meh...I doubt it'd be any more harrowing than anything I've ridden in UT or NC.

    That said, I'm having to postpone my trip. Scheduling issues mean this weekend is the best weekend I have for a long trip for at least the next month. The weather forecast is not good...I don't play games with thunderstorms. I don't mind riding in some rain, but riding on what seems to be a largely ridgeline trail with severe thunderstorms most of the day Saturday, I don't think so. And the trail is just too far away to be worth just riding on Sunday before any storms develop.

    Looks like I'll be staying in Texas and riding more locally this weekend. We have storms in the forecast, too...but I can get a good number of miles in through the morning and early afternoon before any storms flare up and I've got a few options at around a 1hr drive.

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