TRAIL REVIEW: Lake Fayetteville, a trail for everyone

The Spillway Bridge at Lake Fayetteville Trail

Staff photo

Note: This is the first in a seven-part series of Northwest Arkansas trail reviews. Read more here. ×

Trail: Lake Fayetteville Trail
Duration: Paved multi-use trail, 4.3 miles; Soft-surface natural trail, 5.5 miles
Activities: Hiking, Trail Running, Road Biking, Mountain Biking
Map: Download PDF

With the combination of paved and natural surface trail loops, Lake Fayetteville Trial is a great place to spend an afternoon for the trail runner and family alike.

Lake Fayetteville itself is comprised of 458 acres of land and 194 acres of water, offering a nice solace in the middle of North Fayetteville. Access points to the trail can be found at Veterans Memorial Park, located off of Zion Road, at the end of E. Lake Fayetteville Road and at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, located off of Crossover Road.

Butterfield Wayside Plaza rest area at Lake Fayetteville Trail.

Staff photo

For an easy bike ride or hike, it’s hard to beat the paved loop, which takes you right next to the lake, over the beautiful Spillway Bridge (one of my favorite parts) and eventually through the Botanical Gardens. A great route to take is to start at Veterans Memorial Park and embark on the paved trail to the left, which will take you over the Spillway Bridge and the dam bordering the lake. The paved trail picks up at the end of E. Lake Fayetteville Road, weaving through the North Shore Disc Golf Course. Completing the full 4.3 miles of paved trail will land you in the midst of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, a great area to explore in and of itself.

For a little bit more of a technical hike, bike ride or trail run, the 5.8-mile nature trail is a great alternative. Easily accessible from Veterans Memorial Park or the Botanical Gardens, the nature trail follows the shore much more closely along the south side of the lake, generally giving a better view. This single track is a great option for mountain bikers looking for a mildly technical trail. Hikers and runners be wary, as it’s much harder for bikers and pedestrians to share this trail.

Though I’ve been traipsing all over Lake Fayetteville for years, this is a trail I will always take advantage of. Even on this dreary first day of 2013, I still thoroughly enjoyed my lap around the lake, and that says a lot. Easily accessible within the city limits, spending some time on Lake Fayetteville Trail is a great and easy way to start the New Year off on the right foot.