November, 2020  

Gravel Cyclists Find Adventure from Fayetteville

As host community for annual gravel events including the Arkansaw High Country Race and Chinkapin Hollow Gravel Grinder, the gravel cycling around Fayetteville has earned national attention.

Already an offseason training destination for professional road cyclists, you’ll find a variety of gravel route options just as accessible from Fayetteville. From mountainous ridgelines to creek lined roads, the opportunities for riding are endless as the surrounding Madison and Washington counties maintain hundreds of miles of gravel roads.

Situated at the base of the Boston Mountains and the Ozark National Forest, Fayetteville is a gateway to gravel adventures big and small. With the region home to the Ozark's highest peaks, multiday gravel riding and bikepacking trips can start and end from the variety of Bicycle Friendly Hotels and Inns found in town.

Beginning from popular outdoor destinations just outside of town, the following is a selection of routes favoring gravel cyclists looking for their next adventure. 

Battlefield Gravel - Mellow

Only 11 miles southwest of downtown Fayetteville, this beginner-friendly gravel loop starts and ends from the Historic Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. Known as one of America’s most intact Civil War battlefields, the gravel roads surrounding Prairie Grove are steeped in history and rich with rolling views.

What to know: Looping through rural Washington County, the route does not include mid-ride aid stops. Cyclists should plan to be self-supportive for the duration of their ride. Cyclists will find a selection of end of ride options back in downtown Prairie Grove as well as the Airlight Outdoor Telephone Booth – a still functioning phone booth and the first to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sugartree 50K - Moderate

Just 18 miles from Fayetteville’s Historic Downtown Square, this mostly gravel loop begins from the Lincoln Lake trailhead. After a sharp paved climb, the route gives way to extensive and fast-rolling sections of gravel roads winding through the historic Cincinnati area. Once the center of a prosperous grain and livestock region, the riding peaks along the ridgeline of Sugartree Mountain - where scenic views look back over the valley below.

What to know: Featuring farmlands on the western edge of Washington County, the route does not include mid-ride aid stops. Cyclists should plan to be self-supportive for much of their ride. A popular outdoor destination, Lincoln Lake is also known for its quality bouldering, hiking, and advanced mountain bike trails.

Sinking Creek - Challenging

Starting 7 miles east of downtown Fayetteville, this tougher gravel ride dips into the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks. Utilizing public parking outside the Lake Sequoyah Park Marina, the route offers abundant views of farm and pasturelands fed by countless streams, creeks, and tributaries of the White River. With almost 3000 feet of climbing, this mixed surface loop of backcountry gravel and scenic pavement presents a challenging but rewarding experience.

What to know: This region of the Ozarks is noticeably steeper in elevation than the Springfield Plateau to the north. Riders should expect punchy climbs that give way to wild descents. Plan to be self-supportive as the route does not include mid-ride aid stops. There is a convenience store at mile 27. A water supply reservoir until the 1960s, today Lake Sequoyah Park is noted for its plentiful bird population including the Great Blue Heron and American Bald Eagle.

Experience Fayetteville has partnered with Ride with GPS for all our route development needs. Featuring unique Points of Interest (POI) and turn by turn navigation, mobile users will want to download the free Ride with GPS app here. For cyclists with personal bike computers, a variety of route files can be downloaded through the desktop version.

Looking for more adventure? Click here for a selection of additional gravel routes to consider. Also, make sure to tag @fayettevillear and use #bikefayetteville so we can share in your gravel riding adventures around Fayetteville, Arkansas. Enjoy the ride!

Cycling Coordinator

Cycling Coordinator