Mountain Biking at Hobbs State Park: An XC Riders Dream

Mountain biker riding down singletrack trail in woods at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas with lake on the right hand side

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Hobbs State Park is one of four trail networks that make up Arkanas’s Monument Trails, a project that aims to bring world-class mountain bike trails to Arkansa’s state parks.

Hobbs is also the largest State Park in the state and located in the Northwest corner on the shores of Beaver Lake, a man-made reservoir formed by a dam across the White River.

Hobbs is known for its towering limestone cliffs, natural caves, fishing, and, of course, its extensive trail system that is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.

I’ve ridden at Hobbs several times and it’s one of my favorite places in Arkansas for stunning flowy, cross-country trails.

In this post, I share everything you need to know about mountain biking at Hobbs State Park including the best trails to ride, how to link them up, camping opportunities, and more!

Getting there & where to park

Hobbs State Park is located in the northwest corner of Arkansas on the shores of Beaver Lake. The closest towns are Eureka Springs, 30 minutes northeast, and Springdale, 30 minutes southwest.

Depending on which way you go, you may pass through the tiny town of War Eagle, which has a cool historic wooden bridge and mill where you can buy local products and fresh-baked goods.

There are several parking areas that access the Hobbs State Park trails. The main parking area is just outside the Visitors Center (get directions here). There are bathrooms, but no water.

Watch BKXC explore the trails at Hobbs State Park

Important Things to Know

Mountain biking at Hobbs State Park is awesome, but there are a few things to know before hitting the trails:

  • Trails are multi-use: While you’ll probably mostly see mountain bikers at Hobbs, the trails are multi-use and you may encounter hikers, horseback riders (Hobbs West), and trail runners. Please be kind and courteous and share the trail.
  • There is some exposure: Nothing is life-threatening, but there is some narrow sidehill and cliffy lake-side singletrack that may be unnerving for some riders. Walk when in doubt.
  • There are few bail points: Once you’re committed to a loop or route, you’re pretty much committed. Yes, the terrain is rolling and fast, but the miles can add up. When I do the full 20-mile route I’m pretty worked at the end. Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Trail Guide & Route Recommendations

The trails at Hobbs State Park are broken up into east and west networks.

If you only have a day to explore Hobbs, I highly recommend riding the eastern network (Karst Trail, Wolf Den, etc..).

Hobbs State Park Trail Map

Hobbs East

Hobbs East is the most popular network of trails for mountain bikers at Hobbs. The trails are almost completely machine-built, so they’re super fast, flowy, and fun!

There is some climbing, but all of the climbs are graded really well and honestly, it’s one of the best cross-country trail networks that I’ve ever ridden.

The trails are directional, but there are signs pointing mountain bikers which way to go.

Route recommendation

1. Karst Trail

The Karst Trail is the most scenic section of trail in the Hobbs East area. If you don’t have a lot of time or you prefer to do a shorter ride, the Karst Trail is the “creme” of Hobbs State Park.

  • Route difficulty: Beginner
  • Trail network: Hobbs East
  • Route type: Loop
  • E-bikes? Yes
  • Mileage: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 538 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Karst Trail Parking > Karst Trail (counterclockwise)

Route notes: There isn’t really a parking area at the trailhead, but you can park on the side of the dirt road.

Do more: See route recommendation below

Singletrack gravel trail winding its way through the forest at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas down toward the lake shore
Karst Trail is the most scenic – and flowy! – trail at Hobbs State Park

Route recommendation

2. Hobbs East Long Loop

This route covers most of the trails on the eastern side of Hobbs and is a great way to spend a day. I really love the flowiness of Hobbs and the miles go by pretty quickly.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness
  • Trail network: Hobbs East
  • Route type: Loop
  • E-bikes? Yes
  • Mileage: 16.3 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,014 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Hobbs State Park Parking > Tunnel Connector > (optional: Sawtooth > Return Trail) > Wolf Den West > Karst Trail > Wolf Den East > (optional: Timberjack > Return Trail) > Tunnel Connector

Route notes: The trails are directional. Follow signs for mountain bikers.

Do more: If you want to add on a few miles, there are two downhill trails that are really fun. I recommend taking Sawtooth at the start and Timberjack at the end. Adding these two trails will add about 4 miles and 250 ft of climbing.

Trail signs at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas recommending route of travel for mountain bikers and trail names: Wolf Den-West (left), Wolf Den-East (right), Karst Loop (both directions)

Hobbs West

The western network of trails at Hobbs is less popular than the east, but if you have a few days to explore the area, they are worth checking out. The trails are hand-cut rather than machine built, so they don’t roll or flow quite as well, but they’re still fun.

I rode Hobbs west as a 20-mile, 2,500+ ft day and honestly, it was a struggle to finish. Unless you’re super fit, I wouldn’t recommend trying to pack all the miles in.

Route recommendation

3. Hobbs West Loop

This loop links together Little Clifty Creek Trail and War Eagle Valley Loop. There are bigger climbs than on the eastern side and the terrain is a bit more natural and loose. The viewpoint on War Eagle Valley Loop is really pretty!

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness
  • Trail network: Hobbs West
  • Route type: Loop
  • E-bikes? Yes
  • Mileage: 12.3 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,511 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Hobbs State Park Parking > Visitor Center Connector > Little Clifty Creek Loop > War Eagle Valley Loop > Little Clifty Creek Loop > Visitor Center Connector

Route notes: Unlike Hobbs East, these trails are not directional. I rode the loop counterclockwise, but I think it would be fine riding clockwise as well.

Do less: You can skip the War Eagle Valley Loop, but the viewpoint is quite beautiful!

Do more: If you have the legs and stamina, there are two additional loops you can add: Dutton Hollow and Bashore Ridge. They were both pretty but not ‘can’t miss’. Bashore Ridge does go all the way down to the lake if you want a nice spot for lunch.

Viewpoint out onto War Eagle River at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas
The viewpoint out onto War Eagle River on the War Eagle Valley Loop is worth the pedal

Camping at Hobbs State Park

Hobbs State Park doesn’t have a developed campground, but it does have several primitive sites that are pretty cool.

Karst Loop Hike/Bike-in Camping

There are 6 hike/bike-in sites on the northern end of Karst Trail that overlook Beaver Lake.

Each site has a large gravel tent pad that can accommodate two tents, a fire pit, and a large metal structure to hang hammocks. These sites are $15 per night and reservations must be made in advance.

This would be a great one-night bikepacking trip!

Large metal half-egg shape camping structure at bike or hike-in only campsite on the shores of Beaver Lake at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas
The bike or hike-in only campsites along Karst Trail are really cool

Trailhead camping

There are two tent camping structures at the main trailhead that are available first-come first-serve for camping.

They’re located right off the parking area, so they aren’t very private, but a good option if you need an easy camp spot for the night. There are bathrooms, but no potable water.

Trail sign at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas describing what the Monument Trail System is. Large metal camping structures in background
There are two tent camping spots available at the main trailhead on a first-come-first-serve basis

Other things to do around Hobbs State Park

As Arkansas’s largest state park, it’s no surprise that there is a ton to do in and around Hobbs State Park. In addition to mountain biking, visitors can also:

  • Enjoy hiking-only trails at Pigeon Roost, which also has hike-in campsites
  • Get out on the water for fishing, swimming, boating, or SUPing
  • Join a park event including ranger-led interpretative walks and workshops
  • Stop at the War Eagle Mill
  • Visit War Eagle Cavern
Mountain biker riding on narrow section of rocky trail with tall limestone cliff on left side of her at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great way to spend a day on two wheels, exploring the trails in Hobbs State Park won’t disappoint.

Karst Trail and the singletrack on the east side of Hobbs are some of the best purpose-built cross-country trails I’ve ridden to date. They are fast, flowy, and beautiful!

The West side of Hobbs is good, too. Not as good as the east side, but if you have the time (or want to make it a 2-day bikepacking adventure by camping at the bike-in sites on Karst Trail!) they are worth checking out.

Happy trails!


Arkansas is one of my favorite states for mountain biking. Check out these blog posts for more great trail and riding recommendations:

What questions do you have about mountain biking at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas? Have you ridden here already? What did you think? Leave a comment below!

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