Autumn Outdoor Fun and Adventure

The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor fun and adventure in NWA! Between mountain bike festivals, eagle watching on Beaver Lake, scenic motorcycle trails and byways, world-class bike trails, and our many lakes, rivers and parks – the opportunities are endless!

BIKE FESTIVALS:

Back 40 Fall for All Trail Festival, Sept. 2: Choose your passion along Bella Vista’s Back 40 trails: hiking, running, bike riding, or all three! Group rides led by Ozark Off-Road Cyclists and GPP Cycling start at 9 a.m. and include a skills course offered by the Friends of Arkansas Singletrack. Afterward, hang out at the festival area for music, food, face painting and more!

29th Annual NW Arkansas Mountain Bike Championships, Sept. 16: Bring your best off-road cycling skills to this annual mountain biking event at Devil’s Den State Park where rowdy XC riders are all in for a day of racing on courses designed for various skill levels. All races include laps on Racers Hill, while the Ride the Dam skilled course has tricky jumps over natural and manmade objects. Stick around for the awards ceremony and cookout with prizes, swag and food!

Coler Enduro Hosted by Oz Trails, Sept. 17: Presented by Bike Bentonville, this race combines the endurance of cross country and the technical features of a downhill race. Coler Trails are about a mile west of Bentonville on land designated as a mountain bike preserve. Technical sections include the Rock Solid line where you’ll blast through rock gardens and tight rock berms, while the Cease and Desist — the big boy jump line — will take you all the way down the mountain.

Slaughter Pen

Slaughter Pen Jam Mountain Bike Festival, Oct. 6-8: This annual festival is this largest XC race in Arkansas! The fun kicks off Friday evening on the Bentonville Square with a kids ride and a Monster Stunt Show, and moves over to Compton Gardens for a pre-race party, with more fun, music and food. It’s about bikes on Saturday morning as the festival opens at the bike park, followed by an archery biathalon. On Sunday, it’s the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series Race.

MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS:

Coler Preserve Trails in Bentonville: Coler Trails are about a mile west of downtown Bentonville on land designated as a mountain bike preserve. Features include flowy jump lines and challenging technical rocky sections that culminate near the top of a mountain. More at oztrailsnwa.com.

Slaughter Pen Bike Park in Bentonville: Slaughter Pen is the ideal urban off-road bike park. You get clean flow, major downhills and plenty of berms while cruising near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and other local hot spots. Visit oztrailsnwa.com.

Coler Trails

Lincoln Lake: Seven miles of hand-cut singletrack around Lake Lincoln and rocky tech will hone your skills with plenty of scenic overlooks and rock formations. Visit oztrailsnwa.com.

Mount Kessler Greenways in Fayetteville: These trails wind around rock formations and hillsides with expansive views of the Fayetteville city skyline. Visit mtkesslergreenways.com or oztrailsnwa.com.

Back 40 Trails in Bella Vista: Trails wind through wooded areas, past bluffs, caves and waterfalls, and down to the shore of Bella Vista’s Lake Ann. More at oztrailsnwa.com.

Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista: The six-mile loop features bluff faces and streams trickling down rocks. Connects to Slaughter Pen trail in Bentonville. More at oztrailsnwa.com.

The Railyard Bike Park in Rogers: One of the only parks of its kind in this part of the country, The Railyard is fully equipped with world-class dirt jumps, wooden ramps and a ride-thru railroad car. Visit rogersar.com or oztrailsnwa.com.

Trails at Lake Atalanta in Rogers: Ten miles of easy, intermediate and expert bike trails include fast singletrack with swooping bridges and gravity cavities. Visit rogersar.gov or oztrailsnwa.com.

Lake Leatherwood Trails in Eureka Springs: Make your way through miles of rock gardens and up the climb to Minor’s Rock, then descend through downhill switchbacks. More at eurekaspringstrails.com or oztrailsnwa.com.

Thunder Chicken Trail in Springdale: Features singletrack, flow, jumps, rollers, berms and drops, with a convenient location off Interstate 49. Visit nwatrails.org.

Thunder Chicken

Sager Creek Mountain Bike Trail in Siloam Springs: This new, five-mile trail runs along Sager Creek, opening into two different trail systems on the north and west sides of the John Brown University campus. Visit jbu.edu.

Lake Fayetteville Trails: A local favorite for beginners, Lake Fayetteville features seven miles of mostly flat trails around the lake in urban Fayetteville. Visit oztrailsnwa.com.

Hobbs State Park Trails: Nestled in a thick patch of pine trees this system provides some of the smoothest riding in the state and is your best bet if the weather is wet. Make sure to stop at the Beaver Lake overlook. Visit oztrailsnwa.com

­­

MOTORCYCLE TRAILS AND SCENIC BYWAYS:

NWA is home to some of the best trails and byways in this part of the country – perfect to take in the dazzling fall colors from the back of a motorcycle or the passenger seat of your car!

Top Motorcycle Trails: Eureka Springs is a hub for great the state’s top motorcycle rides, as is Rogers, and Fayetteville as host to the annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally on Sept. 20-23. Our bike-friendly region has numerous routes worthy of a ride, including Ark. 21, the Pig Trail (Ark. Hwy. 23), Beaver Town Bridge (Ark. Hwy. 187), and more. Visit arkansas.com.

Pig Trail

Scenic Byways: Nearby routes include the Pig Trail (Ark. Hwy. 23), Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway (Ark. Hwy. 21), Scenic 7 Byway, Scenic 71 Loop, and I-49 Scenic Byway. Others are Scenic Hwy. 12, U.S. 62, and Ark. Hwys. 123, 59, 43, and 74. Visit arkansas.com.

LAKES AND RIVERS:

Beaver Lake: NWA’s largest lake has key access points in or near Rogers, Eureka Springs and Springdale. There are 28,000 acres of clear water surrounded by beautiful forests, bluffs and meadows. Campgrounds, resorts, marinas, restaurants and outfitters are available.

Lake Wedington: Regularly stocked with fish, the 102-acre lake has a swim beach, air-conditioned cabins, playgrounds, volleyball courts, trails, a boat ramp and horseshoes.

Bella Vista Lakes: Bella Vista offers seven stunning lakes for fishing and water sports. Use of the lakes and facilities is available to all Bella Vista Village property owners and their guests.

White River: The White is home to a string of pools and shoals with overhanging trees, tight turns, and gravel bottoms among bluffs and forests. Below Beaver Dam, it’s a prime cold-water trout fishery with guides and outfitters available.

Kings River

Kings River: A top pick for canoeists and kayakers with about 50 miles of easy floating water. Deep pools provide first-rate fishing for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, rock bass and other fish.

Illinois River: This spring-fed, scenic-designated river starts in the northwest corner of Arkansas and streams into northeast Oklahoma. Near Siloam Springs, the Siloam Springs Kayak Park is a popular Class II play spot for kayakers year-round. Canoe and kayak outfitters, campsites, hiking and horseback riding trails and cabin rentals are available.

Holiday Island Marina & Campground: The campground overlooks the impressive Table Rock Lake straddling the Arkansas/Missouri border, and hosts 31 campsites with full water, sewer and electric hookups.

STATE AND NATIONAL PARKS:

Devil’s Den State Park: With 2,500 unspoiled acres adjoining the Ozark National Forest, Devil’s Den is a favorite for camping, hiking and horseback riding.

Devil’s Den

Hobbs State Park and Conservation AreaA massive park with more than 12,000 acres and 35 miles of hiking trails. Includes ADA accommodating routes.

Withrow Springs State Park: Hiking trails offer views of and access to War Eagle Creek, and canoeing includes a shuttle service for canoe rentals.

Prairie Grove Battlefield State ParkThe site of the last major Civil War battle in Northwest Arkansas on Dec. 7, 1862. Features a museum, visitor center, the one-mile Battlefield Trail and a five-mile driving tour.

Pea Ridge National Military Park: The site of the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 7-8, 1862. Spanning 4,300 acres, includes a visitor center and museum, a driving tour, and approximately 2.5 miles of the Trail of Tears.

EAGLE WATCH TOURS ON BEAVER LAKE:

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a bald eagle! In October, Belle of the Ozarks Beaver Lake Cruises offers expert guided tours for visitors to spot migrating osprey, great blue herons, king fishers, deer, red-tailed hawks and of course, the impressive bald eagle. Bring the family on this adventure to take in all the beautiful flora, fauna and wildlife the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks has to offer! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *