SPORTS: “I Like To Bike” Destinations!
photographs by Tim Schultz
For those of you who’ve ridden the Womble Trail, tackled the Syllamo and pedaled across the Big Dam Bridge, and are now seeking new places to ride, here are several for your consideration:
Slaughter Pen Hollow:
a 16-mile trail in Bentonville for mountain bikers, with segments ranging from beginner to advanced. This network is rapidly becoming recognized as a classic among the biking community and a model for the rest of the state to follow. Check out slaughterpen.com for complete details.
Delta Heritage Trail:
a 14-mile stretch of compacted, crushed rock on a former railroad bed. This trail near Barton is perfect for mountain bikes and even road bikes with wider tires. Plus, a couple of times a year, state park staff will meet bikers at the Lake View trailhead and then lead them on a kayak tour through the towering cypress trees of Old Town Lake. For more information, log onto arkansasstateparks.com/deltaheritagetrail.
L&A Tri-County Trail:
a work-in-progress stretching from the Arkansas/Louisiana state line north toward Hope. Built on the old bed of the Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad, this trail is going to be 42-miles of beauty when it’s finished. Several segments are already open, including a 10-mile run from the state line north toward Taylor, which parallels Arkansas Highway 53.
The Jasper Disaster:
a 62-mile jaunt that will test your heart, lungs and legs. The route takes Arkansas 7 south out of Harrison to Jasper, then west on Highway 74 to Ponca, and then north on Highway 43 back to Harrison. Paved all the way, it’s perfect for desperate masochists wishing to traverse some of the prettiest — and steepest — scenery in the state. Go to harrisonarkansas.org/activities/biking.html for additional information.
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail:
an easy-to-difficult mountain bike trail on the south side of Lake Ouachita. Connecting resorts and campgrounds, the trail features rolling hills paired with several challenging climbs. Visit nearby Hot Springs National Park for a massage afterwards. More information is available at lakeouachitavistatrail.org.
The website of the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism has additional information on bicycling in The Natural State. Visit arkansas.com/outdoors/biking to download the handy Bicycling in Arkansas brochure.