Just a short drive south from Fayetteville’s downtown is Devil’s Den State Park and the newest addition to the Arkansas State Parks Monument Trails – a statewide collection of world-class mountain bike trails crafted by the top trail builders in the country.
Set in the Lee Creek Valley of the Ozark Mountains, Devil’s Den State Park is one of Arkansas’s first state parks. Originally constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Devil’s Den has been beckoning guests to experience its striking natural beauty for generations.
Known as the ‘Birthplace of Arkansas Mountain Biking’, Devil’s Den is home to the earliest mountain bike trails established in the state. Off-road cyclists have been gathering at the park for rides, races, and festivals since the late 1980’s - when Arkansas State Parks first opened a selection of trails to mountain bikers.
Now totaling 18 miles, the construction of 12 new miles of stunning single track trails has led to the latest Monument Trails designation – with Devil’s Den joining other iconic trail systems at Mt. Nebo, Pinnacle Mountain, and Hobbs State Park. With names reminiscent of the CCC, new cross-country experiences like ‘Gold Brick’, ‘Dollar-a-Day’, and ‘Devil’s Racetrack’ showcase extended bluff line riding where the trail dips behind running waterfalls before weaving through the Ozark Forest. Like the historic CCC remnants found across the park, much of the trail includes large amounts of purposely placed stonework – with numerous alternate lines leading to more challenging options.
For thrill seekers, the Devil’s Den Monument Trails system includes two purpose-built downhill trails. Designated intermediate in difficulty, ‘Sparky’ offers up steep riding along exposed bluffs with a variety of line options. Black Diamond in difficulty, ‘Orville’ presents a technical descent featuring raw lines and natural drops blended with flowing rock gardens. Mountain bikers can session these one-way trails by following a short return trail back to the top.
After the ride, just head back up the hill to Fayetteville where a large selection of local eateries and craft breweries await – with patios perfect for celebrating the days ride late into the evening.
What to know: Devil’s Den State Park is just 24 miles from Fayetteville’s Downtown Square and a short 30-minute drive. To get to the park, head south from Fayetteville on I-49 to exit 45. At exit 45, take a right onto AR-74 West and follow it into the park. With tight turns into the Lee Creek Valley, RV’s and trailers longer than 26’ are advised to take exit 53 and follow signs into the park. Guests should expect limited cell phone reception at the park. Although the trail system can be found on the more popular mobile navigation apps, consider stopping off at the Devil’s Den State Park Visitors Center to pick up a printed map of the Monument Trail system for easy reference while riding.
Make sure to add Devil’s Den State Park Monument Trails system to the list when planning your next mountain bike vacation to Fayetteville. Also, don’t forget to tag us at @fayettevillear and use #bikefayetteville so we can share in your mountain bike adventures around Fayetteville, Arkansas!