Nestled into a little corner of OZ is a brilliant little gem. On the East side of the Rogers Mercy Hospital campus, you’ll find a little trail system that is perfect for a family ride session. This pocket park has Northwest Arkansas’ first White Circle trail, “Sister’s Loop”. White Circle trails are wide with a hardened surface, in this case, crushed gravel, and have a 0-10% grade and no technical features like rocks or roots. “Sister’s Loop” is .17 miles long and is designed to make it easy for small children to pedal or even scoot around on a balance bike! There is a nice grassy area in the middle that is perfect for a picnic or a game where families can relax while little ones ride around in plain sight. This multidirectional trail has another .47 mile loop that intersects called “Lantern Loop”, making it easy to progress to longer rides. “Lantern Loop” is a .47 mile green trail with higher rollers making it a little bit more challenging. These two trails are fun for kids of all ages and allow riders to progress in a safe way of building up speed, endurance, and skill.
Just west of “Sister’s and Lantern” is the trailhead for “Catherine’s Crossing”. This green trail offers riders some climbing and technical practice. Tree-covered and mildly rooty with fist-sized rocks, this trail is a great transition to singletrack for new riders. “Catherine’s Crossing” is 1.25 miles and is equally fun in either direction.
The Mercy Heritage Trail system is located right on the Razorback Greenway. The facility has a paved parking lot, full flush toilet, restroom facilities with a water fountain, and a sail-shaded hammock hotel! As always in OZ we recommend that you pre-ride all trails to evaluate suitability for your rider before heading out to play bikes.
For more information and resources on riding with children, check out BikeNWA’s Let’s Play Bikes Guide. A great free resource available to the public.
Written by Anya Bruhin, Education Program Manager for BikeNWA.