Just a few hour south of Kansas City is a mountain bikers paradise in Bentonville, Arkansas. And there’s a reason that Bentonville is quickly becoming known as the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World.” In addition to offering riders of all skill levels more than 40 miles of trails, the city is located near another 250 miles of OZ Trails (dirt ribbon) that run through the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Bikers get to enjoy challenging rides, rugged terrain, and cool obstacles in what can truly be described as an outdoor lover’s paradise!
Bentonville offers riders world-class mountain bike trails that can be enjoyed year-round. In fact, the area hosts several mountain biking festivals that attract riders from all over the world who come to compete on both city and regional trail networks:
- Coler MTB Preserve
- Slaughter Pen
- OZ Trails Northwest Arkansas
In addition to these incredible mountain bike trails, the city’s streets are very pedestrian and bike-friendly. It’s quite common to see people casually riding around town – especially near the square. Bentonville is also home to some really cool bike shops – like Phat Tire and Mojo Cycling – that rent and sell bicycles. Their staff are also very helpful and knowledgeable about trail conditions and recommending rides. (They are happy to answer your questions even if you aren’t a customer).
Coler MTB Preserve
You are likely familiar with wildlife and nature preserves. Well, now riders can experience a one of a kind mountain bike preserve at Coler Park about a mile west of the Bentonville square. The bike park features more than 17 miles of trails to accommodate every skill level from beginner to advanced! For example, the area known as Westside is good for beginner and intermediate riders – while the Eastside is geared more toward advanced and professional riders.
As a premiere recreational destination, Coler Mountain Bike Preserve pushes the envelope when it comes to experiencing mountain biking and trails:
- Flyover Trails
- Challenging Obstacle Courses
- Jump Features
- Multiple Jump Lines
- Technical Downhill Lines
Furthermore, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting surrounded by the scenic Ozark Mountains. Plus, Coler MTB Preserve connects into the OZ Trails for even more natural-surface trails.
You can even bring a tent to camp at Coler MTB Preserve after a full day of riding. (You just have to reserve a campsite from the Peel Compton Foundation on their website). The park’s facilities include wooden platforms for tents, restrooms, showers, and a community fire pit. Plus, you are just a quick ride from the downtown Bentonville – where you can find lots of local restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops.
Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park
Slaughter Pen offers riders more of an urban mountain bike experience on 40 miles of trails that run alongside the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway near the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In fact, riders can take in great views of the museum’s stunning architecture and its outdoor art exhibits. (If you are an art lover, you can park your bike and tour the museum for free).
Slaughter Pen is actually a system of trails that range in difficulty from beginner to expert:
- All-American Trail
- Seed Tick Shuffle Trail
- Scott Allen Alley Trail
- Medusa Trail
There are also several miles of connector trails to take riders to different areas of the system. Slaughter Pen is described as a recreational destination that offers something for everyone:
- Large Berms
- Technical Rocks
- Numerous Jumps
- Flow Trails
- Wooden Bridges Over Creeks
- Premiere Obstacle Courses
The cool thing about the Slaughter Pen system is that new trails are continually being built. The system is actually being built in phases (currently in Phase III). Therefore, if you haven’t been in a while, you’ll likely find a new section or obstacle to ride through.
Unlike Coler MTB Preserve, the Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park doesn’t offer camping. However, there are some nearby campgrounds in Bella Vista – like Blowing Springs.
The Slaughter Pen system is really easy to access via the Razorback Greenway at several points around Bentonville. Furthermore, the system connect into the OZ Trails that run north into Bella Vista for even more riding adventures.
OZ Trails Northwest Arkansas
If you are looking for even more mountain bike trails than what the city of Bentonville offers, then you are in luck! The OZ Trails offer another 250 miles of dirt ribbon and adventure for riders to experience around Northwest Arkansas.
The OZ Trails are actually a network of several trail systems made up of the ones mentioned above, as well as systems in other cities throughout the region:
- Bella Vista
The OZ Trails are a great way to experience the scenic beauty of the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. Plus, they offer a really good workout! Many of the trails – like on the Bella Vista Back 40 – take riders high up on bluffs, along the edges of steep cliffs, across creeks, and through thick forests.
You can learn more about the Northwest Arkansas mountain biking scene – and why it’s gaining so much popularity as a recreational destination with both locals and visitors alike.
Mountain Biking Capital of the World
You don’t have to be an expert rider to enjoy Bentonville’s world-class mountain bike trails. (I promise that not all of them look this challenging). In fact, many families enjoy taking casual rides together around town on the city’s bike-friendly streets, as well as the Razorback Greenway that’s just a block east of the square.
If you are interested in competing against other riders, check out the Bentonville Bike Fest, as well as other mountain biking festivals held in the area. Riders can take part in the Square 2 Square Bike Ride from the Bentonville Square to the Fayetteville Square (or vice-versa) that follows the Razorback Greenway.
Experiencing Bentonville’s mountain bike trails might help you discover a new career as a professional rider – or at the very least a fun way to experience the outdoors!