Arkansas is fast becoming a hot spot for mountain biking. And now the secret is out as Bentonville in Northwest Arkansas prepares to host the 7th annual International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit on Nov. 10-12.
From Whistler, British Columbia in 2004 to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 2014, IMBA’s world summits always draw a worldwide audience. Each host community adds its distinct flavor, as leading representatives from mountain bike advocacy groups, land management agencies, and the bicycle industry gather to share success stories and plan the future of mountain biking.
Featuring Northwest Arkansas and its iconic trail systems within the Ozark Mountains, participants will experience the rugged beauty of this area exploding with mountain bike enthusiasts and see the unique trail connectivity that showcases both the bustling downtown city and the scenic Ozark landscape.
The World Summit program includes keynote speakers, educational sessions, an expo, networking and, of course, plenty of time to explore local trails.
Arkansas is home to five trails deemed Epic by IMBA. Three Arkansas cities hold IMBA Ride Center status – Bentonville (silver level), Fayetteville (bronze level), and Hot Springs (bronze level). This designation is awarded to areas that offer a range of trails for various riding styles and first-class amenities that cater to cyclists. As if that weren’t enough, Northwest Arkansas has been designated as the first-ever regional ride center.
“People may be surprised, but Arkansas mountain bike trails rival any in the country. Not only does mountain biking offer freedom and solitude, but is one of the best ways to explore the natural beauty Arkansas has to offer,” says Tim Scott, assistant superintendent at Devil’s Den State Park and organizer of the park’s Ozark Mountain Bike Festival. Now in its 28th year, it was the first festival of its kind in the state.
Factors that make The Natural State one of the nation’s premier biking destinations are that it has terrain and events for all skill levels. Trails run through wilderness areas as well as urban areas. Plus, Arkansas’s mild climate allows for riding year-round. Our 52 state parks, three national forests, and numerous city parks are home to thousands of miles of mountain biking trails that provide that rush during the ride and connection to nature. Find out more at Arkansas.com/bicycling, where you can also watch all the videos of Northwest Arkansas Oz trails. At Oztrailsnwa.com you can see the trail locations, videos, and plan your trip.