If you’ve been curious about the new mountain biking trails at Fitzgerald Mountain in Springdale, we’re here to help.
Opened: June 29, 2018
Funded: Walton Family Foundation
Constructed: Rock Solid Trail Contracting c/o NWA Trailblazers
Owned/maintained: City of Springdale and Springdale Water Utilities
Lots of folks have heard about Fitzgerald, but not everyone has had a chance to go and check it out. So we grabbed a bike, some cameras and a Strava app for mapping every last section of trail on the mountain – even a few lines that aren’t yet open for riding.
The $1.16 million system was funded by the Walton Family Foundation, and is built on 130 acres of land near Bayyari Park, which are owned and maintained by the City of Springdale and Springdale Water Utilities. It features 10 miles of soft-surface trails and includes something for everyone – from beginner-level biking and hiking trails, to intermediate cross country loops to some massive, double black diamond jump lines.
The beginner-level features are accessed from Bayyari Park, and include a small, gravel pump track next to the park pavilion. A 2-mile beginner loop (name TBA) is also located by the park, and serves as a great warmup run if you’re headed north across Dodd Avenue to the rest of the system. The loop also provides access to the jump lines.
The jump lines are absolutely stunning, but be warned, they are very much expert-level trails with huge gaps and giant kickers. They are still under construction, but should be complete by the end of November. We took some photos, but you really need to seem them in person to get the full effect.
Butterfield Trail is an intermediate cross-country trail that provides access to four other trails on the mountain. It can be ridden as a 2.4-mile loop, or you can take it to the hub at the top of the mountain. It includes several dirt berms and a few optional gap jumps. You can ride in either direction, but it’s faster and feels more flowy when ridden counter-clockwise.
Coyote Cave is a 0.6-mile black diamond trail that’s accessed from either Butterfield near the bottom of the mountain or the hub at the top. The trail passes by several bluffs and a cave. Nearly half of the trail surface is placed rock. “Yellow Brick Road” as it’s sometimes called, makes up a portion of the trail and includes some amazing rock armoring, especially at the bluff peak near the top.
Fitzgerald is a 0.6-mile intermediate-level loop located on the top of the mountain and is accessed from the hub. You can get to it by taking Butterfield or Coyote Cave from the bottom of the mountain. The flat terrain is simple to navigate, and includes a nice bluff-top lookout point. It also serves as an access trail for two black diamond trails – 1857 and Best Trail Ever.
1857 is a 0.1-mile trail spur off of the Fitzgerald loop on top of the mountain. It’s a super technical rock garden that rolls down below the bluff and then climbs back up. We recommend riding it south, though either direction will work. Keep in mind this is an expert-level trail with steep rock sections that are very difficult to navigate. It’s certainly worth at least a hike on foot for the scenery alone.
Best Trail Ever
It’s a bold name, but the 2.75-mile Best Trail Ever probably comes as close as any trail to living up to its name. When ridden counter-clockwise, it begins fast and flowy with several optional gap jumps and an incredible rock wall ride. Next up is Turtle Bucket Climb, a 0.6-mile segment that features a series of technical uphill rock gardens, stonework switchbacks and some of the most extensive rock armoring you’ll find anywhere. The climb rewards you with some great scenery at the top, but be careful on the steep rock chute that begins the next downhill segment. The remainder of the trail includes more kickers and berms with a bit of flow, some sneaky, chunky rock gardens and one final climb with a few armored berms before ending right back where it started.