Mountain Biking at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Monument Trails Least Impressive Network

Woman taking a selfie at lookout point in Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas. She is wearing a mountain bike helmet and sunglasses

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Pinnacle Mountain State Park is one of four state parks in Arkansas’s Monument Trail System – an initiative aimed to bring world-class trails to state parks around Arkansas. 

Pinnacle was the last Monument Trail System for me to check off (I’d already ridden Devil’s Den, Hobbs, and Mt. Nebo) and honestly, I was a bit disappointed. 

Each of the other trail networks had something amazing to offer like:

  • Epic views and long downhills (Mt. Nebo)
  • Unique rock formations (Devil’s Den)
  • Truly world-class machine-built cross-country trails (Hobbs). 

But Pinnacle? It didn’t really seem like it had anything exciting to offer. If I had to give it a ‘specialty’ I’d say it wins the award for rugged, steep, chunky, old-school tracks. Of course, there was some flow, but not as much as the other Monument Trail systems.

Overall were the trails at Pinnacle Mountain good? Yes. But were they amazing? Not really. 

I don’t want to discourage you from checking them out if your mission is to hit all of the Monument Trail Systems in Arkansas. They are pretty cool. But maybe hit Pinnacle first so your expectations are set accordingly 🙂

In this post, I share everything you need to know to make the most of your mountain biking experience at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. 

Getting There & Where to Park

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is located just 30 minutes outside of Little Rock, Arkansas on the Arkansas River.

There are several parking areas, but I recommend parking at the Middle Mountain Parking Area because it has easy access to both the east and west trail networks.

Middle Mountain Trailhead trail sign at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas featuring a trail map and brief descriptions of trails
I recommend parking at the Middle Mountain trailhead for best access to both sides of the mountain bike trails

Important Things to Know

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

  • Elevation gain: Pinnacle State Park is set into a mountain, so expect to earn your downhills. I rode 16 miles with 2,900 ft of climbing.
  • Hike/bike-only trails: The trails are clearly marked with hike/bike-only signs. Please respect them and don’t ride on hike-only trails.
  • Erosion: When I rode Pinnacle, there was a lot of erosion and washed-out trails. Supposedly money has been granted to give Pinnacle some love. Hopefully, the trails will get the work they need.
  • Trail ratings are weird: I don’t know if it’s because of the erosion or what, but I found the trail ratings (green, blue, black) to be very inconsistent. The two hardest trails are Carnasaw and Glade Runner. Chaotic Zone is not a black.
  • Trail signage: The trails were well-signed, however, I always recommend having TrailForks downloaded to your phone.

Trail Guide & Route Recommendations

If you read the intro, you know that I wasn’t a huge fan of the mountain bike trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

They were good, yes, but compared to the other Monument Trail Systems (Devil’s Den, Hobbs, and Mt. Nemo), Pinnacle definitely came up short. It’s good, but it’s not amazing.

If you’re interested in riding at Pinnacle, though, here are the best trails and a route recommendation:

  • Chaotic Zone (not a black like TrailForks says)
  • Coachwhip
  • Jackfork
  • Dynamite (I found this to be the most interesting trail)
  • Twistflower
  • Turkey Tracks

(Note: the other downhill trails on the west side like Armadillo Run and Middle Mountain were very rutted and eroded when I was there, which is why I didn’t recommend them, at least until they get some love. Carnshaw is a legit steep, old-school black trail that most people will walk).

Depending on how much you want to pedal and how many days you’re in the park, you can easily split the park into two: do the west side on day one and the east side on day two.

The below route is a mash-up of the best trails on each side.

Route recommendation

>> Pinnacle Highlights

This route hits all the best trails on both sides of Pinnacle Mountain with lots of options to modify it to make it longer or shorter.

When I rode here, there was quite a bit of erosion on the trails. This route hits the least eroded trails, but hopefully they’ll get a trail crew in soon to do some maintenance.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Route type: Loop
  • E-bikes? Yes
  • Mileage: 10.7 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1542 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Middle Mountain Parking > Coachwhip Loop > Centipede > Chaotic Zone > Coachwhip Loop > Upper Stick > Jackfork > Dynamite > Twistflower > Lower Stick > Upper Stick > Upheaval > Turkey Tracks > Lower Stick

Route notes: I thought Dynamite was the most interesting trail, so don’t skip it. There is a big climb, but the views at the top are awesome!

Make it shorter: I thought the trails on the east side were better than the west, so if you want to cut off some miles, skip the Coachwhip Loop.

Do more: Got some more climbing in you? Add Aramadillo’s Run and/or Mid-Mountain either at the start or the end of your ride.

Mountain bike leaning against a rock beside trail through a meadow in Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas
I thought Dynamite Trail was the most interesting trail: it even had a few cactus plants!


There is no campground within Pinnacle Mountain State Park, but Maumelle Park Campground is just a short drive away with 128 sites, clean showers and bathrooms, and access to the Arkansas River.

Final Thoughts

Pinnacle State Park is my least favorite network in Arkansas’s Monument Trail System. Unlike the other State Parks, this one didn’t feel like it had anything special to offer. The trails were quite eroded and washed out in places and it just felt like it didn’t get the love that, say, Devil’s Den gets.

But that being said, if your goal is to visit all four of the Monument Trails networks, then Pinnacle should be on your list. Are the trails good? Yes. Are they amazing? No.

Maybe hit Pinnacle first so your expectations keep getting exceeded with the other networks 🙂

Photo out over front of handlebars of bike down a very steep rock roller at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas
The eastside trails at Pinnacle had more fun and interesting features like this steep rock roller

Have you ridden at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas? What did you think of the mountain biking there? Leave a comment below!

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  1. You may have missed two of my favorite runs at Pinnacle. Logging Road (on the middle mountain side) and the south section of Jackfork going downhill. The section you climbed on Jackfork is also worth a ride down.

    1. Thanks! I didn’t take logging road because I wasn’t sure how to fit it into a route. I think next time I’d take Logging road instead of doing the full coachwhip loop (probably clockwise?)

      I could see how Jackfork would be awesome as a descent, too. I hope Pinnacle gets some some trail love soon!

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