At one time, all bicycles were, really, “dirt bikes.” In cycling’s earliest days, wheelmen—and women--followed uneven gravel roads and rough paths to get from point “a” to point “b” and for the sheer joy of the ride. Today, many cyclists have rediscovered the fun and challenges of unpaved riding, and Arkansas’s state parks offer a variety of such opportunities.
You could spend a couple of days checking out all of the great Arkansas mountain biking trails.
There are trails rides for people of all skill levels—everything from good beginner mountain bike trails like the Fern Hollow Trail at White Oak Lake State Park in Southwest Arkansas to The Jackfork Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, an advanced technical trail in Central Arkansas.
The Delta Heritage Trail, a state park venture, is a crushed limestone rail-to-trail path that when completed will offer a nearly eighty-five mile “gravel grinding” ride through the historic and scenic heart of the state’s southeastern quarter.
Two staffers at Devil’s Den State Park helped organize the state’s first mountain bike gathering, the Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, at Devil’s Den in 1989. Today, our state has a popular series of mountain bike races through the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series.
We are reminded of our state’s mountain biking history and resources when we come to the Capitol. This summer, the Arkansas State Capitol’s first-floor galleries feature “Let’s Ride: Mountain Biking in the State Parks of Arkansas,” a celebration of adventurous cycling around the Natural State.
Created by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism in collaboration with the Secretary of State’s office, “Let’s Ride” highlights the state parks’ connection to the beginnings of mountain biking in Arkansas.
“Let’s Ride” includes scenes from and information about trails statewide. The exhibit also includes one cycle used in the 1989 Devil’s Den event.
“Let’s Ride: Mountain Biking in the State Parks of Arkansas” will remain on display in the Arkansas Capitol’s first-floor galleries through Labor Day. To learn more about mountain biking opportunities in the state parks, visit: www.arkansasstateparks.com/biking
and to see an overview of the exhibit visit: https://youtu.be/LX91u2q3iSE.