Mountain View, AR
Nestled in the Sylamore District of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, the Syllamo Trail is one the finest purpose-built mountain bike trail systems in the country. Arranged in four intertwined loops, the 50 miles of trail provides options for an all-day epic, or for shorter tours.
The terrain offers something for everyone: plenty of rolling singletrack invites the less experienced riders, but those same trails, when ridden at speed, get fast, furious and fun. The technical limestone block sections and the burly rock steps will widen the eyes of seasoned riders.
Note that the county is "dry", which means they may not sell your favorite post-ride beverage. Come prepared with a full cooler, or plan on visiting the closest out-of-county store, located 15 minutes from the camping area.
Location: Ozark-St. Francis National Forest (Sylamore District), Mountain View, Arkansas
Additional info: Friends of the Syllamo Trail (FOST)
Map: Map of the trails can be found here
Length: Approximately 50 miles
Terrain: Moderate-to-fast, flowing singletrack, climbs of up to 600 ft, technical rock sections, limestone slickrock.
Directions: Expect a two-hour drive from Little Rock. Take I-40 W/US 65 N. Leave I-40 at exit 125, US 65 North. After about 40 miles, veer right onto AR-9. Follow AR-9 for 35 miles, until you reach the town of Mountain View. Here pick up AR-5/AR-14 North. Access the trails from several trailheads along or just off AR-5: Syllamo Trailhead on Arkansas Highway 5, the White River Bluff or Scrappy Mountain trailheads on Green Mountain Road.
Best Season: Spring and fall. The riding can be good as early as February.
Point of interest: Every night, weather permitting, world-class folk musicians play in the town square of neighboring Mountain View, for nothing but the pure joy of it. Blanchard Caverns and the Ozark Folk Center are also great attractions.
Lodging: There are a number of bed and breakfasts and motels in Mountain View.
Camping: Blanchard Springs Campground
Photos courtesy of Jill Van Winkle and Chris Bernhardt