A Rider’s Guide to Mountain Biking Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is renowned as a prime mountain biking destination in the Mid-South region of the U.S. Around here, we think it’s flat-out the best. There are two main hubs in and around town — Lake Leatherwood City Park and the Great Passion Play — as well as two more very worthy spots: Marble Flats and Black Bass Lake.
Here is a detailed overview of many of the trails that lure riders from all over — broken into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Clicking on the links will take you to pages at trailforks.com, where you can find more detail.
The 667-acre Great Passion Play park, which features 18 miles of trails, boasts the area’s definitive beginner course and also includes a few others for newbies.
The facility’s signature beginner trail, this 4.3-mile course features 1,007 feet in climbs and 997 feet in descents. The surface is mostly smooth. Genesis has some serious zigs and zags, and takes you right past the feet of the Christ of the Ozarks statue. Beginners, bring some stamina — this track takes an average of 37:23 to complete.
Consider this the beginner beginner course. It’s a half-mile that rises 88 feet and falls 73 feet. Exodus includes a couple of major turns but is otherwise straight. (Avg. time: 3:48)
Other Popular Beginner Trails:
Another one of the easiest in the area, this 1,713-foot trail includes a couple of turns and features a nice flow. (Avg. time: 5:22)
Located in Lake Leatherwood City Park, Sloryde (say it out loud) is a mostly straight course. This track runs 1,660 feet with a 50-foot climb and carries a physical rating of Moderate. (Avg. time: 2:41)
Located a mile-and-a-half southwest of downtown, this straight, 2,000-foot course runs along the southern side of small and beautiful Black Bass Lake and features one significant climb of 200 feet. Standing Rock is a wide, multi-use trail that you’ll share with hikers and trail runners. (Avg. time: 5:12)
Lake Leatherwood City Park:
The most popular trail at the park. The first half-mile of this 1.1-mile course is a steady uphill climb of about 200 feet. After you pass the Miner’s Rock formation, the rest of the course is relatively level, winding west and passing several more rock formations and sinkholes. The trail ends with a steep descent. (Avg. time: 14:19)
This course loops around the same mountaintop for its entire 2.2-mile distance. It entails 480 feet of climbing and 600 feet of descent. (Avg. time: 18:21)
This one climbs from the get-go, shooting up 260 feet. Part of the 1.8-mile trail is lined with bluffs, and it features numerous switchbacks (180-degree turns with no banks) for terrific flow and extra fun. (Avg. time: 21:17)
A 1.1-mile trail that follows the west side of Lake Leatherwood from start to finish, Fuller is short on extended grades but features some extreme terrain and several stream crossings. (Avg. time: 16:48)
Great Passion Play:
You can get plenty of thrills on this .7-mile course — or not. The Holy Roller is full of fun jumps, drops and berms (banked turns), but they’re optional, allowing you to choose a more conservative course. Riders are cautioned to make sure they’re at an Intermediate, not Beginner, level. (Avg. time: 8:09)
The 1.2-mile course has the longest downhill at the Great Passion Play, maintaining great speed and flow, followed by a moderate climb. The Good Samaritan is recommended for riders just beginning to test their Intermediate skills. (Avg. time: 11:47)
Here’s a fun, relatively easy trail, a serpentine 1.5 miles, that has an abundance of switchbacks and berms. (Avg. time: 13:29)
A super-fun, 1,565-foot downhill trail, it includes tight switchbacks, berms and some rock chunks, as well as moderate jumps and drops. (Avg. time: 3:23)
The newest addition to the Eureka Springs trail system, this half-mile, relatively level course has its share of gnarly terrain and is flanked by dramatic bluffs and rock formations. (Average Time: 7:21)
The lollapalooza of intrepid trails in Eureka Springs is a network called the Lake Leatherwood Gravity Trail Project. It’s a one-way trail system with seven downhill courses. The network caters to Advanced riders, but has different levels of difficulty. A shuttle service is available (and recommended). Here are brief descriptions of each run. (Quick note: Black Diamond trails are the most Advanced.)
The jumps on this 1.1-mail trail are made of stone slabs, pieced together. Plenty of drops. Trailforks calls it a “true work of trail art.” (Avg. time: 10:54)
A downhill-only trail, 1,351 feet. (Avg. time: 3:45)
A 1,604-foot uphill climb. Decidedly rockier than the upper section, which is more technical.
This 4,397-footer involves some climbing (146 feet), but is mostly downhill (467 feet). Massive berms. (Avg. time: 8:04)
At 4,310 feet, DH4 is a beautifully constructed trail with nice flow and an optional rock drop. (Avg. time: 7:48)
Keeps the speed high with big curvy berms. 4,265 feet, nearly all downhill. (Avg. time: 6:31)
A good course to start learning downhill riding. Lots of berms and solid speed. 5,010 feet. (Avg. time: 6:34)
This 3,428-foot “crown jewel” of Lake Leatherwood trails carries the second-highest difficulty rating (just below “pros only”). Everything a hardcore rider desires. (Avg. time: 14:01)