Monday, August 24, 2015

Biking Fayetteville, Arkansas' Lake Fayetteville Trail

Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a facility of their Parks and Recreation department, the 200 acre Lake Fayetteville was built in 1949 as a drinking water source, but it offers recreational opportunities for the residents, too, including boating, fishing, hiking, sport fields, pavillions, and more. 

The 5.5 mile Lake Fayetteville Trail begins at either parking area. The pavement was added gradually over several years beginning in the summer of 2007, as was the botanical garden which abuts the southeast corner of trail loop, and I suggest you stop and check out the botanical garden as you pass by.

Though there is now a paved trail, the old singletrack dirt trail is off to the side close to the bordering road.  The map below shows the paved trail in red. The parking area on the right (off Crossover Rd.) is the botanical garden. The faint white line that parallels the red line is the nature trail/mountain bike trail.


Since the paved trail was not completed when I was last there, the following photos are all of the mountain bike trail. Yes, as seen in the photo below, it is a beautiful forest and also a hilly area, and this particular uphill was steep and also had boulders and roots in odd places, making it very technical to reach the top, so we usually both walked the bikes here. (We call it "cross training!")

The entire singletrack is dirt and offers rocks, roots, and ruts -- and after rains, also some mud holes which you can go through or circumvent (for the most part.) 

Though the trail circumnavigates the lake, you rarely catch a glimpse of it. The uphills often come after a downhill with a sharp turn at the bottom, and getting your speed up again to top the next rise is problematic, so don't get caught in the wrong gear!

The trail was not always well marked, but if you stay close to where you know the lake is, you'll be fine, and if not, you'll just get a little more mileage and a chance for exploration -- and the area isn't large enough to get lost. Being from the Chicago area, I envy the local residents for having such a wonderful mountain bike experience in their backyard. During our hours on the trail during our various rides, few other bikers were encountered, so I wonder if locals know about this gem of a trail.

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