With its perfect mix of natural and urban landscapes, Little Rock is a dream destination for road cyclists. There’s no shortage of awesome cycling routes to choose from when you’re deciding where to ride. And at the end of a ride, Little Rock’s fantastic dining scene offers numerous places to rest and refuel. To get you started, here’s a look at some of our favorite trails!
Arkansas River Trail
A “must see” for visitors and locals alike, this 17-mile loop connects the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock via five pedestrian bridges along the Arkansas River, including the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge in downtown Little Rock. The trail is part of the larger Central Arkansas Trail System, a network of trails that extends to create an 88-mile loop through the Arkansas River Valley. The system connects 38 parks, six museums and more than 5,000 acres of federal, state and local parkland. The trail also crosses the Big Dam Bridge, the longest pedestrian- and cycling-intended bridge in North America, and the starting point for several other top-notch cycling routes. Local Tip: This trail route is the perfect jumping off point for those looking to explore Little Rock’s craft breweries (don’t forget your Locally Labeled passport).
Wye Mountain Loop
A 37-mile loop that encircles Lake Maumelle just a few miles west of Little Rock, this trail is full of scenic lakeside vistas, rolling hills and more than a few heart-pounding climbs. Spring and fall are the most popular seasons on the trail. In spring, riders flock to Wye Mountain to take in the annual blooming of tens of thousands of daffodils, while fall offers dazzling views as the Ouachita Mountains bathed in brilliant red, orange and yellow hues.
Big Dam Bridge to Roland Loop and Big Dam Bridge to Garrison Loop
These two trails begin at the Big Dam Bridge and head west before diverging near the eastern shore of Lake Maumelle. The Roland Loop takes you through the picturesque community of Roland where farms dot the hillsides overlooking the lake and the Arkansas River. While in Roland, stop by Moss Mountain Farm, home of the famous lifestyle expert and gardener extraordinaire P. Allen Smith. The Garrison Loop leads you deeper into the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, where you’ll pass by Wildwood, Kinley, Nowlin and Fletcher Creeks as they join to form the Little Maumelle River.
Paron to Williams Junction Trail
Riders who want to explore rural Arkansas should feel right at home on this out-and-back trail. With an elevation gain of more than 2,000 feet, it’s perfect for riders looking to push themselves. On the trail, riders pass pastoral farms and rushing creeks, but should keep on the lookout for white-tailed deer. The Arkansas state mammal, these graceful deer can be frequently seen grazing along the route.
The Southeast Trail
If you’re looking to depart from downtown Little Rock, you can always hang a right and explore the Southeast Trail. This 26-mile out-and-back trail explores the area around the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and the busy Port of Little Rock. From there, the trail heads due south to David D. Terry Park, home of the Terry Lock and Dam one of two locks on the Arkansas River in the Little Rock area. You’re likely to see families out fishing and enjoying the park as tugboats and barges cruise by. On your way back to town, you may choose to take a detour through the historic suburb of College Station. The town of approximately 600 was once one of Little Rock’s largest suburbs.
Riders interested in a trail closer to sea level are encouraged to visit Harper’s Loop trail. The 37-mile route takes riders from the heart of downtown North Little Rock on the banks of the Arkansas River to the Cyprus swamps and farmland of the Arkansas delta. Near the trail’s midpoint are two state parks: Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park featuring the largest Native American burial mound complex in the state, and the Plantation Agriculture Museum highlighting Arkansas’s rich farming history.