The story of how Bentonville became the mountain bike capital of the world is actually quite an interesting one. After all, who would expect a relatively flat corner of the southern USA to gain such a title? At first, the self-proclamation was met with skepticism from industry leaders. Truth is, they are certainly doing some impressive and innovative work with trails that have positioned Bentonville as a top MTB destination.
The Walton family foundation funds many mobility projects and is mainly responsible for the impressive trail development work seen in Bentonville. The first trail system was developed about 15 years ago with the active involvement of Walton family members who wanted to give back to the community.
The trails at Bentonville, Arkansas
Today, the trail system of Bentonville spans more than 130 miles that connect directly to downtown Bentonville and the Ozark mountain off-road trail systems. The town is continuously making new developments as they introduce the concept of urban biking with innovation seen nowhere else. From beginner to expert levels, swooping trails that take you through jumping sections, technical climbs and descends, and even fully paved trails and berms with unique trail starting hubs.
Things to do at the MTB capital of the world
The expansion of trail systems in Bentonville, deeply impacted the economy and culture of the town which has become a tourist hotspot with a prevailing bike theme all around the city. The Mountain capital of the world is not short on mountain bike shops and rentals. Riders can rest assured their needs will be met at Bentonville on and off the trails. There are plenty of hotel accommodations, restaurants, and places to camp.
With the trail systems connecting to downtown, it began the expansion in this area with plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Most places around Bentonville including art galleries, museums, and restaurants welcome riders to visit them as they are without a special dress code. Riders that are taking a break or that have finished their runs will have no problem experiencing all that Bentonville has to offer.
Cycling events at Bentonville
Bentonville is not short on mountain bike events either. The city hosts a number of cycling events during the year through the organization “Bike Bentonville”. The diversity of events includes all types of disciplines and is inclusive of all rider levels. The events will take you on cross-country rides, gravel roads, the off-road trails of the Ozark mountains, and more.
Also, Bentonville Bike Fest takes place in June and OuterBike comes to town in October. These are unique events in which riders have the opportunity to test bikes, gain full access to the trails, participate in races, and do other leisure activities.
The best time to visit the town is between April and May or September and October when temperatures are ideal and rainfall and humidity are at their lowest; However, the trails can be ridden all year long with plenty of events hosted throughout the year.
So, is it worth visiting Bentonville?
The trail system expansion in Bentonville is certainly impressive and worth the visit for anyone who loves the sport. The fact that you can access the trails from downtown is really unique, not to mention the experience on the trails which have unique features. The experience off the trails is also very rewarding with lots of amenities once you’re done riding.
The city is doing an excellent job at standing up to its claim as “the mountain bike capital of the World” or as it’s been referred to in other articles, a “Mecca” or a “Disneyland” for MTB riders.