Bentonville community leaders continue to push the envelope on mountain biking trail development with the longest, most intricate hand-cut singletrack trail in Bentonville, providing more diversity within the growing trail network.
A world-class trail building company will be commissioned to use hand tools to construct the 12-mile trail. It will be nestled between Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park and Interstate-49 on the northeast edge of Bentonville.
“This lost art of trail building allows for the trail to have a narrower tread and will leave in the natural contours of the terrain as well as roots, rock formations, and narrow tree openings to challenge riders,” said Gary Vernon, senior program officer for Walton Personal Philanthropy Group. “This old style of trail building will give a new OZ Trails twist with memorable moments sprinkled along the trail.”
The new trail will offer diverse experiences with segments that are friendly for new riders, as well as alternative lines that will have seasoned riders puzzling out technical features as they climb the hillside. Construction of the trail is supported by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation at the recommendation of Steuart and Tom Walton.
“It’s certainly something that everybody will be able to ride and enjoy, but it’s going to feel inherently different than when you get on the front section of Slaughter Pen,” said David Wright, Bentonville Parks and Recreation director. “Adding this diversity to the trail network will provide riders with more opportunities, enticing them to return.
“That different offering is something that’s unique and something that will bring people back to Slaughter Pen, whether they’re a resident or a tourist. It’ll bring people back to have a different type of experience.”
Trail builders are slated to begin this fall with completion planned for spring 2021, and future riders will have the opportunity to name this epic trail through a crowdsourcing effort while the trail is under construction. The announcement of the hand-cut trail comes just weeks after Bentonville leaders staked claim to being the Mountain Biking Capital of the World.
The more than 140 miles of mountain biking trail in Bentonville and Bella Vista offer options for all skill levels with flowing singletrack, jumps of various sizes, and backcountry trails. While this effort exemplifies an ongoing commitment to use technology and research to evolve trail building, it also helps to celebrate and embrace the artisan approaches that built this sport. With trails, of all skill levels, winding their way through the community, riders are never far from the city’s vibrant culinary options, booming brewery scene, and stimulating art culture.