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On my most recent trip to Arkansas, one of my goals was to ride each of the Monument Trails systems that have been developed in four State Parks throughout north & central Arkansas:
These trail systems were formed thanks to a collaboration between State Park management and professional trail builders with generous funding from the Walton Foundation (aka Walmart).
It’s no secret that I love the mountain biking in and around Bentonville, so I was really excited to check out what’s happening in other areas of the state.
In this post, I share what makes the Monument Trails in Arkansas special and how you can make the most of your visit to each of them as a mountain biker and adventurer.
Let’s dive in!
So what are the Monument Trails?
The Monument Trails are a unique series of mountain biking trails set in four of Arkansas’s state parks.
Monument Trails Map
Launched in 2019, the Monument Trails initiative aimed at boosting outdoor recreation (namely mountain biking) and nature tourism, while promoting conservation and appreciation for the state’s natural resources.
Each of the trail systems is designed to provide an immersive experience, combining the growing popularity of mountain biking in the state with the exploration of Arkansas’s most significant natural and cultural landmarks—hence, the name “Monument” Trails.
Each trail system is unique, well-thought-out, and professionally designed to provide world-class mountain biking experiences that highlight the terrain and intrinsic beauty of each of the Parks.
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The Four Monument Trail Systems & What Makes Them Special
Each of the four Monument Trail systems is unique in its own special way. That being said, I did enjoy some more than others.
Here are the four trail systems ranked based on my experience:
1. Mount Nebo State Park
>> Visit for: The epic views, long downhills, and amazing purpose-built mountain biking trails
Mount Nebo State Park is one of Arkansas’s first state parks and a prized destination for mountain bikers.
Located in Dardanelle, Mount Nebo stands out with its stunning vistas, historical significance (it used to be a destination for wealthy summer vacationers), and incredible mountain biking trails.
The park’s unique feature is its location atop a flat-topped mountain. As you drive up the steep, windy road, you’ll probably be squirming in your seat realizing that your legs will soon be getting a workout.
But trust me, the downhills are worth it!
2. Devil’s Den State Park
>> Visit for: Spectacular rock features and a tranquil campground
Devil’s Den State Park is a close second for best Monument Trail system (according to me).
Nestled in the heart of the Lee Creek Valley in the picturesque Ozark National Forest, Devil’s Den State Park is characterized by its distinctive rock formations, caves, crevices, and rugged bluffs.
The most ‘famous’ trail is Devil’s Racetrack with its natural bowl-like rock formations and overhanging cliffs, but all of the trails have something unique to offer.
Take your time on Fossil Flats trails where you can see numerous fossil impressions left in the rock bed—relics from an ancient sea that once covered the area.
3. Hobbs State Park
>> Visit for: Truly world-class cross-country mountain bike trails
For the XC riders in the crowd, Hobbs State Park will not disappoint. In fact, the trail system here has some of the best cross-country singletrack I’ve ever ridden. It’s fast, flowy, and fun!
Encompassing a vast expanse of Ozark landscape, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is the largest state park in Arkansas. The park’s charm lies in its sprawling forests, rolling terrain, and proximity to Beaver Lake.
The Monument Trails in Hobbs State Park are designed to showcase the park’s natural landscape. The mellow trails meander through dense hardwood forests, along limestone bluffs, and parallel to some of the many fingers of Beaver Lake.
4. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
>> Visit for: … this is a tough one because it wasn’t my favorite. If I had to choose something it is unique for, it would be old-school technical riding.
Unfortunately, Pinnacle Mountain State Park was my last Monument Trail system to check off and after having amazing rides at the other three, this one definitely fell flat.
While the riding is good, it’s not unique or ‘monumental’ like the other ones.
Located just west of Little Rock, Arkansas, Pinnacle Mountain State Park is centered around Pinnacle Mountain, a distinct geological feature visible from miles away that rises more than a thousand feet above the Arkansas River Valley.
Unfortunately, you don’t really get to see Pinnacle Mountain while riding and the only views of the Arkansas River are seen from one trail (Dynamite trail).
I’m not trying to discourage you from riding at Pinnacle Mountain but maybe hit it first so your expectations are set based on this one, not the others.
I really enjoyed my days exploring all four of Arkansas’s Monument Trails. Each network had its own unique and (mostly) amazing terrain, views, and of course, awesome singletrack.
If you find yourself in Arkansas (or you live there!) and you want to hit the highlights, Hobbs, Devil’s Den, and Mount Nebo are definitely good places to start. Pinnacle is worthwhile, but just know that it doesn’t quite live up to the “monumental-ness’ of the other three.
Want to explore Arkansas further? Here are some more planning guides and adventures for the Natural State: