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Video: Exploring Local Trails in Arkansas

Aug 9, 2020
by Matt Slager  
Views: 5,969    Faves: 43    Comments: 10



I always thought I would be living in the Chicago area my whole life. Of course, I've dreamed of living in some of the top mountain bike destinations, but it was always just that, a dream. Then just over 3 years ago my fiancee and I moved to the self-proclaimed "mountain bike capital of the world" Bentonville, Arkansas. Well, actually 1 hour 20 minutes southeast of Bentonville. Coming from the Chicago area was going to be a big life change, so we decided to make it an even bigger change and move out into the county with some acreage instead of the urban area we lived our whole lives in. It was an opportunity to create the lives doing things we always dreamed about. Working towards being more self-sufficient. Creating our own businesses, growing some of our own food, building our own mountain bike trails and starting to restore the land with regenerative agriculture to name a few. Now about "the mountain bike capital of the world"... Having ridden some of the more obvious destinations that a lot of riders, including myself consider the capitals, I can't say whether Bentonville ever will be or not. I will say that with the rate the trail systems, riding community, accessibility to all things biking are growing in Northwest Arkansas along with being able to experience it all year round, that it is truly unique in this world to only "the natural state".


Tried out the flash on this one - self shot
Bringing some of the vibes from other top contenders of "mountain bike capital of the world" to my property in Arkansas with a hand-split cedar ladder bridge.

Dropping into the endless rock work - self shot
Boost and tuck - self shot
Choose between rocky tech on an enduro bike or jumps and flow on the dirt jumper. Or don't and ride both.

Lots of rain followed by freezing temps made for some sketch riding - self shot
Year-round riding.

Ponca Pop. 9
Exploring the less crowded trails outside of Bentonville.

Steep chute to 90 degree corner and out through the natural rock arch - self shot
The karst topography of Arkansas makes some unique rock formations.

Trail building.

self shot rock slab hip
When there is this much rock you put it to use. Rock slab hip Coler Bike Park.

Checking out the flow in the new BOC Ponca trails - self shot

Fall is a favorite time to ride around here.

Testing out the tree tunnel line in northwest Arkansas - self shot
Tree tunnel line through the cedars.

Trying to ride this natural rock hip step up before losing the morning sun - self shot
Lots of the trails around here are lined with caves, rock bluffs and springs.

Familiar encounters around the trails.



46 Comments

  • 16 0
 That was awesome man, really nice work! Accompanying photos are also top notch
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 4 0
 This video and these photos do an awesome job of capturing Arkansas. Last fall I traveled to Arkansas for a week long mountain bike trip and this video makes me want to go back! I could feel the air, the trails, the dirt, all just by watching. "The natural state" really fits the vibe, feel, and outdoor accessibility of Arkansas. The western US states and BC get all the attention for mountain biking, and rightly so, but Arkansas really does have something special going on/growing right now.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! I completely agree!
  • 4 0
 This is how it all starts; 10 years it will be a different place. Sorry!
  • 2 0
 Yeah I guess that's how it goes.
  • 1 0
 Beautiful pictures and awesome vid! Was just out at Steel Creek yesterday swimming. We were going to bring the bikes for a couple of runs at BOC but I banged up my knee at Leatherwood on Saturday.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Yeah so much to do out here. Hope the knee heals fast!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a great move! Never been to Arkansas but may have the chance to pass through next year. Are these trails on your own land or part of the local public systems? They look like a ton of fun, and well built!
  • 1 0
 Some of the photos are public trails. If you look on trailforks there are so many trails it would take a month to ride it all.
  • 1 0
 Most of those are public trails. The entire video is from the Buffalo Outdoor Center trails in Ponca, AR. It has, probably, the gnarliest downhills in the state and is pretty remote. The last clip on the rock roll is indicative of some of the bigger features on that. Progressive Trail Designs built all those trails. The rest of the photos are a smorgasbord. The one emerging from the cave is a line in Eureka Springs at Passion Play built by Jagged Axe. There's also some work from Rock Solid in the pictures, I believe.
  • 1 0
 Definitely stop if you get the chance! It's about half my trails and half public in the pictures and the video was shot at the buffalo outdoor center in ponca, ar.
  • 1 0
 @mslager: awesome, thanks for the reply. Hopefully I can check the area out!
  • 2 0
 Gorgeous photos! Looks like a wonderful life you've made for yourself, and the trails look rad
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Yeah it's starting to come together.
  • 2 0
 Excellent captures and editing on both ends, vids and stills. keep em' coming!
  • 1 0
 Thanks! I plan on it!
  • 2 0
 Great video and photos! Looks like awesome riding. Hope to make the trek from MN soon.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! Yeah there is definitely some cool lines around.
  • 2 0
 Hmmm,that last bit was Awesome.
  • 1 0
 Yeah the big slabs there are so much fun!
  • 3 0
 Ponca, AR!
  • 1 0
 Yep, so much good stuff there!
  • 2 0
 Awesome vid! BUT, where's the rest? I fee like I got shorted Smile
  • 1 0
 In the next video Smile
  • 2 0
 Why doesn't the Brittany Spaniel get to go on the ride?
  • 1 0
 German shorthaired pointer. She is getting older and gets plenty of time walking around the property.
  • 1 0
 Really nice work as always Matt! I've admired your photos for a long time now.
  • 1 0
 Thank you! I appreciate that.
  • 2 0
 Great vid and pics!
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Amazing.
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 1 0
 What time of year is the fall before the leaves fall off?
  • 1 0
 Peak colors are usually around October 31st.
  • 1 0
 The trail builder deserves some big ups for those trails. Awesome work.
  • 1 0
 For sure. The rock work is amazing out here.
  • 1 0
 Sh!t got real at the end!!
  • 1 0
 Yeah those big slabs really make the trails.
  • 1 0
 Love the geology.
  • 1 0
 Yeah it's super interesting.
  • 2 3
 idk why the fuk 45 seconds of a 2:15 video is some guy faffing about his house. this trend needs to die.
  • 3 0
 Usually I agree, but this one was specifically about how he changed his lifestyle with the move, so it was more relevant and I didn't mind.
  • 1 0
 @stalkinghorse: Exactly. I thought it seemed easy enough to understand.
  • 1 0
 Dang. love that.
  • 1 0
 Thanks!

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