There's nothing quite as refreshing as the great outdoors, especially after sheltering in place for so long. You're in for an extra big treat when you live in Northwest Arkansas because you get to experience the lush hills, breathtaking waterfalls, sprawling lakes, and hidden hollows of the Ozarks. All of us at Buffington Homes believe Northwest Arkansas is the best place to live, work, and play. And around here, "play" definitely includes riding a bike.
Northwest Arkansas has become an outdoor playground for mountain bikers from across the globe. Thanks to generous funding, organizations like Bike NWA and Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers, and initiatives such as OZ Trails, our region has blazed some of the best trails (paved and off-road) for cycling and mountain biking.
Locals aren't the only ones who love and appreciate our trails. Northwest Arkansas has received recognition from some of the most prestigious and well-known biking institutions. Our region has become the first-ever Regional Ride Center by IMBA, with Bentonville being named as the current host city for their Trail Labs. Fayetteville is the host of the 2020 Pan-American Cyclocross Championships as well as the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships.
Our impressive trails have even gained the attention of London-based cycling company Rapha. For 15 years, Rapha has been making the world's finest cycling clothing. They recently announced they will be expanding into mountain bike apparel and moving their North American headquarters from Portland, Oregon to Bentonville within the year.
What's notable about the trail networks in Northwest Arkansas is that they're built with progression in mind. That means there's something fun and accessible for every level of rider. Whether you're looking for a shred fest or just a smooth ride, here are plenty of trails to choose from.
Want a shortlist of great trails? We've rounded up the best rides in the region!
Razorback Regional Greenway is a 36-mile, primarily off-road, shared-use trail that connects the downtown areas of Fayetteville, Springdale, Lowell, Rogers, and Bentonville. This includes rolling through arts and entertainment districts, playgrounds, and neighborhoods. In fact, Buffington Homes has two new communities that will link directly into the Greenway Trail. Plans are in the works for Lochmoor Estates and Preston Park to both have trail access, making these communities a bike-lovers' dream.
If you're a skilled mountain biker, you have to check out the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, which is about a mile west of downtown and features eight different lines starting from a central hub. The hub is a 300-acre zone best known for its 20-foot-tall steel and wood structure. It lets riders drop into the Cease and Desist jump line, the jagged gardens of Rock Solid, and the more mellow Rock Soft Trail.
Slaughter Pen is a 40-mile loop primarily used for mountain biking and backs right up to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The trails are fast, flowy, and contain enough technical features to make it hard. For added mileage, you can link into Blowing Springs in Bella Vista.
Blowing Springs trails are in the southern part of town and are known to be fast, flowy, and contain more technical features than Slaughter Pen. The trails include caves, waterfalls, springs, and a 30-foot bridge that drops from a rock shelf to connect to the trail below. Blowing Springs is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners throughout the year. The loop is roughly six miles and feeds into Slaughter Pen.
On the west side of I-49 is the new Little Sugar trail system. It's named after Little Sugar Creek, which borders the eastern boundary of the Tunnel Vision trail right before the route plunges into the hollers and ravines native to the Ozarks. The 25-mile loop, combined with 14 miles of trail that opened just last year, provides nearly 40 miles of soft-surface riding with at least 10 additional miles to come by the end of the year.
Lake Atalanta Trail circles a spring-fed lake in Rogers, taking you through the lush Ozark forest. Also located in Rogers is the Railyard Bike Park with world-class dirt jumps, wood ramps, and 20-foot gaps. Located only blocks from the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad, some of the obstacles are made from recycled trains. The park accommodates riders of all skill levels.
The natural rock formations at Fitzgerald Mountain serve as major features along this trail, which is located near Bayyari Park in Springdale. The trail is beautiful with a scenic bluff overlook and is fun for cyclists of all skill levels. According to OZ Trails, the network currently adds up to 11 miles. Yet, the technical terrain, rocky descents, and punchy climbs make it feel more like 20.
Lake Fayetteville is on the north side of town and is accessible year-round. There's a paved multi-use trail as well as a soft surface natural trail that's 6.9 miles long and loops around 194 acres of water. This trail is family-friendly and a great place to get in a quick ride. It's primarily used for mountain biking and trail running. The area is quite scenic and includes hardwood forest, waterfall, and native wildflowers.
Mount Kessler is a unique, rocky, and challenging trail with some wonderful scenery. Nine miles of rocky singletrack loop around this urban mountain in Fayetteville. It's home to the Kessler Mountain Jam, a family-friendly mountain biking event that's part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (AMBCS).
Looking to enjoy some history? Devil's Den State Park features one of the oldest mountain bike trails in the State of Arkansas and consists of both machine and hand-built trails. Located nearly 30 miles south of Fayetteville, Devil's Den hosts to the annual Northwest Arkansas Championship mountain bike race in the fall and a mountain bike festival each spring.
Trails across Northwest Arkansas are constantly being updated and expanded. OZ Trails is your best bet if you want the latest news on routes and even trail conditions.
More than anything, we hope you're able to get outside soon to enjoy all that our region has to offer. With great weather all year long, a variety of terrain, miles of trails, and natural beauty at every turn, Northwest Arkansas has everything you want in a biking destination – as well as a forever home. When you're ready to build a life you'll love, we're here to help!