Heading to Bentonville 6/29 - 7/10- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Heading to Bentonville 6/29 - 7/10

    Looking for advice on the trails in NW Arkansas and anyone willing to show me around one of the days. Iíll definitely buy lunch and grab us a few rounds at the pub afterwards.

    Thanks

    Steve

  2. #2
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    I'm trying to head there soon let me know what you think?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbailey74 View Post
    Looking for advice on the trails in NW Arkansas and anyone willing to show me around one of the days. Iíll definitely buy lunch and grab us a few rounds at the pub afterwards.

    Thanks

    Steve
    I know everyone is sick of being lectured on COVID, so please don't take this as a lecture (I'm traveling currently, so I'm not against traveling), but Arkansas (and especially NWA) is having a huge surge in COVID cases at the moment. Just be aware that things COULD move toward being a little more locked down with fewer restaurants open or providing dine-in. Also, practice social distancing, etc.. etc...

    That being said:
    it's likely going to be hot, so be prepared to ride early in the morning. Stay hydrated, wear your bug repellant as ticks and chiggers are no joke in Arkansas. I'll give you a rundown of suggestions on where to ride but a couple of questions:

    1) Do you have any freedom in your schedule/lodging arrangements to go spend a night somewhere other than Bentonville, or are you confined mainly to day trips out from Bentonville?

    2) What sort of riding do you prefer? Are you into XC and piling on the miles or do you prefer sessioning challenging lines or do you prefer gravity focused stuff?

  4. #4
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    We the people ...

    Consider riding before 9am OR after 8pm if you go in July and August. Heat stroke is a real possibility during the summer months in NWA; especially if you plan to ride longer than 90 minutes.

    Edited to add: I rode NWA in 2019 in June and had heat stroke. Never had it before, thought I was prepared, thought I knew better, well it hit me on the Back 40 about as far from my vehicle as I could be. I blacked out a few times. Very, very scary to think about in hindsight.

  5. #5
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    Hi Hogfly!

    Agreed. I will be practicing social distancing even on trails. I wear my buff and utilize it when I'm 6ft away from others. This may impact my ability to show my appreciation of someone showing me around!

    What bug spray do you recommend?

    Yes, freedom to go anywhere in a 2 hour radius from Fayetteville.

    I prefer all riding styles and would like to get the best of NWA while I'm visiting my inlaws. I need to put in miles, would love to session challenging terrain and I really enjoy gravity!

    Any suggestions would be great! I'm also not averse to paying someone for their expertise of the area and time. This way my learning curve of the area and new trails is cut down significantly.

  6. #6
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    Hi Bingemtbr,

    Agreed! Heatstroke is no joke. I experienced it once and never want to go through that misery again. Thought I was going to die.

    I may be hitting trails early am and if not destroyed do an evening ride in order to bypass the heat of the day.

  7. #7
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    Will do, timsmcm.

    I just got back from Bend, OR and Santa's Village (Arrowhead, CA). Both places were awesome.

    I'm looking forward to NW AR. I've got Hobbs listed for XC, Coler and Leatherwood for a mix and Slaughter Pen too on my list.

    I'll be new to the trails and wanted to take the guess work out of everything. Would love to do the "must do" trails that hit a variety of styles and terrains!

    Steve

  8. #8
    Jacob 34:19
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    Just took a trip up there a couple weeks ago and had a great time. Great trails and really friendly people. Unfortunately, we only had a day and a half.

    We split our first day up in the Blowing Springs area and then rode down to Slaughter Pen. Could have easily spent one entire day at Slaughter Pen and will on my next trip there. We were thinking about Back 40 but didn't have the time and a local told us about a different loop they liked better called Little Sugar. Will need to hit that next time. We did ride the Blowing Springs loop and it was really fun. One thing I would do different next time - we stayed on the south side of town and rode the city trail up to Blowing Springs, back down to Slaughter Pen, and then of course back down to our hotel. Overall probably about 20 - 25 miles on pavement that was nice (Veterans Memorial is really nice) but the time/miles would have been better spent on single track. Next time I'll either stay in midtown or I'll drive to the trailheads.

    The next day we went to Hobbs. Rode from the visiter center to Wolf Den and then the Karst Loop. For an XC rider from Dallas, I was in Heaven. Would love to go back and do that one again. Tons of fun and quick enough for us to get a ride it, get cleaned up, and be back in Dallas before dinner.

    Overal, we had a great time, learned a lot, and will definitely be going back. As others have said, carry plenty of water and ride early/late if possible. Enjoy you trip.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbailey74 View Post
    Hi Hogfly!


    What bug spray do you recommend?
    Anything with DEET is good. A lot of people treat their socks or pads with permethrin which seems to be effective. You don't want prolonged skin contact, though. There are some natural remedies as well.

    An ounce of prevention really helps though. Be aware of where you're ridine and stopping. Try to avoid overgrown areas, especially fields with grasses. If you stop to take a break or wait on others, try to stop somewhere that isn't overgrown. If you're riding throw singletrack where you're brushing against a lot of grasses or bushes, know that you probably need to check yourself. Be sure to thoroughly check yourself at end of the day when you shower.


    Yes, freedom to go anywhere in a 2 hour radius from Fayetteville.
    I'd highly recommend Mt. Nebo. An overnight there would be spectacular (they have cabins for rent but also offer camping.. which would probably be miserably hot. Tent in Arkansas in July is no bueno). It's also doable as a day trip. They've just opened those trails, and they're fantastic. You'll find a wide mix of trails there from nice greens to more technical blues/black with large features.

    This would also put the Buffalo Headwaters in the mix, which is an IMBA epic. I probably wouldn't recommend this in July, though. It's long, remote, and overgrown in the summer. Really great trail system that's truly epic... but probably not for this trip.

    IF you could overnight in Eureka Springs, I would say to hit both Leatherwood and Passion Play in a two day adventure. It's an hour drive to Eureka from Fayetteville, though, so also not too bad to do day trips over there. Leatherwood is our only shuttled "downhill" park. It's fantastic with a good variety of skill levels.

    Passion Play is also in Eureka Springs. Some really innovative and interesting trail building there. Also don't miss the Fossil Flats addition that they've added to Passion Play.

    If you want to really challenge yourself, the Buffalo Outdoor Center trails at Ponca are unlike anything else we have in Arkansas. You'll need to pay for a shuttle (or self-shuttle). Lots of steep rock rolls, big drops, and steep, chunky descents (and there are some easier trails as well, but this place is challenging and awesome).

    Finally... it's over a 2 hour drive... but Hot Springs (Northwoods trails) is pretty awesome. It's probably one of my favorite trail systems, because the natural beauty is very different from NWA. Might be further than you want to drive, but worth considering if you get bored of all the rest of the awesome.

    That covers most of the areas that are distanced from Fayetteville, now for the stuff close by:

    Fayetteville;
    If you're staying in Fayetteville, I'll highly recommend Gregory Park. It's a 1 mile XC loop, but it has two very fun flow trails there. It's perfect for a day when you don't have a lot of time to ride and want to just go grab some laps for an hour or so early in the morning or evening.

    Mt. Kessler is a legendary "old school" zone that offers some of the chunkiest singletrack around. Highly technical climbs and descents with great views. Highlight trails: *Spellbound*, Crazy Mary, Chinkapin Oak, Terrapin Station, Last Call.

    There's also Mt. Sequoyah and Lake Fayetteville, but they're not fantastic. Lake Wedington trails are good and offer opportunity for a swim afterwards (if park is open), but once again... not sure it's a highlight.

    Bentonville/Bella Vista:
    Enough has been written about these systems, but I'll give a quick rundown.

    Coler MTB Preserve: amazing purpose-built area with a dedicated staff. All kinds of trail there. The "Hub" (Not to be confused with the Hub Bike Lounge, which is a bar/lounge/bike shop) drops into four different trails: Fireline (great easier flow trail), Cease and Desist (harder flow jump trail), Rock Solid and Rock Soft (technical descent trails). One the South side of Coler, you have Thunderdome (dual slalom trail), Family Flow (really fun flow trail) and Here's Johnny (technical trail). You have two XC loops, Esther's Loop and Oscar's Loop which kind of circle the West and East sides, respectively, as well.

    Slaughter Pen: too much to name.

    Back 40: XC loop, not all that challenging and not packed with features, but really fun and a great distance. The Ledges is the highlight, and it's a technical optional loop with lots of rock and exposure.

    Little Sugar: XC Loop is Tunnel Vision. More features and more climbing/descending than Back 40, but of a similar flavor. The two can be joined together for an epic day (probably not recommended due to heat at this time of year).

    Hobbs State Park: it's out East of everything, but it's another Monument Trail. Also offers swim opportunities. Really beautiful singletrack XC that's organic and feels very "natural." Rogue Trails (who also built part of Little Sugar) like to really work with the terrain and natural environment, making for a really organic feel to their trails.

    I could probably go on, but that's enough trail description. I will say that each system has a Facebook page, you can access by searching "System Name + Trail Conditions." So if you search "Slaughter Pen Trail Conditions," you'll find a Facebook group that provides descriptions of what's happening and discusses the trails in general. People will be happy to answer your specific questions there, as all of these groups are really active.

    If you're looking for a guide, I highly recommend Dustin Slaughter at Slaughter Pen Guides. He can shuttle, coach, and make sure that you get the most bang for your buck out of a day of riding. If you're going to do a guide day, I'd recommend that for Eureka Springs, specifically Passion Play. The trails are awesome, but they can be confusing. And it's easy to go over there and miss out on a lot of the good stuff or end up climbing a bunch of harder trails and descending trails that aren't as great. Having someone who knows how to "Loop" the trails there will really increase your enjoyment.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  10. #10
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    I'm a local (inside city limits). Like everyone else mentioned, this area can get HOT, and the weather changes a lot because of our location. Depending on the trail, there may/may not be hydration, cell phone coverage or restrooms available.

    Depending on your style (and bike), there's something for everyone here. I suggest that if you're not sure what you want, start at blowing springs and take the upper loop from the parking lot. If you want more distance, then Back 40 is certainly the ticket. Not only is it from the same parking lot, but you can take take large chunks of it without taking the entire 20-ish mile outer loop. It's great scenery, especially out near lake Anne dam. The mountain spring is COLD all year round (in the North parking-lot), enjoy cooling off in it after the ride!!

    In town, Coler is a real gem, with everything from black diamond, face-scrunching tech to simple flow to OMG trail-clearing hang-time jumps. Highly suggest exploring it.

    Mark
    E-R on Speed-Dial!

  11. #11
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    Thanks Hogfly for the in depth review of the area!

    Tomorrow I'll be out at Beaver Lake for the next two days so I'll be hitting up Hobbs and Karst to get my XC fitness and then I'll head out to Slaughter and Coler. I'll probably be hitting Slaughter and Coler every other day and mix in Kessler one day and Gregory Park. I'm staying pretty close to Gregory Park.

    Next week I'll head to Euerka for a day or two and most likely grab a guide there like you suggested. I want to condense my riding out there for sure.

    I'm certain my Ibis Ripmo will be the bike for all the terrain in NWA..

  12. #12
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    Thanks Malucky.. Blowing Springs sounds great for me to add to Back 40. My fitness is high and I love climbing. Excited to check out Coler too. It' going to be really cool to be able to jump in a spring or lake. We only have the ocean in San Diego!

  13. #13
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    Thanks Jake. I'll definitely take your advice on driving to the trails v. pedaling to the trails. Even though I'm here for awhile I still have father duties so I'll need to maximize all of my riding hours.

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