Ten minutes from theMissouri border, Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista, Arkansas, has long been adestination for mountain bikers, boasting flowy trails, daring cliff rides andimpressive rock drops. Out of the saddle, waterfalls, 60 degree “air-conditioned”caves and natural springs beckon after a sweaty summer loop.
But variety, they say, isthe spice of life. Enter AREA 51. Dreamed up and executed by Progressive TrailDesign, this new trail (known to some locals as Wonderland) gives a flowy,roller coaster-like feel as you turn through a bevy of machine-cut soil berms.“We gauge other trail experiences in the region to Kessler,” says Brannon Pack, executive director of Ozark Off Road Cyclists, who along with a dedicated team of volunteers have been hand-cutting trail on the mountain for over a decade.
As you descend into a ravine, many of the bermsare built right into the mountainside, letting you ride what nature wants youto ride. “It makes me feel like a kid again,” says trail builder Josh Hardy.“The trail itself isn’t massive, so there isn’t too much consequence. It’s agreat place to session and hone your turning skills.”
AREA 51 also boasts a new lily pad feature,which invites riders to “shoot the gap” onto a tabletop before bouncing offagain. Rated intermediate, some of the jumps and berms are on the steep side,and beginner riders could find themselves in over their heads.
The northern anchor of the Razorback Regional Greenway, BlowingSprings is an easy ride back down to the Bentonville arts and culture scene andan even easier ride to the spectacular single-track of the Back 40 loop.
In the mood for momentum? You’ll also find a new pump track atthe Blowing Springs trailhead. Or pack a picnic and bring the family under thelarge covered pavilion near a spring.
A beautiful ride on theedge of town, Blowing Springs has long been the perfect after-work adventure,with great bluff exposure and impressive natural features. With the addition ofAREA 51, don’t be surprised if you get mistaken for an unidentified flyingobject as you shoot through this thrilling new track.