A spotlight shines bright on Arkansas as a new and exciting destination for mountain biking and Bella Vista is the perfect home base to access all the fat tire fun. Bella Vista has some of the premiere trails in the area, including the popular Back 40 and Blowing Springs. It also has the best lodging options for storing expensive bikes and gear at the end of the day. Instead of a hotel room, book a fully-furnished vacation home rental where you can easily park your bike in the garage after a great ride. Plus, many of these home rentals can be found adjacent to the trail system. Imagine waking up in the morning and having the Back 40 just a few pedals from your back door.Also in close proximity are the many biking events that now use Northwest Arkansas as the backdrop for trail rides and social gatherings.Below is a list of a few of the mountain biking races, meetings, and trade shows happening in or near Bella Vista this year. Mark these events on your calendar and make plans to ride Bella Vista’s mountain bike trails while you’re in town.
In the last 12 months, more than 90,000 mountain bike tourists visited Northwest Arkansas according to Walton Foundation study.
April 6 - At the 30th annual Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, mountain bikers will gather on the banks of Lee Creek for a weekend celebrating the magical Ozark Mountains and the trail system that started it all - the Fossil Flats Trail at Devil’s Den State Park in West Fork. Considered by many as the birthplace of Arkansas mountain biking, this state park event is a family-friendly weekend with a big splash competition, hosted group rides, cookouts, and rides for all skill levels.
April 14 - The Double Barrel Poker Ride offers your choice of two chunky gravel loops leaving from the Benton County Quail Barn in Bentonville. Pick up poker cards along the way. Have some fun blasting clay pigeons when you return to earn bonus cards. There will be awesome prizes for best hand, plus great food and drinks.
April 21 - Pedaler’s Bash Marathon Race is the fourth race in the Arkansas Race Series. About 250 racers will blaze through the Ozark Mountains on a 45-mile singletrack journey exploring the trail systems of Slaughter Pen, Bella Vista, Blowing Springs and the famous Back 40.
May 12 - Rapha Prestige Ozark Plateau tasks teams of riders with an all-day adventure across stunning terrain in Northwest Arkansas. The rules are simple: start and finish as a team, and pass through all the checkpoints.
June 11 - The annual Battle for Townsend’s Ridges AMBCS XC Race is held at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Rogers each year.
June 20-22 - International Mountain Bicycling Association Trail Labs are two-day intensive workshops during which IMBA staff and local experts and stakeholders lead participants through the recipe for a model community trail system: planning, design, building, activation, promotion and measuring success. Attendees will also get a firsthand look at components of an intentional and diverse mountain bike trails community. This inaugural IMBA Trail Lab, which will be the first of three in Bentonville during 2018.
June 21 - Arkansas Bike Summit gives attendees a chance to join state leaders at this inaugural event at The Record in Bentonville. The summit will address cycling infrastructure, development, events and more.
June 22 - It’s the IMBA Dirty 30. The International Mountain Bicycling Association will celebrate its 30th birthday in Northwest Arkansas with trail rides and social gatherings.
July 13 - Fat Tire Festival in Eureka Springs attracts riders and spectators for a three-day weekend of racing downhill, super-d, short track, and cross country. Also enjoy group rides and social events.
July 22 - The Bella Vista Enduro is part of the 2018 Arkansas Enduro Series. This portion is based out of Blowing Springs with unique stages sprinkled throughout Bella Vista’s Back 40 Trail System.
July 27 - The Rogers Cycling Festival consists of road cycling and mountain biking with highly skilled and competitive races to family-friendly rides.
Sept. 22 - The Back 40 Fall for All celebrates autumn and The Back 40 trail system with cycling, hiking, trail running, bird watching, native plant spotting, bug hunting and anything else trail related in Bella Vista. For cyclists there are bike skills clinics, group mountain bike rides, kids’ bike rodeo and bike safety checks.
Sept. 22 - The Bentonville Enduro is part of the 2018 Arkansas Enduro Series. This fifth and final race of the series wraps up at the coveted Coler MTB Preserve located a mile west of the Bentonville Square.
Oct. 5 – The Oz Trails Off Road lets riders choose from three different distance options of 20, 35, or 50-ish miles. All are carefully curated trails in Bella Vista and Bentonville.
Oct. 26 - Outerbike 2018 takes place in Bentonville. Registration fees buy access to all the biking, lunches, beer, prizes, and evening parties.
Dec. 8 - The Back 40 Trail Run & Ride in Bella Vista lets attendees choose a 5K, 13 mile, 20 mile or 40 mile event. It’s great singletrack riding for mountain bikers.In the last 12 months alone, more than 90,000 mountain bike tourists visited Northwest Arkansas at a rate comparable to notable destinations like Oregon and British Columbia, according to a new study from the Walton Family Foundation. Come see why Bella Vista is the best hub for your ride.
By Jill Rohrbach