- Adventures Blog
This is my favorite route on the whole trail. It's got amazing scenery, follows creeks most of the way, great bridges/creek crossings, a lake, has a lot of shade, not a lot of road crossings, and a lot to see and do along the way. There are plenty of parks, places to eat and recreate along the way. It's also got a 700' long tunnel that's really cool.
Basically, it's got a great combination of secluded and scenic areas, and urban areas with services. Now, there are some variations I make of it to add miles when needed, but I'll stick with the main one for here. Fayetteville has over 50 miles of paved trails, many connected to this route.
Now, I'm not going to give you turn by turn directions or mile markers. Why? That will detract from the ride. Go ride the trail, if you miss a turn, go back and get it. The worst thing that can happen if you make a "mistake" is you'll get to see some cool things you didn't expect. You don't need to be focused on the details of how to get from one place to another, the fun is just riding and experiencing.
The 15 mile version of the ride takes you to The Ramble, which is just over a half mile past Dickson Street. You definitely need to go to this area if you're going to go to Dickson (pictures later). It's worth the extra mile. The other takes you all the way to Mt. Kessler and back, the current south end of the trail system.
Why two distances? A couple of reasons:
- One, to give both a moderate distance ride and a longer ride option, both on the same path. I lead a lot of social rides from the store to just past Dickson Street and back, which is a good ride to complete in just over an hour, assuming a 12-13 mph pace. For many, a good 15-ish mile ride is plenty.
- UPDATE AS OF MAY, 2023. In the original review, I wrote how you would encounter homeless camps at about the mile 8.5 mark (Walker Park) and encounter them the next couple of miles. I'd never had an issue here, but I know some issues have been reported.
These camps are now gone. I'm not guaranteeing there are no issues, but I have seen no traces of them the last couple of times through. The City of Fayetteville has cleaned the area up. Would I recommend my wife or daughter riding/walking this area alone - no I'd say parts of it are still too secluded / wooded.
I'd rate this as beginner friendly. Most of the trail follows along creeks and therefore there isn't much climbing. There are a few hills on it, but the vast majority is beginner friendly. Even more so with an E-bike.
THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL
You can park at our store or the parking lot at Lake Fayetteville by the softball fields. There are restrooms are both our store and the softball complex.
Amenities in the area include:
- Numerous great local food trucks, right across from us;
- Lake Fayetteville Bike and Boat. They rent bikes and kayaks here, and have food, snacks and games. You can also fish here (with a permit). Definitely go by and visit them.
Once you get started, we're going to have you turn south to go across the spillway. Now, I'd be negligent if I didn't tell you for added distance, you can make a full loop around the Lake. This is a 6-ish mile loop and if you take it going clockwise, then continue on the route I've laid out, you'll add about 5 miles. This is not only one of the prettiest trails around but by far the most heavily utilized by riders and walkers. So I'm choosy about when I ride it - avoiding it on the prettiest weekend days.
Once you cross the spillway and bridge, you'll make a quick left and then an almost immediate right and go down the hill. It's a steep hill, so please use your brakes accordingly / don't go too fast. You'll ride past Lokomotion and on your left you'll see a spring with the rock work believed to be built sometime in the late 1930's / early 1940's. Here's something cool! Below is a picture of the spring there. After posting it last year, we had a descendent of the family that built it / farmed the land then. Her mom is the one in the picture by herself in front of this very spring. Here's the story she told us.
Sorry, that's my history tour. I never just ride my bike. I like to look around and when I see stuff that's old, I immediately start asking - who built this? One thing that always surprises me is how so many people ride past this and other stuff on the trails every day and miss these amazing things. Look around!
Also, Johnny Cash once played a concert right on that spot, September 17th, 1968. Someone sent us this picture and many have found themselves in it.
You'll continue here through Johnson, Arkansas and this is one of the most scenic sections of the trail with a some great creek crossings and bridges. After you pass the two old trucks on the trail, you turn left at the intersection and head south to Fayetteville.
As you're exiting the Johnson City Limits you'll know as Fayetteville has lights/poles along the trail. A short distance later, You'll see a spur on your left - keep going straight (you'll take the spur on the way back. You'll go through the tunnel and a couple of parks here. One note, after you've left Gordon Long Park, you'll make a right under a railroad bridge. Take it easy going through this short tunnel so you don't run into anyone coming from the other direction. After this short tunnel, you'll ride next to the field/trail where the U of A Cross Country Team Trains (winners of 11 National Championships).
You'll have a few road crossings the next several miles. Most don't have lights, but cars are great at stopping (but make sure they are stopping!). The first busy road you'll come to is North Street and there is a light here that you'll need to hit. After about a mile, you'll hit the first real hill of your ride, up to Maple Street. Before you go up the hill to Maple, you'll encounter Wilson Park on your left. This is a really nice park and a great one mile loop if you want to add some miles. Lots of really cool historic homes in that area as well.
So ride up to Maple, watch for cars and then you'll head downhill to Dickson Street. We do a lot of social rides to Dickson and Back. There's dozens of great places to eat and drink here. Most of my rides include a stop for food. Let's be frank, a major reason I ride is to be able to eat more food! If you pass Dickson, you'll head down to the Ramble. Definitely ride up and down it!!! Here it is at night and day. The videos do it no justice.
The Ramble at Night
The Ramble During the Day.
My wife and I loving our bikes on adventures together. Sorry, I couldn't find any pictures of us on the paved trails here - this is the Katy Trail, Missouri. We ride E-bikes everywhere because we can explore so many more miles and see and do a lot more. Regular bikes are great for bike riding, E-bikes are amazing for exploring.