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Top 10 Bike Trails in Arkansas

Map of top 10 trails to bike in Arkansas.

Arkansas is a top destination for world-class biking trails. Whether you’re into mountain biking or road cycling, this state is incredibly bike-friendly. In our list of top 10 places to cycle in the Natural State, you’ll find something for all kinds of cyclists and all ability levels. So, what are you waiting for? Dig in and start exploring!

1. Ouachita National Recreation Trail – Mena, AR

Ouachita National Recreation Trail - Mena, AR

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a massive 223-mile cycling adventure. In its entirety, it stretches from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas. The longest trail in the Ouachita National Forest, this mountain biking route features segments of thick, forested mountain terrain and sweeping valleys and makes its way across clear, trickling streams. It also features spur trails that provide easy connections to nearby recreation areas. Although well-maintained, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is lightly traveled, so make sure to pack plenty of supplies, food, and water as it is relatively remote.

Tips: Several shelters are evenly spaced throughout this route, providing coverage and protection from inclement weather. The trail is also well-marked with signage.

2. The Arkansas River Trail – Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas River Trail - Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas River Trail is an 88-mile multi-use loop trail that passes through Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, and Conway. Along the way, you’ll pass the expansive 1,000-acre Two Rivers Park, featuring wooded wetlands and additional trails to explore. Along with the Two Rivers Park Bridge, you’ll also cycle over several other notable bridges, including the Big Dam Bridge over the Arkansas River, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, and the Junction Bridge. Another trail highlight is Burns Park, a 1,700-acre park in North Little Rock, featuring outdoor recreation activities like disc golf, camping, sports fields, an archery range, and multi-use cycling trails.

Tips: Portions of this trail are still under construction, and detours can make the route confusing at times. Watch the signage closely, and bring a map along with you!

3. Lake Ouachita Vista (LOViT) – Mount Ida, AR

Lake Ouachita Vista (LOViT) - Mount Ida, AR

The LOViT Trail is a relatively new mountain biking route that starts near Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Little Blakey Dam and ends at Shangri-La Resort. An IMBA Epic and an expert-made trail, this 40-mile singletrack adventure offers plenty of challenging climbs paired with incredible scenery all along the way. Of course, you can also anticipate plenty of amazing downhills for a thrilling experience you’ll want to repeat over and over. Beginners will enjoy the western end of the trail near the Shangri-La Resort. Otherwise, the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is ideal for riders of all levels and offers a little bit of everything you could want in a mountain biking route.

Tips: If you plan to stay in the area, check out the Hot Springs area for great dining options, relaxing spas, and restful lodging.

4. Wye Mountain Loop – Little Rock, AR

Wye Mountain Loop - Little Rock, AR

The Wye Mountain Loop is a 37-mile loop that encircles Lake Maumelle. A challenging hill climb, this cycling route is a popular one in Central Arkansas and is one of the best ways to experience Wye Mountain. Although it does require cycling along the busy Highway 10, an early morning ride will provide stunning views and an exciting, fast descent with minimal vehicle traffic. As you ride, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the lake, pretty wildflowers (particularly in the spring), and a fantastic workout along a route that’s great for group rides!

Tips: After completing the loop, check out the beautiful nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Park for more outdoor recreation activities and trails to explore.

5. Razorback Regional Greenway – Fayetteville to Bentonville, AR

Razorback Regional Greenway - Fayetteville to Bentonville, AR

The Razorback Regional Greenway is a fun way to explore Northwest Arkansas on two wheels. The trail encompasses about two dozen individual trails and meanders past several lakes and through parks and local attractions between Fayetteville and Bentonville. As you cycle this trail system, you’ll pass plenty of highlights, including landmarks like the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, and the Pinnacle Hills Promenade shopping center in Rogers. Additional outdoor adventures await at Lake Fayetteville, Lake Springdale, and Lake Bella Vista, all located along the route.

Tips: Most of this trail is off-road, but a few short sections run along the sidewalk or a protected bike lane on the road.

6. Village Creek State Park – Wynne, AR

Village Creek State Park - Wynne, AR

Village Creek State Park is home to 7,000 acres of stunning forest landscape with more than 33 miles of multi-use trails. The park also features campgrounds with cabins, pavilions, picnic areas, indoor and outdoor theaters, a small museum, and a visitor center with a gift shop. Some of the more popular mountain biking trails in this state park include Deer Run Trail (4.5 miles), South Ridge Trail (4.8 miles), and Beech Valley Trail, which has several loops and connectors to explore.

Tips: At this state park, you can also walk along a section of the Trail of Tears used by the Cherokee, Choctaws, Creeks, and Chickasaws when they were forcibly relocated.

7. Mount Nebo State Park – Dardanelle, AR 

Mount Nebo State Park - Dardanelle, AR 

Mount Nebo State Park is one of Arkansas’ premier mountain biking destinations. Located in the heart of the Arkansas River Valley, this state park is ideal for finding rugged, technical trails to conquer. A 25-mile Monument trail system, Mount Nebo State Park features everything from stunning pine forest scenery to waterfalls, rock gardens, and plenty of uphill and downhill thrills. The trails offer extensive features, great flow, and some pretty advanced routes that will challenge even the best cyclists who’ve been at it for years. While you’re here, make sure you bike some of the most popular routes, including the Sunrise Loop, Lizard Tail, Hayes Creek Run, and Chickalah Downhill.

Tips: There is a local bike shop in Russellville if you need supplies or repair services, and Dardanelle is home to several local restaurants where you can refuel after your ride.

8. Delta Heritage Trail – Helena-West Helena, AR

Delta Heritage Trail - Helena-West Helena, AR

The Delta Heritage Trail is a 44.4-mile rail trail that winds through remote and scenic parts of eastern Arkansas’s Mississippi Delta. As you ride along its crushed limestone surface, you’ll pass through thickly forested segments featuring native hardwoods and running streams and soak up the scenery alongside massive fields of crops. The northern section of the trail encompasses 20.6 miles from Lexa to Elaine, and the southern portion stretches 23.8 miles from Watson to Arkansas City. With eight different trailheads, 24-hour restrooms, primitive campsites, and even a visitor center and gift shop along the route at the Barton Trailhead, this route is an excellent option for cyclists of all skill levels.

Tips: This trail is still in progress, but once completed, it will stretch nearly 85 miles through southeast Arkansas.

9. Iron Mountain – Arkadelphia, AR

Mountain bikers

Iron Mountain is another exceptional mountain biking destination in Arkansas, located on Lake Degray in Arkadelphia. If there’s one area you visit in Arkansas for mountain biking, this should be it! Featuring miles of incredibly flowy trails, you can expect the routes to be well-maintained with gorgeous lake views, exhilarating descents, and lots of tough climbs. The orange and blue loops follow the hillsides along the shores of the lake and are wider. The green and yellow routes feature more strenuous climbs and thrilling descents, making for a challenging yet rewarding biking experience you’ll never forget.

Tips: The Iron Mountain MTB Marathon is held annually and is known to be a legendary race. It is a USA Cycling-sanctioned race with categories for all ages and levels if you’re up to the challenge.

10. Riding the Ridge – Newport, AR

Cyclists on a road

This 194-mile loop is a popular route among Arkansas cyclists, and it features a stop in Walnut Ridge, the only place in the Natural State where the Beatles toured. As a moderately easy ride, most people can complete this loop in about 3 to 4 days, even with plenty of fun pit stops along the way. As you ride from Newport to Piggott and back again, you’ll start on Highway 367, which becomes Highway 67, known as the “Rock ‘n Roll Highway.” At one point, it led to local joints that hosted rock stars like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley in the 1950s and 60s. As you cycle the route, you’ll ride through small communities like Jonesboro, Peach Orchard, Knobel, Greenway, Rector, Marmaduke, and others, offering plenty of chances to stop, rest, and explore the local amenities. You’ll also experience Crowley’s Ridge along this route, a unique geological formation created by water, ice, and wind over a 50-million-year period. Otherwise, the trail leads you along a landscape filled with stunning hardwood bottomlands, rushing rivers, trickling streams, and pleasant fields of farmlands.

Tips: Consider taking some time to tour the Pfeiffer House and the Hemingway Barn Studio in Piggott. Ernest Hemingway wrote part of “A Farewell to Arms” and several other short stories at this location, and they’ve been restored to their original appearance in the 1930s.

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Sources:

  1. http://ouachitamaps.com/OT.html 
  2. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_039448.pdf
  3. https://www.arkansas.com/little-rock/outdoors-nature/arkansas-river-trail
  4. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd507702.pdf
  5. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7000356/lake-ouachita-vista-lovit-hickory-nut-mountain-to-crystal-springs
  6. https://www.arkansas.com/little-rock/sports-recreation/wye-mountain-loop
  7. https://www.traillink.com/trail/razorback-regional-greenway/
  8. https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8007096/village-creek-state-park
  9. https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/mount-nebo-state-park
  10. https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/trails/monument-trails/mount-nebo-state-park
  11. https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/delta-heritage-trail-state-park
  12. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/836866/iron-mountain-mountain-bike-trails
  13. https://www.deltabyways.com/cycling/ride-the-ridge/
  14. https://www.arkansas.com/newport/sports-recreation/riding-ridge

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