Ten minutes from the Missouri border, Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista, Arkansas, has long been a destination for mountain bikers, boasting flowy trails, daring cliff rides and impressive rock drops. Out of the saddle, waterfalls, 60 degree “air-conditioned” caves and natural springs beckon after a sweaty summer loop.
But variety, they say, is the spice of life. Enter AREA 51. Dreamed up and executed by Progressive TrailDesign, this new trail (known to some locals as Wonderland) gives a flowy, roller coaster-like feel as you turn through a bevy of machine-cut soil berms.“We gauge other trail experiences in the region to Kessler,” says Brannon Pack, executive director of Ozark Off Road Cyclists, who along with a dedicated team of volunteers have been hand-cutting trail on the mountain for over a decade.
As you descend into a ravine, many of the berms are built right into the mountainside, letting you ride what nature wants you to ride. “It makes me feel like a kid again,” says trail builder Josh Hardy.“The trail itself isn’t massive, so there isn’t too much consequence. It’s a great place to session and hone your turning skills.”
AREA 51 also boasts a new lily pad feature, which invites riders to “shoot the gap” onto a tabletop before bouncing off again. Rated intermediate, some of the jumps and berms are on the steep side, and beginner riders could find themselves in over their heads.
The northern anchor of the Razorback Regional Greenway, BlowingSprings is an easy ride back down to the Bentonville arts and culture scene and an even easier ride to the spectacular single-track of the Back 40 loop.
In the mood for momentum? You’ll also find a new pump track at the Blowing Springs trailhead. Or pack a picnic and bring the family under the large covered pavilion near a spring.
A beautiful ride on the edge of town, Blowing Springs has long been the perfect after-work adventure, with great bluff exposure and impressive natural features. With the addition ofAREA 51, don’t be surprised if you get mistaken for an unidentified flying object as you shoot through this thrilling new track.