New mountain bike trail loop now open on UA campus

Photos by Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

A new beginner-level mountain bike loop is now open on the University of Arkansas campus.

The 0.3-mile loop is called Freshman Experience and is accessed from Oak Ridge Trail, which is a paved pathway that runs from the northwest corner of Clinton Drive and Harmon Avenue to a one-way section of Garland Avenue on the UA campus near Stadium Drive (see map below).

The new trail, built by Progressive Trail Design, includes a few berms, some rock armoring, and several optional wooden features.

Officials said it’s the first of three natural-surface trail installations planned on the UA campus over the next couple of years. The work is supported with a grant from the Walton Family Foundation along with university matching resources for site work and land allocation.

The wooded hillside area also includes a granite trail and a wooden staircase pathway.

Eric Boles, director of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability, said the trail’s proximity to campus, residents, and schools make it perfect for both recreation and transportation.

“I’m glad to see this scenic hillside receive an enhancement that will improve the experience of all users,” Boles said. “Whether you’re walking to class, going for a jog, or rolling a mountain bike towards Mount Kessler, you’ll enjoy the reimagined Oak Ridge.”

A public ribbon cutting is scheduled at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 30. Key stakeholders are scheduled to speak during a brief ceremony, followed by a brief walking tour of the new trail system lead by Chris Crone of Progressive Trail Design.

Attendees can reach the event from McIlroy Avenue and Fairview Street by following the staircase beside and behind the McIlroy House. The area can also be accessed from the parking lot behind the FIJI House on Garland Avenue where free parking is available.

Freshman Experience Trail Map

Trail photos