Explore Arkansas with Escape Adventures on our Ozark Mountain, White River Mountain bike tour and Multi-Sport Adventure.
Nestled deep within north central Arkansas’ wild heart—a two-hour drive from Little Rock—is an ascendant star in the mountain bike cosmos. Recently the 1.2-million acre Ozark National Forest introduced what’s known as the Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail System.
Notwithstanding a composition that’s 95% singletrack, the 50-mile long Syllamo Trail offers not just one of the best mountain bike circuits in the entire Southeast, but the consummate Arkansas wilderness experience.
Surrounded by temperate rain forest, the Ozarks symbolize the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and the Rockies. have long been cherished by all manner of users: from thru-hikers to traditional outdoorsmen and women. Impressive spring-blooms, wide-spanning limestone caves, and abundant wildlife have historically drawn many to the region.
West of Mount Olive and the White River, we put knobby tires to rolling razorback hills, beneath lengthy-dense canopies of oak, hickory and pine. Gaining 958-ft of elevation, we peak out at 2100-ft, afforded impressive panoramas from atop the backbone of the Southeast. But that’s only half the payoff. The Syllamo gives and gives, offering refreshing breaks in swimming holes ever present along the 300-mile long White River. Big springs, chalky white bluffs and rolling water give way to sweet offshoots: 11.8 mile Scrappy Mountain, so named for its 18% maximum grade of ten-degrees, steep pitches and tiers of granite chock a blocks.
Riding the lush and misty mountains of central Arkansas is only the first act in a narrative defined by grand adventure. Once the bikes are stowed, we haul out the canoes. Taking to the White River, we paddle beneath limestone highlands and interpret the splendor of dense green canopies on America’s very first national scenic river.
Then we go underground, exploring the world-renowned Blanchard Springs Caverns. An elaborate three-tiered cave system, Blanchard is named for the source that feeds its lengthy drips and wide seeps. A Forest Service guided tour takes us through this fantastic, mineral-rich netherworld.
After embracing our inner spelunker, honing both canoe and cycling skills, we enjoy the delightfully down-home hospitality of Mountain View, the folk music capital of the world.
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