The PeopleForBikes City Ratings program evaluated more than 550 cities and towns across five key categories. Indicative of how quickly we are improving our biking infrastructure and getting people riding, Fayetteville ranked 1st in the country in the Acceleration category.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan said, “A community that, just 20 years ago, didn’t have a single bike lane or a shared-use paved trail is now in the top 10 in the nation. It’s remarkable progress.”
And we are not alone. Including Fayetteville, three Northwest Arkansas communities were ranked in this year’s top twenty!
New Places to Ride
Fayetteville is creating new places to ride. And fast. If you are a first-time visitor or Fayetteville is an annual destination, new places to cycle are being continually constructed all over town and connecting the community like never before.
In Fayetteville’s Southtown, the completed Cato Springs Trail added an additional 2.7 miles of protected bike path and connected the Mount Kessler Regional Park to the existing Town Branch Trail. With amenities including ample public parking, restrooms and water fountains, the Regional Park is now acknowledged as “Mile Zero” for Northwest Arkansas (NWA) Razorback Greenway. A natural fit, the addition of the Cato Springs Trail expanded the NWA Razorback Greenway to 40 miles and made South Fayetteville a great place to start any Greenway adventure.
New residential development along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd is helping complete the last section of the Town Branch Trail this year. The Town Branch Trail, in connection with the Tsa La Gi Trail, establishes a protected 5-mile loop circling Southtown Fayetteville that travels through several public parks (with trailheads) and past plenty of opportunities to stop at local favorites for food and refreshments.
On Fayetteville’s eastside, the Niokaska Trail is set to transform the cycling opportunities for an entire side of town. Opening this summer, the over 3.5-mile trail development stretches from Old Wire Road to join the Mud Creek Trail – extending community connectivity with the NWA Razorback Greenway. Much of the new trail follows the Niokaska Creek, a tributary that’s name translates to “Children of the Middle Waters”.
The Niokaska Trail meanders through Gulley Park, one of Fayetteville’s most utilized parks popular for its many family-friendly amenities and for the Gulley Park Concert Summer Series, free outdoor concerts organized by Fayetteville Parks and Recreation.
A portion of the trail also parallels Old Wire Road, historically one of the oldest routes through Fayetteville that was once part of the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route and later followed the telegraph line running from St. Louis, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Old Wire corridor was ideal for traveling by bike and allowed for the construction of the region's first Cycle Track as part of the Niokaska Trail. A cycle track is a bike facility that safely separates bicycles from motor traffic at street level, while still maintaining a separate sidewalk for pedestrians - providing exclusive space for walkers, cyclists, and motor vehicles all in the same area.
For several decades, the City of Fayetteville has been investing in cycling for all – whether for leisure, fitness or commuting. In 2020, the city updated its bicycle master plan with an aggressive goal to grow our paved trail network to 100 miles in the next ten years and to make sure every Fayetteville resident is within a half-mile of our trails.
With over 47 miles of paved trail already constructed and the city home to “Mile Zero” of the NWA Razorback Greenway, you’ll continue to find new experiences with every new visit to Fayetteville over the next decade – keeping Fayetteville one of the top places to ride a bicycle in the country for years to come.
Click here to download a digital map featuring Fayetteville’s trail network and more comfortable roads to ride.