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April 5, 2023 Comments Off on Fitzgerald Trail has paths for all skill levels close to downtown Springdale Cycling, Featured, Hiking, Latest, Nature

Fitzgerald Trail has paths for all skill levels close to downtown Springdale

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

There’s plenty of flat, off-road biking, plus trails that reach high vistas, at Fitzgerald Mountain just minutes from downtown Springdale.

Expert riders who fly through the sky find thrilling jumps and steep downhill terrain. Those who keep two wheels on the ground enjoy tamer paths.

The trails at Fitzgerald Mountain are situated on the north edge of Springdale near Bayyari Park at the intersection of Sweetwater Branch and Deer Valley streets, east of Arkansas 265. The best trailhead and parking is at the park.

Casual riders roll along on the 1.2-mile Stagecoach Loop, which is the easiest trail at Fitzgerald Mountain. The dirt path goes through some nice woods with no lung-buster ascents. Tunnels guide riders under some serious jumps built of rock, which is plentiful at Fitzgerald Mountain. Technical trails traverse rugged rocky paths. Other routes wind past cliffs and boulder gardens.

Along Stagecoach Loop, there’s nice downhill trail, Gulley Washer, that’s suitable for beginners or experienced gear heads. Gulley Washer ends close to Bayyari Park so it’s a good finale before calling it a day.

A bit north of the park along this easy loop, riders can cross Dodd Road to access the intermediate level 2.5-mile Butterfield Trail. The first 15 yards are rough and rocky, like the bed of a white-water river minus the water. The trail gets smoother, passes a private campsite available for rent and twists along cliffs and rock gardens galore.

A detailed map of the trail network and other information is found at Bayyari Park. All trails at Fitzgerald Mountain are open for hiking as well.

Tomek Siwiec, an advanced level rider from Rogers, knows Fitzgerald Mountain well.

“It’s on par with other trails in the region like Kessler Mountain in Fayetteville and Slaughter Pen in Bentonville,” he said. “It’s got some of the most technical riding around, but there’s beginner trails too. There’s something there for everyone.”

Fitzgerald Mountain is “kind of off the beaten path,” Siwiec said. Trails are tucked away on the western slope of the hillside. They don’t get the traffic that some of the region’s other mountain biking destinations receive, he added.

Another plus is that it’s five minutes from downtown Springdale. When the biking is done, riders can get a bite to eat or a cold beer.

One trail in particular caught Siwiec’s attention during a visit to Fitzgerald Mountain.

“There’s a trail called Best Trail Ever. I kind of spoofed at that. But after riding it I totally agree with the name,” he said. “It’s got a section of great downhill with jumps you can take or there are routes around them so you can skip those. All the trails are well designed and maintained,” he said.

Steven Hall, who hails from Texas, agreed.

“I live in Dallas, but make it up to Bentonville three or four times a year,” he wrote in an email. “I always get a ride in at Fitzgerald Mountain when I’m there. Best Trail Ever is probably my most favorite three miles of trail I’ve ever ridden.”