The First Ride: Hobbs State Park Monument Trail
The Monument Trails were designed and built on the idea that accessible riding can also inspire awe. And at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas, that vision has seen the light of day.
Hobbs is home to the state’s first Monument Trail – a flowing, winding testament to the true singletrack riding that birthed our modern conception of mountain biking. In keeping with its name, the trail at Hobbs has another monumental feature: its scenic beauty.
Following the shores of Beaver Lake for miles, this is the kind of ride that feels uniquely remote, despite its short distance to the Hobbs State Park welcome center and other amenities.
Now it’s time to talk riding.
From an ‘on the bike’ perspective, this is some of the most extraordinary singletrack in Arkansas, which means its some of the most extraordinary singletrack in the entire Midwest. It manages to be everything at once: flowing, fast, dynamic, and truly different.
The Monument Trail at Hobbs State Park is, in an important sense, a monument to the craft of building trail. One of the most striking aspects is how well the trail and the landscape complement one another. The unique lines play to Arkansas’ topography, flowing up and down with ease, while managing never to introduce a crushing climb or a white-knuckle descent.
In aiming for accessibility, the Monument Trail has succeeded where many other singletrack titans fail. It falls into the category of an ‘easy ride,’ making it accessible for families, children, new cyclists, or that one person in your group who insists on riding singlespeed or fully rigid. But of equal importance is that it remains fun for the advanced rider, who has the option to make it as hard as he or she wants simply by going really, really fast – which the trail allows with an almost graceful ease at several junctures.
In the final assessment, this is a trail worth riding, regardless of your skill level or your typical trail preferences. Put simply, you have an opportunity to experience a monument – don’t miss it.
Arkansas’ first Monument Trail at Hobbs State Park is set to open to the public on Saturday, June 8th with an all-day party featuring group rides, bike demos from Orbea, a beer garden, and a community coalesced around cycling.
You can donate to the future of the Monument Trails here, and learn more about the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation here.
Author: Amber Chambers
Amber Chambers is the trail project manager for the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation. Her work in mountain biking has taken her across the country, from Colorado to California, and then to Northwest Arkansas, where she hopes to help build the next mecca of mountain biking. Her first bike was a Gary Fisher Sugar 292, and she now rides a Mondraker Foxy Carbon 27.5. Chambers' favorite trails in NWA are Schroen Train and Barn Burner.