The Womble Epic
Montgomery County, Arkansas
Consider a 39-mile singletrack that rolls east-west along an Arkansas mountain ridge, following the course of the Ouachita River. The trail begins at one lake (North Fork) and ends at another (Ouachita). It passes through the thick hardwoods and dark pines of the Ouachita National Forest, opening occasionally to spectacular bluffs above the river. This is rolling terrain - ranging between 1,000 and 1,600 feet in elevation - but it all adds up. How do six hours of riding and 6,000 feet of climbing sound? Pretty good to us, which is why we've designated this Womble Trail as an IMBA Epic.
Mountain bikers discovered the Womble, overgrown and barricaded with downed trees and rockslides, in the mid-eighties. Today the Womble is complete, marked and signed, and shared by mountain bikers and hikers. So get out your U.S. atlas. Look for Hot Springs, Arkansas, southwest of Little Rock. Move your index finger about a half inch to the left: bingo! Read up on crystals, because there are a couple veins along the Womble. Get ready for a big backcountry adventure. Whatever you do, don't say O-Cheeta: it's Wash-i-tah.
Location: The Womble Epic is located in the Ouachita National Forest near Mount Ida, Arkansas.
Length: 33 miles
Elevation: 1,000 to 1,600 ft
Climbing: 6,000 ft
Terrain: 95% packed dirt and clay singletrack, through hardwood and pine forests along the Ouachita river
Season: Year-round; generally dry trailbed that can be wet in spring; high heat and humidity in summer
Details: Ouachita National Forest, 501-321-5202
Club: Ozark Off Road Cyclists, 501-582-3472, email:
Shop: Parkside Cycle, Hot Springs, 501-623-6188
Lodging: Hot Springs Visitors Info, 1-800-543-2284, http://www.hotsprings.org
Must do: Visit the Buckstaff Bathhouse, the one hot spring spa still in operation on Bathhouse Row.
Question to ponder: What's a Womble?