Missouri’s newest mountain bike park is on pace to open May 20-22 with a weekend of music, food and drinks, vendors, exhibitors — and a whole lot of pedal-powered thrills. Phase 1 of Howler Bike Park, located off Interstate 65 near Branson, will include six or seven trails, camping, a shuttle, food truck restaurant, welcome center, and bike shop with rentals.
“Howler was just a dream at one point of bringing downhill, enduro, and free riding — different styles of riding — to Missouri,” said Max Penny, owner of Mountain Movement, a bike shop in Springfield and owner of the bike park. “It’s really about making a fun environment where people can get better at mountain biking, do something challenging, come together, and at the same time showcase Missouri riding.”
Shovels broke ground in June 2021. The trails, which will include green, blue, and black designations to cater to all levels of riders, are being built by Reserve Concepts, with manmade features from Seth Gebel of Backyard Trail Builds.
“We’re challenging ourselves more and more each day to bring a better park even before it’s open,” said Penny. “We’re going to have these long, flowy green runs that people just getting into mountain biking can ride without the fear of what’s coming up.
“The features we’re building will be all on the blues and blacks. It’s hard to describe them without seeing them. They’re just insane. You need to feel the scale of everything,” he continued. “The blacks and double blacks will be challenging — technical, fast, intricate. The mountain is very steep and lends itself to challenging riding.”
In addition to drawing riders from across Missouri and surrounding states, Howler will host its own annual events and hopes to attract outside events and build economy for the local community. “Our growth mindset is with the community around us,” said Miriah Fowler, event coordinator at Mountain Movement.
Grand opening event tickets are scheduled to go on sale May 1, but all are encouraged to follow @howlerbikepark on Instagram or facebook.com/HowlerBikePark for the latest updates and progress reports.