Mt. Nebo State Park has gone through several transformations since its inception in the 1880s, as a summer resort for the well-to-do. Upper class travelers from across the nation found their way to the River Valley mountain and the famous Summit Park Hotel via steamboat on the Arkansas River, then by mule drawn wagons to the cool, breezy summit of this famous flat top mesa. During the early 20th century, Mt. Nebo was home to more than five thousand summer residents.
The River Valley features several established, hand-cut mountain bike trails. The historic four-mile Bench Trail on Mt. Nebo, a separate trail maintained by the Arkansas State Parks, is a multi-use trail for horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bike riders. People from throughout the region come to Mt. Nebo to ride, hike and bike for the same reason visitors before them came: the cool breeze, unique art-worthy views and arguably the very best location in the Natural State to view the sunset.
The Monument Trails, a collaboration between the Walton Family Foundation, The Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, and the Arkansas State Parks and Tourism Department, were created in 2019, adding to the appeal of Mt. Nebo.
Gary Vernon, a program officer with the Foundation, said at the beginning of the Monument Trails project that, “each monument trail will offer enduring outdoor experiences to riders and hikers of all skill levels, showcasing the work of the world’s finest trail builders and operating at the cutting edge of sustainability, innovation, and craftsmanship.”
The Monument Trails of Mt. Nebo: made for everyone
Mountain bike riders of all skill levels have access to approximately 25 miles of uniquely crafted trails that connect the rider to a world-class riding experience. There are multiple places to take in the beauty of the River Valley, and then connect with a multitude of “after ride” dining and refreshment venues.
These custom-built trails were designed to give the rider the maximum amount of visual beauty, from the unique rock formations and lake views on Miller’s Goat and Chickalah Valley Loop, to technical riding through Nebo Falls on the black diamond Lizard Tail trail.
Those wishing to test their stamina and endurance can attempt the 1.8 mile Ox Pull trail that starts at the bottom of the mountain. This is a multi-use trail and can only be ridden one way (uphill). Riders and hikers will be challenged by a steep, yet rideable trail that uses the existing topography to guide you to a connector to Miller’s Goat and Hayes Creek.
The Chickalah Valley and Hayes Creek Downhill trails are the mountain’s only “downhill only ” mountain bike trails. These two trails give the more adventurous,advanced rider steep, feature-rich, and technical excitement!
The Chickalah Valley Loop Trail is a seven-mile moderate trail that dives deep into the River Valley, exposing the rider to large rock formations, expertly crafted rock gardens, high berms, features, machine-built single track that takes you along streams, valley views and thick lush forests. This trail was built to accentuate the beauty of the lesser visited parts of the park. The difficulty of this trail lies in the fact that it descends into the valley and therefore, ascends upon return. The trail switchbacks across the mountain guiding riders back up to the connector. This trail is best enjoyed casually, intermittently walking, resting and taking in the beauty of the River Valley.
Miller’s Goat has become one of the more popular trails on the mountain. This easy to moderate trail offers each rider a rich, visually-appealing experience. Riders will see stunning overlooks of the River Valley and unique rock formations while experiencing an expertly crafted single-track. Combining rock gardens, rollers, high berms and stretches of manageable downhill and uphill sections, it will provide an adrenaline rush in one direction and a workout the other. This trail is slightly easier traveling counterclockwise. Note that this is a multi-use trail for hikers and bikers.
The Three C’s trail, named in honor of the Civilian Conservation Corps, is wildly popular with families . This beautiful trail mixes rolling tops, berms and small features, cutting across the top of the mountain connecting Sunrise and Sunset point. Wildlife is abundant on this trail. It is two-way and easily connects to almost everything on the mountain.
Unlike the other Monument Trails in Arkansas, the Mt. Nebo trails are unique in that they encompass the entirety of the River Valley’s mountain gem, giving each rider unique purpose-built stopping points:, deep thick forests, running streams, a variety of wildlife and the satisfaction of riding the River Valley’s most accessible and popular trail system.
Cycling is for everyone, and the trails on Mt. Nebo offer riders of ALL skill levels the opportunity to get outside and ride. This trail system is a MUST RIDE on your bucket list.