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.
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 as a premiere biking destination thanks to 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.
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. This area is also widely revered for its stunning daffodil fields, so come here in the spring for a real treat.
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 entire state. You’ll breeze past stunning waterfalls tucked way in old-growth hardwood forests, 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—so come prepared.
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. This IMBA Epic route will see you tackling five different mountains across its length, so expect to get a good workout in.
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.