Guidebook

The Best Long-Distance Cross-Country Rides near Bentonville

Bentonville's topography lends itself to fantastic XC trail riding.

Greg Heil

Description

While most people seem to focus on how epic Bentonville's jump lines and rowdy downhill trails are, they often gloss over the fact that Northwest Arkansas is just as epic of a cross-country mountain biking destination as it is an enduro hot spot—arguably, even more so. While the local trail builders had to wrack their brains to figure out how to pack in as many jumps as possible into a small amount of vert, the rolling hills and steep ridges of Northwest Arkansas provide the perfect landscape for endless, undulating cross-country singletrack.

In many areas of the nation, long-distance mountain biking naturally requires pedaling a combination of singletrack and gravel roads, and maybe even some pavement mixed in. And if you're trying to complete a long-distance ride in Europe, the singletrack experience is even more segmented by small towns and other trappings of civilization.

In contrast, the mountain bike trail system in Northwest Arkansas was essentially built from the ground up, allowing the trail designers to optimize the experience for the mountain biking palate of today. That palate demands as much singletrack as possible, with easy-to-navigate trail connections and no road riding. The trail designers and builders were able to provide exactly that, making for a superlative cross-country riding experience that few destinations can match.

Long-distance cross-country riding was first delivered to riders by the Back 40 Trail System, which provides a 24-mile loop ride bisected by several optional connector trails. Building on this success, the Little Sugar trail system was constructed later, and it now offers some 50+ miles of singletrack. Anchored by the 25-mile Tunnel Vision trail, it's possible to build a 36-mile loop through the Little Sugar network with minimal backtracking.

Since Little Sugar is located just across the highway from the Back 40, it's easy to combine these two zones to create a true epic of more than 60 miles of world-class singletrack pedaling!

If you've had enough of the suburban singletrack snaking through backyards and around swimming pools, head east from town to Hobbs State Park. Here you'll find fantastic XC trails that provide a delightful middle-of-nowhere feeling while still traversing fantastically-built singletrack. This guidebook has the trail system at Hobbs split into two different rides: one measuring 19.6 miles and the other 18.1. However, they can easily be combined into a long-distance epic of almost 40 miles in length!

If long-distance singletrack riding with non-existent road connections is what you're after, Bentonville has you covered!

Little Sugar Epic
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Little Sugar Epic

58.2 km
1,263 m
1,263 m
Make the most of this incredible trail system with this long-distance loop.
Difficult
Private
Back 40 Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Back 40 Trail

38.4 km
733 m
733 m
Sweet flowy singletrack that includes features for all levels of mountain bikers.
Difficult
Private
Tunnel Vision Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tunnel Vision Loop

42.3 km
897 m
897 m
The easiest-to-navigate loop through the Little Sugar Trail System.
Moderate
Private
Hobbs State Park: East
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hobbs State Park: East

29.2 km
532 m
532 m
Professionally constructed, flowy singletrack that takes full advantage of the rolling Ozark Mountains to create a truly enjoyable biking experience.
Moderate
Private
Hobbs State Park: West
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Hobbs State Park: West

31.5 km
759 m
759 m
Flowy, handmade, old school singletrack winding and dipping through beautiful forested Ozark Mountains hollows.
Moderate
Private