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September 22, 2022 Comments Off on Whoop and holler on Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area’s downhill rides Cycling, Latest

Whoop and holler on Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area’s downhill rides

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

It’s all downhill from here, mostly, along two mountain bike paths at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area.

The park’s Monument Trails have two fast and exciting downhill-only routes, which can get the most daring bikers whooping and hollering with joy. Each downhill trail is one-way, about a mile long and for bikes only.

That’s a good thing. A hiker could have a painful encounter with a biker careening down the hill at a break-neck speed.

Sawtooth downhill trail starts close to the visitor center and offers 1.2-miles of flow. Timberjack downhill takes some extra pedaling to reach, but offers close to a mile of thrilling downhill fun. Both are reached via the Tunnel Connector trail that starts at the biker parking area near the Hobbs visitor center.

What goes down must go up, up up. Sawtooth and Timberjack trails both end at a one-way return trail that meanders back to the Tunnel Connector Trail.

The uphill return trail may conjure visions of a nonstop lung-buster climb to the top. That’s hardly the case. The path climbs gradually along grades that are manageable. Much of the uphill is during the first 100 yards. There’s some level and even some short downhill pieces along the return trail. Turn left where the return trail meets Tunnel Connector to go back to the parking area.

Sawtooth downhill starts a short ride away from the biker parking area and is well marked with a wood sign. The whole ride, from the parking area, down Sawtooth then back to the parking area, is about 3.5 miles.

We’d visited Sawtooth before, but Timberjack downhill was the last piece of the park’s Monument Trails that we’d never ridden. On a hot August Friday afternoon, we pedaled toward Timberjack.

From the parking area, ride 2.1 miles east along the Tunnel Connector trail to the big tunnel under Arkansas 12 that gives the trail its name. Timberjack starts close to the tunnel and is well marked.

A word of caution: Tunnel Connector trail allows two-way traffic so watch for incoming bicycles.

Timberjack teases a bit with a slight uphill start before the trail starts gradually downhill. The farther along, the steeper the downhill gets. Fast riders can even catch some air flying off some of the humps and bumps on the last half of this exhilarating route.

The ride from the parking area, down Timberjack and back to the parking area, is about 5 miles.

Timberjack downhill visits Sycamore Springs Hollow with wet-weather springs and a little stream. Most of the Monument Trails are nice rides through the woods, including Timberjack and Sawtooth downhill trails. The 8-mile Karst Loop Trail is popular for its sections beside Beaver Lake. It’s mandatory for bikers to ride Karst in a counter-clockwise directions to avoid collisions.

These Monument Trails have been expertly designed for nice flow on a mountain bike. In most cases, a rider’s downhill momentum carries one to the top of the next short climb. There are few major, steep climbs.

But then, steep is in the legs and lungs of the handlebar holder.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at when he’s not biking.