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July 22, 2021 Comments Off on Railyard Loop circles Rogers Cycling, Featured, Latest

Railyard Loop circles Rogers

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

It doesn’t take miles of pedaling on the area’s bike and pedestrian trails to see the entire canvas of scenery on the Northwest Arkansas landscape.

Trails meander through quiet forests, neighborhoods, downtowns and busy industrial sites.

That’s definitely the case with Railyard Loop, a 15-mile route that circles Rogers. The trail visits the city’s historic downtown, wetlands, streams and suburban neighborhoods. Circling the loop can be a “happy birthday Rogers” ride. Rogers was founded 140 years ago, in 1881, along the Frisco railroad.

Downtown, trail trekkers can visit the Rogers Historical Museum and Daisy Airgun Museum within two blocks of each other. Dining options abound downtown and on the west side of the loop near New Hope Road and Interstate 49.

For bikers who like their ride on the level side, the Railyard Loop is the ticket. Most climbs are gradual, with only one moderate ascent that might rate a 5 on the wheezer scale.

Let’s hop on the pedals and tour the sights along the Railyard Loop.

A nice little side-trip along the Railyard Loop in Rogers is a boardwalk that winds through a wetland near Cambridge Park.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

We’ll start our ride at the Frisco caboose on the south edge of downtown. It’s easy to find at the corner of South First and Cherry streets. There’s plenty of parking here and a good place to start the loop.

We’ll pedal south from the caboose to the end of the parking area and past the cool mural of the woman with the Mona Lisa sunglasses. The route narrows here and curves past a metal building. At the railroad crossing on Oak Street, cross the tracks and pick up the bike and pedestrian trail that heads south along South First Street to New Hope Road. Cross New Hope and continue on the trail beside the Dick Trammel Highway, which is Arkansas 265.

If the wind is right, bikers may savor the delicious aroma of bread baking as they pass Harris Baking Company, just south of New Hope Road. It’s one of Rogers longest-running businesses, founded more than 90 years ago.

Riders leave the traffic noise behind when they cross Nursery Road and head west, then south, through quiet woods and a wetland area at Rogers New Technology High School. Two more schools are on the left before the trail turns west again at Price Lane.

A pedestrian and bicycle traffic signal helps riders cross busy South Eighth Street. The trail continues straight as an arrow and slightly downhill. Riders roll on the trail next to Price Lane for several blocks to the Blossom Way Trailhead. It’s on Dixieland Road next to Rogers High School. This is another ideal spot to start a Railyard Loop ride.

Now the trail curves gently through meadows and a disc golf course before passing by the Blossom Way Golf Course. Riders pass the clubhouse and join the main Razorback Greenway for the next two or three miles on the west side of town.

Railyard Loop offers a 15-mile bicycle ride around Rogers. The route, seen here in May 2021, takes in woods, neighborhoods, industrial areas and part of the Razorback Greenway.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Where New Hope Road goes under I-49, the Railyard Loop veers right, away from the Razorback Greenway. It heads east and north through quiet pastures and wood lots. There’s a rest bench and water fountain on this section. It’s a nice stop before the trail starts uphill and climbs about one-quarter mile for that 5 wheezer scale rating. We’re more than halfway now. It’s mostly flat or downhill back to downtown Rogers.

But there’s more to see. A great little side trip is a quick circle around a boardwalk that explores a wetland near Cambridge Park after riders cross busy Walnut Street while headed north.

More trailside wetlands unfold as the route continues east past the Rogers Regional Sports Park. Only about three miles to go, through a mostly industrial area, past the Rogers Activity Center and into downtown. The caboose and the end of the line comes into view as riders roll south through downtown.

Riders on hybrid bikes or mountain bikes might pay a visit to Railyard Bike Park a couple blocks south of the caboose. There’s all kinds of bike fun here for kids and adults along dirt runs that range from easy rides to crazy ones that send bikers flying high through the air.

It’s a fine finale after the Railyard Loop.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at fputthoff@nwadg.com