Embedded within the picturesque outskirts of Mt. Ida, Arkansas, Bear Mountain Trail remains an iconic challenge for cyclists. Offering 13 miles of testing terrains, this "Out & Back" route serves up an exciting mix of picturesque vistas and grueling switchback climbs. Bear Mountain Trail promises to elevate the biking experience - both literally and figuratively.
- Termination Point: As of now, the trail culminates atop Bear Mountain, clocking in at 6.5 miles, ensuring riders take the same route on their return.
- Terrain: The path is characterized by challenging switchback climbs, especially on loose rock, emphasizing its advanced status.
- Stream Crossings: A couple of rivulet encounters present along the route might pose a challenge to many, except perhaps for daredevils akin to D. Macaskill.
- Scenery: A defining feature of this trail, the abundant picturesque spots serve as a perfect reward for the grueling ascents.
Multiple cyclists have shared their insights on the trail:
- A notable mention is the steep climb near Crystal Springs to Blakely Dam. Expect some tough patches, especially for those riding on XC tires. Summers might require extra caution due to spiders, prompting some riders to reserve their journeys for the fall.
- The Brady-Crystal-Brady segment received commendations for its breathtaking views, despite being a strenuous ride.
- The trail's solitude enhances its appeal, with chances of spotting turkeys and deer higher than crossing another rider.
- Some critiques, however, were targeted at the newly inaugurated section along Bear Mountain's northern side. The machine-cut path lacked imagination for some, though hopes remain high for future expansions towards the dam.
For those venturing from Mt. Ida, the route involves a 19-mile eastward journey on 270 till the Crystal Springs community. A notable landmark is a store, just before which riders need to turn North on Crystal Springs Road. A 2-mile continuation leads past a boat launch, and soon after crossing the unimproved county road 47, a pavilion and trail head kiosk mark the destination.From Hot Springs, the direction entails an 18-mile westward drive to Crystal Springs. Post the liquor store, a northward turn on Crystal Springs Road, followed by a 2-mile drive, leads to the trail head.
Bear Mountain Trail, with its intricate mix of challenges and beauty, remains a must-ride for every cycling enthusiast. Whether looking to test endurance or soak in nature's splendors, this trail doesn't disappoint. But remember, while the journey might be arduous, the rewards are unparalleled.