- Distance: 15 miles
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Point to point
- Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Web of Trails: More Than Just Downhill
Lake Leatherwood City Park is far from a one-trick pony when it comes to mountain biking. While the park recently transitioned into a downhill park, featuring Minors Loop as the sole multi-use, multi-direction trail, its 25 miles of trails are low-impact and single-track in nature. These are designed for both foot and bike traffic and feature challenges that suit different skill levels. Free shuttle service operates from Thursday to Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., switching to a paid model in mid-August.
Trail Characteristics: A Sampler of Skills Required
- Beacham Trail: Starts at the campground trailhead, initially a fire road before morphing into single-track with a couple of technical sections.
- Downhill Challenge: Difficulty scales with speed; offers jumps but easy to circumvent.
- Overlook Trail: Steep but offers good views; best approached in a counter-clockwise direction.
- Others: Varied terrain, rocky ledges, steep slopes, and creek crossings feature across trails, suitable for different skill levels.
How to Get There
The park is accessible just east off Highway 62. The first entrance passes ball fields and offers several trail entrances. Another entrance leads to the camping area and the Beacham trailhead.
Cyclist Reviews and Comments
- Ride Quality: Top-notch craftsmanship but marred by loose, marble-sized rocks.
- Trust Issues: Loose surface materials impede speed, affecting trust in downhill runs.
- User-Friendliness: Routes are easy to navigate but have challenging features; not suitable for beginners.
- Conditions: Avoid riding just after heavy rainfall; slippery due to rocks and tree roots.
- Bike Choice: A mid-travel trail bike suffices, no need for a full-on downhill rig.
- Trail Rating: Depending on how technical you like your trails, ratings may differ; good for intermediates and higher.
- Local Insights: It's wise to consult with someone familiar with the trails before venturing out.
Verdict: A Mixed Bag Worth the Visit
Lake Leatherwood City Park offers something for every mountain biker, from beginner to expert. Its trails are well-built but require attention due to the loose, rocky surfaces. Its downfall, according to some, lies in its lack of flow, leaning more towards hiking trails than MTB trails in some instances. Overall, it scores as a '3 out of 5' — promising but not without room for improvement.