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Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is one of the best – and most popular – mountain bike networks in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Within a relatively small acreage of land, the trail builders have fit in a ton of great riding for every level of rider. Beginners and families will find mellow cross-country singletrack while more advanced riders can hit big tabletops and huge jumps. And there’s plenty in between.
If you’re heading to Bentonville, Coler Park is definitely a place to spend a day or two. Read on the learn everything you need to know about this awesome little pedal-accessed bike park.
Watch BKXC shred the trails at Coler MTB Preserve
Important Things to Know
Getting There & Where to Park
Coler is located about 10 minutes/3 miles northwest of Bentonville. You can bike there on bike-friendly roads and bike paths or there are several parking lots.
Coler Mountain Bike Preserve Map
There are three parking areas at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve. It honestly doesn’t really matter where you park because there’s is a paved path that runs the length of Coler, providing easy access back and forth from North Gateway and South Gateway.
If you park at Coler Grove, you will need to do a short climb back to your car.
- North Gateway: This parking area is located on the north end of Coler Preserve and provides the quickest and easiest access to the more advanced trails starting from The Hub. There are no bathrooms or water fountains here. There is a bike tool/repair station.
- South Gateway: Located at the south end of Coler, this parking area is quite a bit larger and has bathrooms, a water fountain, and a bike tool station.
- Coler Grove: This parking area is above South Gateway and provides instant access to Thunder Dome, a dual slalom track, and Family Flow, a great trail for kids or new riders. You will finish your ride on a short climb if you park here.
The Coler Hub
Before I talk about the trails at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, I wanted to mention The Hub, since it’s one of the most distinguishing features at Coler.
The Hub is a huge alien-looking structure at the top of North Coler that leads into the northside downhill trails.
There are three ‘exit ramps’ on The Hub that lead into Fire Line, Cease and Desist, and Rock Solid/Rock Soft.
If you take Oscar’s Loop to get to the hub, it’s a paved path, which makes lapping the north side a lot easier!
Coler Mountain Bike Preserve Trails
There are about a dozen mountain bike trails at Coler ranging from mellow cross-country pedals to expert-only freeride descents.
I’ve listed them from easiest to hardest and starred the ones that I really liked.
1. Good Vibrations
Cross Country | Easy | 0.9 | South or North Gateway
This is a great beginner-friendly cross-country trail with a few berms and turns. You can use it as a connector trail between parking areas if you don’t want to take the paved path.
2. *Esther’s Loop
Cross Country | Easy | 4 Miles | South Gateway
Esther’s Loop is a mellow, mostly flowing cross-country loop on the southwest side of Coler Mountain Bike Preserve.
It was designed specifically as a race course for NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). Esther’s can be ridden in both directions, although the more popular direction is clockwise.
3. Family Flow
Downhill Flow | Easy | 0.4 Miles | South Gateway
This is a great trail to start on, especially if you’re new to faster downhill trails with features like berms and tabletops.
You can access Family Flow by pedaling up the dedicated climb trail.
4. *Thunder Dome
Dual Slalom | More Difficult | 0.3 Miles | South Gateway or Coler Grove
Thunder Dome is a blast, especially if you have a competitive spirit. It’s a dual slalom track with two identical trails slaloming next to each other down the ‘mountain’ (it’s really a hill).
There are tight berms, tabletops, and drops/rollers, but nothing mandatory.
5. *Fire line
Downhill Flow/Jump Trail | More Difficult | 0.7 Miles | North Gateway
Fire Line is a really great trail if you’re just learning how to do jumps and drops. It’s super flowy with lots of big berms and small-to-medium-sized tabletops and drops.
Fire Line starts at the Hub on the north side of Coler Mountain Bike Preserve.
6. Oscar’s Loop
Technical Cross Country | Difficult | 2.5 Miles | South or North Gateway
From the North Gateway parking area, Oscar’s Loop is a paved climbing trail that provides the easiest access up to The Hub.
From The Hub, Oscar’s Loop becomes quite a bit more rugged and technical. There are lots of embedded rocks and several technical rock gardens, but also stretches of flowy singletrack. It’s not an actual loop, though.
It can be ridden in either direction. I rode it North to South, but it would ride well the other way, too.
7. *Rock Soft
Old-School Technical | Difficult | 0.5 Miles | North Gateway
Rock Soft along with Rock Solid (see below) are the old-school technical downhill tracks at Coler Preserve.
Rock Soft is narrow with lots of natural features including rock gardens, short rock slabs rollers, and optional kickers made out of… you guessed it, rocks.
8. Cease and Desist
Downhill Jump Line | Very Difficult | 0.4 Miles | North Gateway
If Fire Line felt easy for you, take it up a few notches on Cease and Desist. This trail has much bigger jumps and drops and leads into one of the most advanced trails at Coler: Drop the Hammer (you can bail before DTH if you want).
9. Rock Solid
Old-School Technical | Very Difficult | 0.4 Miles | North Gateway
Rock Solid is very similar to rock soft, but with bigger rock kickers and steeper rock gardens.
10. Copperhead Road
Old-School Technical | Very Difficult | 0.9 Miles | North Gateway
Copperhead Road isn’t actually a road, but a mostly downhill technical old-school track that you can access from the Hub.
There are lots of rocky features as it follows a rock band. This trail requires good bike handling skills. If this is your kind of riding, connect into Here’s Johnny for the most challenging route at Coler Preserve.
11. Drop the Hammer
Downhill Jump Line | Most Difficult | 0.2 Miles | North Gateway
Drop The Hammer has the biggest feature at Coler, a 12+ foot drop off a metal ramp. The rest of the trail features more step-ups and step-downs. This trail is only for very experienced riders with freeride skills.
12. Here’s Johnny
Old-School Technical | Very Difficult | 1.5 Miles | North or South Gateway
Here’s Johnny is full of very old-school tech. It’s challenging, exhausting, and very annoying at times. I attempted to ride it, but bailed because I was too tired to deal with the stop-and-go rock sections.
There are a few really fun twisty elevated bridges that are wide enough to not cause panic.
What Gear to Bring
Below are a few of my favorite pieces of mountain bike gear. Specific to Coler Preserve, you may want to consider bringing:
Shop my favorite mountain bike gear
Coler Preserve Camping
There is camping at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve at a dedicated campground located literally trailside. The Coler Campground features:
- 17 hike-in elevated platform sites for tents (wagons available)
- 5 van sites (no hook-ups)
- Bathrooms with flush toilets
- Hot showers
- Bike wash & repair station
- Water bottle refill station
- Community fire pit
The campground is also within walking distance to Airship Coffee (see below) as well as some nice places to take a dip in the river.
For prices and reservations, head over to the Coler Campground webpage.
Perhaps the coolest and most unique landmark in Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is the bike/walk-in-only Airship Coffee. This modern, open-air, architectural piece of art is situated halfway between North Gateway and South Gateway parking lots along the paved path that runs the length of Coler.
Airship Coffee serves delicious Farm Direct coffee beverages as well as tacos, nachos, smoothies, baked goods, and other snacks. And beer/wine, too! It’s so cool.
Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is a great place to spend a day or two on your Bentonville mountain bike trip.
This little ‘bike park’ has trails for all levels of riders from flow tracks to pro-only jumps lines.
One of the things I like most about Coler, though (and Bentonville in general), is the community and camaraderie you feel out on the trails. Everyone is there to have fun and (so far) Bentonville has done an awesome job fostering this culture. Let’s keep it that way!
Planning a Bentonville mountain bike trip? Check out these other blog posts:
Have you been to Bentonville? What did you think of Coler Mountain Bike Preserve? Does it live up to the hype? Leave a comment below!