By now it’s no secret that Northwest Arkansas has absolutely exploded with mountain bike trails over the past few years. The region is now home to over 200 miles (and counting) of singletrack. With zones like Kessler, The Back 40, Coler, and Slaughter Pen there is something in the area for all levels of riders. There is even a sidewalk flow trail in Bentonville, which may possibly be the coolest way imaginable for a little MTB grom to get to school.
All of the new trails and improved access has spurred the progression within the local mountain bike scene; riders can now work their way from foot-high drops to 12-footers like the “Hammer” at Coler. Naturally, riders continue to push the envelope and as they do, seek more challenging trail. The new trails in Eureka Springs, AR promise to answer that call.
The Lake Leatherwood downhill trail has been a highlight of the area for years, but is not as trafficked as one might think. Located in Eureka Springs, about an hour from NWA, the trail is well worth the commute as it offers some of the best gnar in the area.
With the help of some of the best elevation change in the region, the folks at OZ Trail are now working to take the zone to a whole new level.
Intended for riders of all levels, there are seven brand new trails being built in the Leatherwood area that utilize the same elevation variety that makes the existing trails so much fun. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of one of the more advanced trails a few months back and as soon as I dropped in I knew it was going to be awesome.
Featuring the Mongrel riding shorts & Nelson hemp tee.
The new trail had proper jumps with mandatory gaps, steep berms and seriously gnarly rock features that definitely require some skills to get through. Best enjoyed with shuttle laps and lots of snacks, the new trails should be all finished and ready to rip early this Summer 2018.
Eureka isn’t all rock drops and berms though, the town itself is also incredible. Rolling into Eureka Springs you feel like you're rolling back in time. You’ll find the grooviest people, eclectic shops, and lots of Led Zeppelin posters. This Ozark mountain town is perched along steep hillsides and dissected by wild rainbow staircases. Make sure to do a bit of cruising around, you never know what you might find.
The area makes for a great day trip from the rest of NWA and there's a campground at Lake Leatherwood that makes for an even better overnight trip. Once you're done riding and ready to grab some food make sure to swing by Aquarius and stuff your face with as many tacos as you can handle + an ice cold Michelada to wash them down.
Jimmy Smith is an FC athlete, avid MTB rider, & travel-die hard originally from the Ozark Mountain region. His favorite items from the Summer '18 collection include the Tosh Hemp Tee, Davey Shorts, and Morgan Hat. Follow his adventures - @its_jimmy | Photos by Joe Haeberle & Blk Elk.