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IMBA Trail Labs

IMBA Trail Labs

In 2018, IMBA will host two, in-depth and hands-on workshops designed to catalyze the next generation of great places to ride mountain bikes. Trail Labs attendees will learn what it takes to create a model trail community and return home with a substantive plan for how to make it happen. Beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas, a silver-level IMBA Ride Center, will play host to this year’s Trail Labs.

Made possible by the Walton Family Foundation and Visit Bentonville

Want to create a great place to ride? We can help.


IMBA Trail Labs are two-day intensive workshops during which IMBA staff and local experts and stakeholders lead participants through the recipe for a model community trail system: planning, design, building, activation, promotion and measuring success. Attendees will also get a firsthand look at components of an intentional and diverse mountain bike trails community. 

People who should attend are land managers, tourism and recreation professionals, community officials and local trail organizations. In addition to providing you with the knowledge you need to get started making great trails happen locally, we will also help you identify the specific next steps needed to bring more trails to your own backyards. 

Scholarships will be available for those representing “trail deserts” — places with little to no trails or mountain biking — particularly where there are opportunities to affect greater diversity, equity and inclusion. More information on scholarship opportunities coming soon.

The first Trail Lab will be held June 20–22, 2018 with the second following in October. Following the three hosted in Bentonville, future Trail Labs will branch out to other communities across the country in 2019.

Why NW Arkansas?

Arkansas is home to three IMBA Ride Centers (including Bentonville) and five IMBA EPICS. Not only do the Ozarks provide a beautiful landscape for creating trails, multiple cities and towns have embraced integrating mountain bike trail systems into their communities in ways that serve as models for locations nationwide. In addition to amazing and varied singletrack and bike parks, there are additional amenities and paved bike path connectors that make Arkansas a special place to live and visit as a mountain biker. 

What to expect: a sample schedule


Day one theme: The recipe for a model community trail system


Planning sessions

  • Community planning and coordination
  • Building a dream team of experts and specialists
  • Developing the plan
  • Finding the funding

Design sessions

  • Developing the desired mountain biking experience
  • Understanding what mountain bikers want
  • Phasing in your plan
  • Signage and risk management

Building sessions

  • Finalizing the design and balancing desires with reality
  • Construction contracting
  • Crafting procedural documentation
  • Engaging professional help

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by an optional group ride and dinner on your own.

Day two theme: If you built it, will they come?


Activation sessions

  • Creating a plan for sustainability
  • Developing a programming strategy to take full advantage of the trails
  • Celebrating the grand opening
  • Adding natural-surface trail elements for spice
  • Activating and engaging partners
  • Developing new riders (skills clinics)

Promotion sessions

  • Getting community support for the project
  • Developing maps and websites
  • Hosting events, festivals and races

Measurement sessions

  • Evaluating the impact of the trail facility
  • Trail counters and on-site surveys
  • Tracking volunteer hours
  • Data collection and management
  • Using data to improve the trail system

Afternoon tour of various mountain biking facilities, followed by a 1.5-hour planning session where each attendee will draft a plan for their community’s trail project. Plans must utilize the six core ingredients (plan, design, build, activate, promote, measure). 


Sign up

The inaugural IMBA Trail Labs takes place June 20-22 in Bentonville, AR, during IMBA’s Dirty 30--a celebration of 30 years of mountain biking and the people who make it happen. The cost to attend is $300, which includes all registration fees, breakfast and lunch, shuttles for field workshops and evening festivities. When registration opens, we will make a public announcement and add the link, below, with additional details. 

Register now!

Enjoy Bentonville, Arkansas



  • Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Bentonville
  • Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma
  • Springfield National Airport, Missouri 

Do not fly into Little Rock, AR, if you can avoid it. It’s a much longer drive than the other options. 

Greyhound Shuttles

From Springfield, MO, and Tulsa, OK, to Bentonville/Rogers, AR
From $30.00 to $60.00
Book on the Greyhound website


Bentonville is a great destination for foodies; the Wall Street Journal named Bentonville as one of its up-and-coming culinary scenes in 2014. Menus change as the harvest changes. Farm-to-table culture is a big part of Bentonville's unique offerings. 


Enjoy a revitalized downtown square, historic areas, world-class art museums, and an abundance of paved-path and single track bicycling options. Explore all that Bentonville has to offer.


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Our vision is that everyone has a place to ride a mountain bike. You can help make that happen!
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