Trails lead to trout

NWA outdoor briefs: Vandals damage cave; part of greenway...

October 1, 2020 Comments Off on Preserve caters to mountain-bike campers Featured, Latest

Preserve caters to mountain-bike campers

Fans of two-wheeled travel may soon bike, hike, camp, enjoy a fine meal and a hot shower without ever leaving the park.

That’s the idea behind Coler Mountain Bike Preserve situated in the scenic countryside on the west edge of Bentonville. Bikers, walkers and runners have enjoyed the preserve by day since it opened in 2018. Campsites, shower and restroom building and a cafe are on the cusp of completion and will open soon.

The preserve has 18 miles of mountain bike trails for beginner to expert riders. Jerry Hill (left) and Craig Wohlschlager, both of Bentonville, fly over a jump at the mountain bike preserve.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Right now visitors can pedal along 18 miles of mountain bike trails at the preserve. They can walk or ride along a 1.5-mile concrete path through the heart of its 300 acres.

Biking, hiking, walking and nature activities are encouraged at the preserve. Motor vehicles aren’t allowed, said Debra Layton, executive director of The Peel Compton Foundation, which manages Coler Mountain Bike Preserve.

During a tour of the tract in August, Layton pointed out 16 tent platforms that are ready to use, along with five campsites for van-style camping.

Camping at the preserve was set to open this month, but that’s been postponed. An exact opening date hasn’t been determined.

When sites open, mountain-biking visitors will gather around a community campfire pit close to their campsites. A campfire will be lit around 4 p.m. each afternoon and stoked throughout the evening, Layton said.

A large weathered barn dates back to when the Coler family lived on the property. It’s next to the hard-surface trail and can be reserved for events such as weddings, concerts and reunions.

She’s particularly proud of the shower and bathroom building, one of the plushest to be found at any campground, Layton beamed. There’s even a bike wash at the building.

Clear and free-flowing Coler Creek runs through the heart of the preserve.

After a day on the bike, visitors can relax and dine at Airship Cafeé at the Coler reserve. Airship Coffee will operate the cafeé that features rooftop and front-porch eating areas. There are swings on the porch at the cafeé for kids and adults.

A goal of the preserve is to give mountain-biking visitors everything they need in one place, Layton said. “So you’ve got bathrooms, showers and food. What else do you need?” she laughed.

Camping is on hold, but trail use is off and running big time.

Andrew Lester, operations manager at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, shows a community fire ring located in the camping area. Tent platforms, as seen behind Lester, are available. A campfire will be built in the fire ring each evening.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

“You see how many pedestrians we’ve seen today,” Layton noted. The hard-surface trail “is a safe, secure 1.5-mile route that a lot of people walk every day.”

Mountain bike trails for all skill levels get plenty of use from local and out-of-state riders.

Main access points are off Peach Orchard Road on the north and Northwest Third Street on the south.

Once camping opens, sites can be reserved at the Peel-Compton Foundation website,, or emailing info” or calling 479-254-3870.