A Cyclist’s Weekend in Fayetteville
To say that Fayetteville is a cyclist’s dream come true is an understatement. Fayetteville is a national bicycling jewel; it is ranked No. 10 on People for Bikes’ list of best U.S. cities for bicycling. Fayetteville’s trails and bike-accommodating attractions also have earned the city several accolades from the League of American Bicyclists, including the highest-ranking bicyclist’s city in Arkansas and No. 6 nationally for cities with most bike-friendly businesses.
Fayetteville’s biking scene is family friendly, just like everything else in the city. Most rental shops in Fayetteville offer bikes for the older kids, or you can get trailer attachments that hold one or two kids.
So, if you’re a biking fanatic, or if you’re new to the sport, why not check out what the northwest corner of the state has to offer? A quick 3-hour drive puts you in the middle of it all: food, drink, culture, arts and – most importantly – trails upon trails. Here’s what you should check out on your trip to Fayetteville.
While on the go, remember to follow the CDC’s guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. You don’t have to wear masks while biking, but keep one on you for when you enter restaurants and attractions.
Pack plenty of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and extra masks in your bag – and use all three
Avoid large groups and maintain a distance of six feet from those around you
Dine on outdoor patios, when possible, or order meals to-go
When you arrive on Friday afternoon, check in to your hotel. Because of Fayetteville’s biking culture all hotels are considered bike friendly, but there are some that stand out among the rest. Fayetteville hotels designated Bike Friendly by the League of American Bicyclists:
- Graduate Fayetteville
- Fairfield Inn & Suites - Fayetteville
- Hampton Inn
- Staybridge Suites - University
- Hilton Garden Inn
- LaQuinta Inn & Suites
Next, if you want to hit the ground running with a fun bike ride for the family, check out the #Sprayetteville “Wall Crawl,” a 6-mile ride that starts in Fayetteville’s historic downtown district. The 2020 Sprayetteville Street Arts Festival happened in early July, but the miraculous paintings from the festival still remain as public art. The murals around the city were painted by a group of 11 artists, who all brought their own cultures, experiences and styles to the murals you’ll see on your ride. You can find the route information here.
That evening, grab dinner on the patio at the Farmer’s Table Café, a local classic.
If the kids are in tow, you can turn in for the night. Or, if this is a couple’s trip, grab drinks on the Fayetteville Ale Trail at Crisis Brewing Co., which also has patio seating available. Fayetteville is known for a lot of things – one of those being a hot spot for local breweries – so you’ll want to hit one of these on your trip.
On Saturday morning, grab breakfast on the Little Bread Co.’s patio. This spot is all things Fayetteville: quaint, cozy and full of character. Not to mention their breakfast sandwiches can’t be beat.
And, here’s where the real riding comes in: now it’s time to pick a ride for the weekend. Here are just a couple ride options.
The Razorback Greenway offers tons of paved and unpaved trails for biking. They are centrally located, so not too far from major tourist hot spots, and they are well shaded in many places.
Heads up: Kessler Mountain Regional Park is the new “mile zero” for the Greenway, meaning the 40-mile paved trail officially begins in Fayetteville, just 5 miles from the Historic Downtown Square.
The Lake Fayetteville Trail is 5.5 miles of paved and natural trails around Lake Fayetteville, a beautifully kept area where you can see all the flora and fauna Fayetteville has to offer.
If you want a point A and B on your bike ride, check out the rides from Mount Kessler to Lake Fayetteville. This route has multiple trail options, including the Cato Springs Trail (3 miles), the Town Branch Trail (1 mile, Cato to Frisco), the Frisco Trail (1.3 miles), Skull Creek (3.6 miles) and the Clear Creek Trail (3.6 miles).
So you know, Fayetteville is home to a network of almost 50 miles of trails that connect to the Greenway.
For those coming to bike with the kiddos, there are plenty of family friendly trail experiences in Fayetteville.
If Mountain Biking is your thing, Fayetteville is going to be a blast.
Kessler Mountain has 10.7 total miles of 10 individual mountain trails, ranging from “easy” to “very difficult.” Check out a map here: Trails Map
Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain, where the first of 9 trails is now open, is a must-see! This park is where the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships will be held. The “Learners Permit” trail is 2 miles long and is considered great for beginners, and very family friendly, so this would be great for the kids.
Gregory Park is a neat one, too. The Pump Track & Skills Course is great for practicing harder moves and terrains, while the Morning Light and Rolling Thunder trails offer more beginner-level ground.
Road bikers can take in the beautiful countryside of the Ozarks. Here are a few suggestions for scenic rides:
Savoy Loop (30 miles) is a mellow ride that takes you through gorgeous rural areas. It’s popular local loop and follows tributaries of the Illinois River.
Road Mountain (24.7 miles) is a moderate ride featuring rolling blacktop bordered by country estates and the White River valley.
Wedington Blacktop (52.1 miles) also is a moderate ride, featuring a mix of rural country roads and lesser-traveled state highways. It takes you through Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park.
Road to Whitehouse (42.9 miles) is a challenging ride into the Boston Mountains to the southeast. Its loops back on Scenic Highway 71 and features some of the cycling community’s favorite road riding.
That afternoon, you can grab lunch at Loafin’ Joes, a sandwich spot near the Fayetteville Historic Downtown Square. Then, pick another ride, because that’s what you’re here for!
For dinner that evening, you have a couple of options. If the kids are in tow, you should head to Hammontree’s, a paradise for cheese lovers. The menu consists of soups, hot dogs and, most importantly, gourmet grilled cheeses your kids are going to love.
If it’s just you and your partner, you should check out Feed and Folly on south College Ave. next. You’ll need to make reservations to dine on their rooftop, but this place is well worth it. Next, grab drinks on the Ale Trail, this time at Fossil Cove – one of the best-known spots in Fayetteville.
For some late-night grub, or just a sweet treat for the kids before bed, check out Shulertown Food Truck Court on Dickson Street. Burton’s Creamery ice cream truck is going to make your kids think they’ve found paradise.
Take your time getting up that morning. For breakfast, check out Doomsday Coffee and Roasterie. This place is off Dickson and offers fantastic coffee and plenty of breakfast options. (We recommend the breakfast tacos!) If you haven’t gotten tired of biking yet, check out another one of the rides mentioned earlier, and get back to it!
Check out of hotel next and say goodbye to Fayetteville for now!