Step foot in Eureka Springs and you might feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Winding vertical paths and streets usher you around this historic Victorian village, registered as a national landmark.
And while it’s easy to imagine buttoned-up ladies and gentlemen taking in the colorful gables, curative springs and stone cottages, the gentility stops there. Eureka Springs has cultivated a new image, a quirky, rip-roaring international mountain biking destination that tells decorum to eat its dust.
Perhaps best known among the area trails is the Eureka Springs Downhill. Seven trails about a mile in length apiece, difficulty ranges from beginner to expert, with a shuttle to the top that operates seven days a week.
From the greens–with their berms, good speed and spots to pump the bike and test gravity a bit–to double blacks with giant senders and rocky, technical lines, its best to know your skill level before ripping down the hollow.
Beyond the pure downhill, Lake Leatherwood City Park offers 25 miles of multi-use trail with varied, low impact enjoyment. The lake itself is home to one of the nation’s largest hand-cut limestone dams, and camping and RV sites are plentiful for those who want to get a little rustic.
On the 667-acre grounds of The Great Passion Play, a new free, multi-use trail loop has been designed with accessibility in mind, welcoming all skill levels and ages. Trails by the name of Roman Road and Holly Roller beckon riders to meet their maker on a slew of new tracks designed by world-class trailbuilders. Deliverance is considered one of the most difficult trails in Northwest Arkansas with fast flow, rock gardens and a large road gap.
Riders from across the country will appreciate and recognize the mountain town vibe of Eureka Springs, reminiscent of towns from Appalachia to the Rockies. And while the town continues to draw visitors 150 years after its healing waters gained popularity with the Victorian set—today’s mountain bikers will tell you that fresh air and adrenaline is just as good for the mind, body and soul.