Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lake Leatherwood

Eureka Springs is way up on a mountain top about an hour NE of Bentonville, AR. Eureka is home of half a dozen natural springs that have attracted tourists for over a century. I'm sure the springs are lovely, but we went there for the 25 miles of trails in Lake Leatherwood Park. The cross country trails featured rocky ledges (see photos), steep slopes (they have a downhill course), and some 2000' of elevation gain. We were expecting the climbs to be a grunt fest, but it wasn't bad. The biggest problem was concentrating on the trail because the rock formations were real attention grabbers.

Today was our last Arkansas ride, so a summary is due. I have written very little on easy trails because they are similar to a Florida easy trail, flat, lots of twists and turns not unlike the quadrants at Boyette or Morris Bridge, and every trail systems has them.

The intermediate trails have moderately steep climbs and descents. All trail surfaces are rock, usually crushed, often packed into the clay base from user traffic. The most difficult trails are grunt climbs, behind the seat descents with fist size rocks everywhere. The older, hand cut trails often have even larger, baby head sized rocks and exposed rock slabs. The newer machine cut trails are generally wider, but still have the tips of larger rocks exposed. Bottom line - you get rocks whether you want them or not.

Mt. Ida near Hot Springs is a destination with three IMBA Epic trails totaling 200+ miles of intermediate trails with lots of elevation gain. Bentonville is another destination with a more urban feel. Probably 200+ miles of typically machine cut trail that can be physically challenging but less technical than Mt. Ida.

Arkansas has published several mountain biking specific guides that contain a wealth of information. The state is pushing mountain biking, which will benefit us all. 

Milage >15
Elevation gain >2000'

We are off trail because we loved the look.

These monster rocks were everywhere.