Fayetteville's Key 2023 Cycling Events

Whether you are looking for an iconic gravel cycling adventure in the Ozark Mountains or to watch world-class mountain bike athletes compete at Centennial Park, the wide world of cycling in Fayetteville, Arkansas has something in store for you in 2023!

Fayetteville has become a hotspot cycling destination for bikers and fans from all over the world, and for good reason. Our robust calendar of spectator-friendly cycling events is filled to the brim this year, with enough variety to provide opportunities for riders of every skill level.

In 2023, Fayetteville, AR will play host to several cycling events, boasting a calendar already packed with international, elite, and championship-level racing – right alongside options for inclusive, beginner-friendly, less technical experiences. There’s no doubt that Fayetteville, the only recognized Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community in the state, is the place to be in 2023 for cycling fans, racers, casual riders and curious spectators alike!

Cycling event season kicks off in the spring, when Fayetteville welcomes a global group of mountain bike racers for the U.S. Pro Cup presented by Walmart. Keystone events such as the annual Joe Martin Stage Race, Experience Fayetteville Criterium, and Bike City Fondo will then carry us into a summer full of gravel and mountain biking. Notably, the Highlands Gravel Classic returns to the gravel roads east of Fayetteville this summer as the only UCI Gravel World Series event in the United States offering the chance to qualify for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships in Italy later this year! In the fall, new events like the Ozark Randonneur, a 200-mile gravel adventure, and the Fayetteville Tandem Rally, a weekend full of tandem bicycles on city streets, roll into town to round out the season.

With the Ozark Mountains as a backdrop, Fayetteville, Arkansas is the best place to experience world-class cycling events in 2023. Keep reading to learn more about year-round opportunities to watch, ride, or race some of our favorite cycling events coming up on the calendar!

Spring Cycling Events

What: U.S. Pro Cup

When: April 12-16, 2023

Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The road to Paris runs through Fayetteville, Arkansas this year, where Olympic hopefuls will gather for the opportunity to score heaps of valuable qualifying points at the 2023 U.S. Pro Cup! The U.S. Pro Cup Mountain Bike Series is returning to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the third consecutive year with four jam-packed days of cross-country mountain biking racing, qualifiers, and classes for all levels.

Cyclists will race their way to the top on the purpose-built cross-country “World Cup” racecourse at 228-acre Centennial Park. The circuit is unique to the United States, built from the ground up to meet international specifications, making the course a premier stop for racers worldwide. Fans can certainly anticipate some excellent action on the dynamic, rock-filled circuit as racers zip by!

Spectator's Guide

What: Iron Pig Festival

When: April 22, 2023

Where: Arkansas Air and Military Museum and scenic Hwy 71 in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Iron Pig Festival has options for folks of all levels that are looking to experience a fun road biking experience! This would be a great first time event if you’re looking to test your skills, as

well as being a hilly enough challenge to serve as an early season test for seasoned athletes. The Iron Pig Festival consists of a USA Triathlon sanctioned Duatlon, 5K, Fun Run, and a Bike Time Trial. Runners will find the courses are flat and fast, while the bike course is an out and back on scenic Hwy 71. The finish line is particularly fun - located inside the gate of the Arkansas Air and Military Museum, under the tail section of the C-130 H Hercules! The event will include a post-event festival with food and beverages for participants.

What: Square 2 Square Spring Bike Ride

When: May 6, 2023

Where: Departing from Fayetteville, Arkansas on the Razorback Regional Greenway

The Square 2 Square Bike Ride happens twice a year, and the first edition belongs to Fayetteville! This event, now in its eighth year, is not a race, but an easygoing ride that’s designed for all ages and abilities. It’s known as the “Official Ride of the Razorback Greenway”, intended to highlight and showcase the massive trail system. Departing from Walker Park in Fayetteville, riders will have the chance to celebrate the downtown squares of Northwest Arkansas while enjoying the unique cycling amenities that make Fayetteville such an iconic destination for bikers and visitors alike. A virtual ride option celebrating National Bike Month will also be available for the entire month of May!

What: Joe Martin Stage Race

When: May 18-21, 2023

Where: Fayetteville, Arkansas and scenic Washington County

The infamous and iconic Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas is a longtime mainstay in the cycling community, with 2023’s event marking the 46th anniversary of the race.

Featuring four stages of professional and two stages of amateur road racing down the spectator-friendly streets of Fayetteville and into the winding backcountry of the Ozarks, the Joe Martin Stage Race is a perennial springtime favorite for fans of cycling! Each year, decorated spectators line the sidewalks of Fayetteville as 800 cyclists representing all 50 states and 27 countries speed through the streets of our Historic Downtown and Entertainment Districts. First-time spectators can expect a vibrant but family-friendly environment with plenty of porches and patios to experience the action from! New for 2023, amateur and “just-for-fun” cyclists will have the opportunity to participate in the Bike City Fondo and ride the same courses as the pros.

What: Fayetteville Ramble Ride

When: May 30-June 2, 2023

Where: departing from Fayetteville, AR and riding throughout Northwest Arkansas

The Fayetteville Ramble Ride is a new event for 2023, beginning and ending in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with plenty of opportunity to explore all the cycling amenities that Northwest Arkansas has to offer! Riders are invited to camp at this catered and supported event, where they’ll be greeted with four days of vetted bike adventures. The Fayetteville Ramble Ride will traverse 227 miles with just under 21,000 feet of climbing in the Ozarks.

Summer Cycling Events

What: Ozark Valley Triathlon

When: June 2-4, 2023

Where: Lake Wedington Recreation Area near Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville’s oldest triathlon event, the Ozark Valley Triathlon, is teaming up for a second consecutive year with the USA Triathlon (USAT) National Championships to host a full slate of sanctioned events in Fayetteville, AR. As always, the event will also include the Arkansas High School State Championships for those in grades 9-12. This event is fast-paced with lots of different categories, so there’s absolutely something for everyone to enjoy. How can you go wrong with a competition that has an “aquabike” category? There will be gravel, road, and off-road/mountain biking happening to observe, not to mention the gorgeous natural surroundings of Lake Wedington!

What: Highlands Gravel Classic

When: June 24, 2023

Where: Private farm and gravel roads just east of Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the second consecutive year, the road to the 2023 UCI Gravel World Champsionships will run directly through Fayetteville, Arkansas! The second annual Highlands Gravel Classic returns to Fayetteville on Saturday, June 24th, 2023, with registration open to gravel cyclists of all levels. Held against the backdrop of the Boston Mountain range of the Ozark Mountains - the Highlands - the event will feature two courses, both 95% gravel. Competitors will travel through canopy-covered backcountry roads on either the “Highlands” or “Farmlands” course, depending on their age category, in their attempts to secure a qualifying spot at UCI Gravel Worlds. This relatively new discipline in the cycling world is fun, thrilling, and ultra-social and is somewhat of a blend between mountain and road biking - certain to be an exciting experience for anyone that’s interested in participating or observing.

Fall Cycling Events

What: Grit MTB Festival

When: September 29-October 1, 2023

Where: Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville, Arkansas

If you’re looking for a multi-day festival that caters to the unique needs of trans men and women, cis women, and non-binary folks that ride (or want to ride) mountain bikes, you’ll find it in Fayetteville at the Grit MTB Festival! This type of event is far from common in the cycling world, so it’s particularly exciting to have a festival this size that calls Fayetteville home. Grit MTB, in addition to providing a safe space for MTB fans to ride and learn, also does a fantastic job highlighting the scenic and diverse mountain bike trails in the region. All riders regardless of skill level and all bikes are welcome, explicitly so! The festival began and continues as an effort to make mountain biking, which can be seen as difficult to begin, a little dangerous, and sometimes expensive, accessible to the women and women-aligned riders who wish to be included. Food, drinks, workshops, group rides, and skill clinics will be available to participants over all three days of the festival, and free camping is offered on-site for anyone that wishes to take advantage.

What: Fayetteville Tandem Weekend

When: September 29-October 1, 2023

Where: Fayetteville, Arkansas

A new tandem bicycling festival is heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2023! Fayetteville Tandem Weekend will be a parade of tandem bicycles and their riders traveling on urban bike trails, scenic roads, and (optionally) gravel rides around Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas. Even if you’re not riding, keep an eye out for some top-notch photo opportunities of our Favoriteville adorned with tandem bicyclists! Registration and more information is expected to be released by organizers in April 2023.

What: Square 2 Square Fall Bike Ride

When: October 7, 2023

Where: Departing on the Razorback Regional Greenway toward Fayetteville, Arkansas

This is the fall edition of the Square 2 Square Spring Bike Ride, with the route reversed: riders begin in Bentonville and end in downtown Fayetteville, AR.

What: Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder

When: October 28, 2023

Where: Lake Wedington Recreation Area near Fayetteville, Arkansas

A gravel racing experience so great that it spans TWO states! The Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder departs from Lake Wedington, just outside of Fayetteville, where riders wind through the hardwood timber forests of the Ozarks before crossing into Oklahoma to complete their dirt road adventure. The returning favorite features a popular mass start format and long stretches of rolling gravel roads through wooded, canopy covered areas descending through historic communities

Winter Cycling Events

What: Slay Ride

When: December 16, 2023

Where: Beginning and ending at Fossil Cove Brewing Co. in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The 2023 Slay Ride will be the 4th annual edition of the event, hosted by local MTB enthusiast group Ozark Off-Road Cyclists. Taking off shortly before the height of the Christmas season, the Slay Ride will bring riders to adventure through old Fayetteville favorites and newer trails alike, with plenty of aid stations and fun along the way! The ride begins and ends as it traditionally has, at bike-friendly Fossil Cove Brewing Company.

Ride Year Round in Our Town

What’s a weekend of watching bicycle racing without some cycling of your own? Northwest Arkansas is known for its mild seasons that welcome year-round riding. Regardless of what event brings you to Fayetteville, don’t forget your bike!

For mountain bikers, Fayetteville boasts 50 miles of technical singletrack, family-friendly flow trail, and purpose-built features just minutes from downtown. Riders will find most mountain bike trailheads accessible from our 50+ mile paved trail network – where you and your family or friends can find local trailside food and refreshments all along the way.

For cyclists that favor the roads, Fayetteville has a rich history of road cycling with low traffic density, high road quality, and mountain scenery drawing professional road teams to town every year. Leaving Fayetteville, scenic pavement gives way to extensive backcountry gravel experiences where the opportunities for riding become endless.

In total, Fayetteville boasts more than 100 miles of paved and single-track trails within the city limits – with iconic road and gravel riding waiting just outside of town. Stay tuned to our event calendar for additional participatory cycling opportunities!

Ride with GPS

Experience Fayetteville has partnered with Ride with GPS for our route development needs. Featuring complimentary turn by turn navigation and unique Points of Interest (POI), mobile users will want to download the free Ride with GPS app.

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