Guidebook

MTB in the Land of Oz: Best Trails in Bentonville, AR

Explore the best trails in the viral mountain bike destination of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Greg Heil

Description

The name “Bentonville” now rolls off the lips of mountain bikers across the USA in the same breath as Moab, Crested Butte, and Pisgah. This constantly-growing mountain bike destination has risen from virtually nothing to one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country in what feels like just a few years. Of course, the full story is much longer and a bit more complicated than that, and required the investment of tens of millions of dollars to build these superb trails.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the mountain bike scene in Bentonville wouldn’t exist without Walmart. The international headquarters of this gargantuan corporation still resides here where it was founded in Northwest Arkansas, and the Walton Foundation alone has contributed millions of dollars to the local mountain bike trail scene. As of 2017, they had invested over $13 million in singletrack mountain bike trails alone, with another $46 million invested in paved trails. That number has only increased since then.

Today, Bentonville plays hosts to mountain bike festivals like Outerbike, races like the Oz Trails Off-Road, and industry events like IMBA’s World Summit. In 2022, they’ll even hold the Cyclocross World Championships. If you love anything to do with two wheels, Bentonville is worth a visit!

But what about the trails themselves?

Imagine a type of mountain bike trail that you enjoy, and you’re likely to find it here in Bentonville! Whether it’s steep and rocky, flowy and filled with berms, stacked with jumps, laced with wooden features and bridges, pedally and mellow, or a combination of all these features… the diversity of the mountain biking in the rolling hills of Northwest Arkansas is truly impressive.

Begin your mountain biking adventure with the easily-accessible trails at Slaughter Pen. The Slaughter Pen area is filled with singletrack running in all directions, allowing you to create many different loops and combinations.

Next, head to Coler MTB Preserve for some of the fastest, most challenging descents in the region. You’ll have to pedal to the top a few times to sample all the trails, but every single one is worth it!

Finally, finish your trip off with a lengthy cross country epic combining the Blowing Springs and Back 40 Trails, known simply as “Back 40.”

Haven’t had enough? If you head further afield to other nearby towns such as Fayetteville and Eureka Springs, you’ll discover hundreds of more miles of trail to pedal!

Sources:
https://www.bicycling.com/news/a26115749/cyclocross-world-championships-2022/
https://epicrides.com/events/oz-trails-off-road/event-guide/
https://outerbike.com
https://www.singletracks.com/mtb-trails/northwest-arkansas-13-million-can-build/

Coler: East Side
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Coler: East Side

9.0 km
218 m
220 m
If you're into jumps, drops, rock gardens, and other fun MTB stuff, Coler MTB Preserve East is a Must Ride!
Extreme
Private
Back 40 Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Back 40 Loop

38.4 km
733 m
733 m
Sweet flowy singletrack that includes features for all levels of mountain bikers.
Difficult
Private
Slaughter Pen Phase I - Outer Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Slaughter Pen Phase I - Outer Loop

6.3 km
106 m
106 m
Slaughter Pen Trails Phase I crisscrosses the hillside with several old-school trails packed with short climbs, wooden bridges, sharp banked turns, and a short downhill run packed with many fun features.
Severe
Private
Slaughter Pen Phase II - West
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Slaughter Pen Phase II - West

7.1 km
99 m
99 m
More old school single track that flows along the hillside then switches back up the hillside for short climbs and descent.
Difficult
Private
Slaughter Pen Phase II - East
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Slaughter Pen Phase II - East

2.4 km
45 m
45 m
Slaughter Pen Phase II East is a set of narrow rocky trails that will challenge your handling skills and provide a feeling of accomplishment after riding them.
Severe
Private
Slaughter Pen Phase III
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Slaughter Pen Phase III

5.1 km
78 m
78 m
Slaughter Pen Phase III includes a collection of short, fun trails within densely-wooded green space preserves that include abrupt climbs and fast descents.
Difficult
Private
Coler: Thunder Dome Lap
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Coler: Thunder Dome Lap

1.1 km
24 m
24 m
Coler MTB Preserve West is loaded with wood features and also the only dual slalom run in this part of the country.
Difficult
Private
Medieval Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Medieval Loop

4.3 km
61 m
61 m
A fast intermediate jump line with surprisingly big hits.
Moderate
Private
Handcut Hollow: Gravity Laps
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Handcut Hollow: Gravity Laps

16.5 km
426 m
426 m
An efficient plan for hitting all of the downhill runs at Handcut Hollow.
Severe
Private
Handcut Hollow: Traverse Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Handcut Hollow: Traverse Loop

12.2 km
259 m
259 m
A cross-country pedal around the Handcut Hollow zone.
Moderate
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
Bamboozled Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Bamboozled Loop

22.1 km
528 m
528 m
An approachable 12-mile loop through the Little Sugar Trail System.
Moderate
Private
Coler: Copperhead Road and Oscar's Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Coler: Copperhead Road and Oscar's Loop

5.7 km
109 m
109 m
A rocky, challenging trail ride.
Severe
Private