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Bentonville - 8.5 hr drive from Austin

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Yep.  We rode to Coler, which is pretty flat-ish, but several miles back and forth.  So that dropped the ratio some.  Just getting up to the top of Coler, it's just under 200 feet for the privilege of riding down.  Payoff is pretty sweet, but you have no choice but to climb to make the payment.  

Riding the Greenway to Blowing Spings/Back 40 will likewise lower the ratio.  When you're on actual trails, you will be climbing...it's just a function of how the trails work.  All I'm suggesting is that if someone wants to go, be prepared for that and prepare yourself by doing stuff around here where there is legit climbing - Lakeway and the backside of HOL being great/close choices for that.  All of our last day this trip, hitting a ton of stuff in SP and then we rode to Coler, we had a little better than 100ft per mile.  That's more the rule than the exception...in fact, I can't see it any other way.  

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I keep expecting to hear from the Waltons that they are installing a lift on Coler, with passes available in the Gift Card section at Wal-Mart.

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On 4/22/2019 at 1:20 PM, 2112Greg said:

Making the trip with The Tip, I'll add a couple of cents as well.  This was my second trip to BV, went last year in June.  It was hot but not intolerable.  Go now, it's perfect weather in the Spring or early Fall.  

Before the last trip last year, I watched a ton of videos, read about the trails and how they are in contrast to much of what we ride in a lot of central Texas systems.  It's almost ALL flow, very little technical bits and rocks are the exception, not the rule, as they are here on our local trails.  The Back 40 is my favorite section out there, it's a ton of fun...but you have to climb.  I prepared this year AND last by hitting the BCBG a lot (Ed's Bowl, etc) and Lakeway as much as possible.  You HAVE to have climbing legs to make the most of BV.  It's essential to having a good experience there.

The Back 40 is a giant loop, but it also has a number of inside segments that are great.  Floride is absolutely AWESOME.  All of them are fun in their own way, but Floride is just out of this world.  If you hit the Back 40, that's a MUST.  If you want to get your technical/janky fix, then the Ledges is for you.  Not only is it technically challenging, it's got some pretty serious consequences for a mistake (like falling down a cliffside).  Definitely the most difficult segment of the area systems.  That said, I love this kind of riding.  It keeps you on your toes and your skills sharp.

There is something for everyone, but it's overall I'd say it's aimed at the intermediate rider and above.  Some of the flowy fun stuff in Slaughter Pen would be fun for a beginning rider, but overall it's for experienced riders.  And climbing, you will be climbing.  It's not sustained slogs up hills, much of the Back 40, going CCW, you go up berms/wide switchbacks which sounds weird, but it's a pretty efficient way to get up a steep climb.  And there are lots of them...but almost all of them have some sweet payoff.

If you're thinking of going to BV, research it, study the trails, watch videos of trails, look at Strava rides, see the kinds of elevation that will be expected and then train by doing Lakeway, Ed's Bowl and stuff that requires climbing around you.  If you can't climb or don't like to, then BV isn't something you'd enjoy.  I did 103 miles which is just about everything in the whole Slaughter Pen, Bella Vista and a little bit of Coler and did about 8,000 feet of climbing.  Prepare yourself!

Our group of 10 riders loved just about everything about it.  My gf and I are planning on going back later this year.  The entire culture of the city is centered on bikes...and not just mtbs (but that's it's focus)...but BV is a biker's dream.  And it just so happens that for mountain bikers, it's AMAZING.  

You're crazy. I literally rode Flowride an hour ago and pedaled 90% of the time. Huge disappointment.

 

Imo the only trails on the Back 40 with any redeeming qualities are Ledges, What the Chuck, and some parts of Pinyon Creek.

 

This is actually my second time out here and I was only convinced to come back because people keep telling me that all the good stuff is inside the Back 40 loop. After today I can confidently say they are full of shit. The Back 40 is currently on the top of my list of worst trail systems I have ever ridden.

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On 10/8/2019 at 3:37 PM, Big_papa_nuts said:

You're crazy. I literally rode Flowride an hour ago and pedaled 90% of the time. Huge disappointment.

 

Imo the only trails on the Back 40 with any redeeming qualities are Ledges, What the Chuck, and some parts of Pinyon Creek.

 

This is actually my second time out here and I was only convinced to come back because people keep telling me that all the good stuff is inside the Back 40 loop. After today I can confidently say they are full of shit. The Back 40 is currently on the top of my list of worst trail systems I have ever ridden.

I rode Flowline last month. Riding up it I pedaled a lot. Riding down it I hardly pedaled. 

Your comment that you pedaled 90% of the time tells me that you were riding it uphill. 

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Yea, you have to do it the right direction.  lol

I was going to say that, but I figured it would be pointing out the obvious...I can't imagine riding up Flo Ride.  Riding down it is spectacular.  

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6 hours ago, AustinBike said:

I rode Flowline last month. Riding up it I pedaled a lot. Riding down it I hardly pedaled. 

Your comment that you pedaled 90% of the time tells me that you were riding it uphill. 

Definitely rode it the right way, as confirmed by the signs and the other person I rode it with, and my data collecting app. Definitely pedaled more than I coasted. Also, had to stop and clear two trees. Definitely NOT a "flow" trail.

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Well, it is...it's got a few peddly bits in the middle section, but when it gets going, it's killer.  Sorry you didn't have the same experience that we've had on it.  Maybe you should try Hobbs State Park...

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9 hours ago, 2112Greg said:

Well, it is...it's got a few peddly bits in the middle section, but when it gets going, it's killer.  Sorry you didn't have the same experience that we've had on it.  Maybe you should try Hobbs State Park...

Or stick with Spider Mountain...  🙂

I absolutely loved The Back 40 and all the stuff in the middle.  I'd call some of the trails some of the best flowing single track I've ever ridden.  But FWIW, I also spent 7+ hrs riding that entire network when I was there.  I don't mind pedaling.

Later, -CJB

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just want to say Thanks for all the great info and insight this thread gave me for my first trip up there, last month.  only got 2.5 days of riding, with the .5 being in the middle of a turd floater at Coler.  Back 40 was fun, too, if submerged in a couple places (which didn't stop the many preriders or race organizers I came across).  Team CCW.

I'm not Billy Badass by any means, but these make me smile on non-ride days.  Enjoy.

 

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I just returned from a family trip to the Bentonville area.  My daughter and her boyfriend had just departed on what was supposed to be an extended trip in their recently converted  Sprinter Van. So my wife and I, our son, and his best friend drove up to meet them at Devil’s Den State Park, southeast of Bentonville.  It was cold and rainy and the park was mostly deserted.  We rode the trails and camped two nights there.  It was very beautiful but almost no trees had budded out yet.  After a couple of days of tent camping there we broke camp and headed to our B&B destination in Bentonville.  On the way we went to Hobbs State Park to ride as it was the only place that the locals deemed rideable because of the rain.  We rode Little Clifty and had a great time.  It was wet in places but not muddy and there were some really fun downhill segments that our group loved.  The following day (after another night of rain) we rode a portion of the Back 40.  It too was really wet but not very muddy.  We had started the ride late in the afternoon to give it time to dry out a little and finished in the dark.  Everyone was so lit up with the trails and the shared adventure!  It was a great trip despite a metric shit-ton of rain and the haunting pandemic developments.  We managed to stay away from other people to a great extent, other than gas stations and a grocery run.  Our age range was 19 - 62 and everyone had a blast.  

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We just got back from a week in Bentonville. It was a blast. There have been a lot of changes since we were there in November.

  • All American now extends all the way to Slaughter Pen Phase 1. A couple of downhill flow trails have been added to Phase 1--Jessie's Last Stand was our personal favorite--we rode it multiple times as the climb to the start was super easy and no one else was using it (everyone else was riding a longer flow trail that I think was a part of All American).  The black diamond flow section at the top of Phase 1 has been coated with something that looks like asphalt but isn't. I didn't go up there because I'm a big chicken.
  • Leopard Loop has the same stuff on the downhill portion. I did ride that--pretty fun little trail. We use Leopard as a connector to get to Tristan's Trail, btw.
  • Choo choo has some new surface on it as well--it was nice not having a lot of loose rock in the switchbacks coming down.
  • Little Sugar over on the east side of Bella Vista is fully open as well. I rode Tweety Bird and Down Under. Tweety Bird is a super fun, easy trail with lots of rewards for climbing. Down Under was a beat down for me. Lots of steep climbs in there and the switchbacks were to sketchy for my taste--lots of loose rock in them. That being said, the downhill sections were pretty fun. Hoss rode more than I did in the Little Sugar--he reported that Tunnel Vision was better than Down Under. Having ridden parts of Tunnel Vision over Thanksgiving, I can say that it is climbier than the Back 40. One of the upsides to Little Sugar is that it can be ridden in the rain or right after a rain. It really is a great trail system.
  • We rode Hobbs State Park for the first time this trip. We did the Karst Loop and absolutely loved it. Like many of the trails in the area, it is very well designed and even when we were climbing, it didn't seem bad at all. Of course, all climbs were rewarded with really long, fun downhill.
  • Coler has a lot of new stuff as well. The Hub was an absolute cluster--lots of large groups of annoying people. We went down Fireline, which was a lot of fun until we got to the trail closed sign in the middle of it. Due to the number of annoying people, we decided to go check out Esther's Family Flow. It was really fun.

Downtown Bentonville is pretty much shut down--which we really didn't mind. I felt safer there than in Austin. Just a couple of restaurants are open for dining-in, and they are very diligent about masks and spacing. The Bentonville Taproom is open but they seem to not care about spacing or masks. Fortunately, it was pretty empty most of the times we went in.

At any rate, if you haven't been there, or you haven't been in a while, now is an excellent time to go. We really didn't want to come home.

 

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Posted (edited)

Finally taking a 2020 vacation here new month.  Hoping you guys could help me design my trip.  We're getting in Sunday evening and leaving Friday morning.  So four full days to ride.  My favorite things to ride are ledgy drops and chunky stuff (i.e. City Park and Spider Mountain).

Riding questions:

With the wife going, I probably only have one day where I can be gone for a really long time.  Looking at what you guys have said, that day will be when I do the Back 40.  What are some other Slaughter Pen spots I should check out?

Eureka Springs looks pretty sweet, but I can't find any good videos that really show the trail other than bumpy 1st person stuff.  Would you guys recommend spending a half day there?

Coler Springs one day.  I have to hit that Drop the Hammer trail.

Anything I missed? If there's one trail section I absolutely have to hit, what is it?

Bentonville questions:

Where should I go to eat/drink? - found some good breweries and missed the part at the end of the first post.

Any spots around town I should check out?

Edited by Kobra Kai MTB Guy

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Check out Little Sugar on the west side of Bella Vista. If you want more technical trail, you can find it at Mt. Kessler in Fayetteville. They are also opening a new trail in Bentonville soon--it's called Flowzone and is next to Ozone. It looks to be pretty fun. You definitely want to check out ALL of Slaughter Pen.

Places to eat/drink: Bike Rack Brewing, The Peddler (next to Bike Rack), Meteor, Table Mesa, Bentonville Brewing. Rogers has several brew pubs as well. That's where The Rail Yard is--it's a fun bike playground.

 

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18 hours ago, Kobra Kai MTB Guy said:

Riding questions:

 Back 40

I just got back today.  I wasn't on a bike trip but I managed to sneak away a couple days, and one of those I rode the back 40.

The deciduous forest views were great.  I really enjoyed the nature and scenery. 

The trail was just ok.  The terrain was great.  20+ miles with 100 feet of elevation per mile means it's as steep as the steepest trail systems around here, but it goes forever.  The way all the small streams and gulleys shaped the land mean there's a ton of hillside for winding trail.

The problem is that the trail is just uninspired.  Once you've ridden the first few miles you've pretty much seen every trick the builders have, and then they're just repeated over and over for 20+ miles.  There are basically no rocks, ledges, tricky roots, tight spots, or spots that we would call technical at all.  "The ledges" has some legit cliff exposure that made me half pedal a few times but it was over quick.  

It gave me some perspective to see the skill and ambition that our trail builders have that make places like Walnut fun despite not having the terrain or budget that Bentonville does. 

So if you want to just ride along for a long time for exercise or whatever then it's great.  I would save it for last because it is a long ride with a lot of climbing.  Bring extra tires.  The type of rock there is flinty and sharp. I got a flat, and saw lots of them.  WEAR BUG SPRAY.  

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14 minutes ago, Kyle said:

The problem is that the trail is just uninspired.  Once you've ridden the first few miles you've pretty much seen every trick the builders have, and then they're just repeated over and over for 20+ miles.  There are basically no rocks, ledges, tricky roots, tight spots, or spots that we would call technical at all.  "The ledges" has some legit cliff exposure that made me half pedal a few times but it was over quick. 

"IMBA Spec," as I call it. I enjoy the trail style as a concept, but I wouldn't want it to be all I had available to ride. You know, a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Some other fun, but copy/paste trail systems across the US are Jakes Rocks in PA, Raystown in PA, Ridgeway Trails in CO, Iron MTN in AK...and I'm sure 100s of others. Basically anything that a LOT of the trail was created by machine. But these trails get a lot more fun the faster you ride them. The fun is in the fast corning, grade reversals and g-outs. Locally we don't have a lot of it at all, Although I think much of the newer (non DH) stuff being built at Flat Rock Ranch qualifies. 

On Back 40, to break things up, you really have to be sure to hit The Ledges trail. 

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Just an FYI - right now the Razorback Greenway is closed just south of Blowing Springs RV Park (right past the new north location of Phat Tire Bike Shop) due to highway work and you either have to drive around or do the fairly unsafe ride on the highway or a 3ish mile reroute on a 2 lane road w/ no shoulder (but not much traffic)   A factor if you're staying in Bella Vista or camping at Blowing Springs and want to ride to Slaughter Pen.

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24 minutes ago, fontarin said:

Just an FYI - right now the Razorback Greenway is closed just south of Blowing Springs RV Park (right past the new north location of Phat Tire Bike Shop) due to highway work and you either have to drive around or do the fairly unsafe ride on the highway or a 3ish mile reroute on a 2 lane road w/ no shoulder (but not much traffic)   A factor if you're staying in Bella Vista or camping at Blowing Springs and want to ride to Slaughter Pen.

Thanks! Am thinking of heading there soon and this is great info!

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On 9/24/2020 at 2:30 PM, GFisher said:

Thanks! Am thinking of heading there soon and this is great info!

When?  

-CJB

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Two more days. Work has been less than productive this week but my bike is tuned and shiny.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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21 hours ago, CBaron said:

When?  

-CJB

Probably 2nd-ish week of Oct, depends on work and weather factors. Busy AF at work but on the other hand have to burn PTO. Stressful #firstworldproblems

 

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It's beautiful right now, high of 71!  We're thinking of extending our stay another week past the 9th.  

So far my favorite ride has been Hobbs State Conservation Area - Wolf Den and Karst Loop - very pretty trail!  

 

 

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I’ll be there 10/9-10/12. It’s a family trip, but I’ll be sneaking away for a ride or two. Only problem is it’s gonna be too short of a trip. Very interested in Flowzone. They were building it when I was there back in June. Hard to tell but that table sized rock in bottom right is a drop to the transition just to the left. This picture completely fails to capture the distance. It looks fun and scary and kinda tempting even for my puny jumping/airtime capabilities.

a93ed599517293eadb7691b8ba2f2f33.jpg

 

 

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