Million-dollar Monument Trails are the latest offerings in Arkansas’s state parks, thanks to a collaboration by the Walton Family Foundation, the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation and Arkansas State Parks and Tourism Department. Up first: The 18-mile Hobbs Creek State Park Monument Trail, which will open in June. Suzanne Grobmyer, executive director of the foundation, said maps for the 18-mile Hobbs should be out later this week.
The Walton Foundation provided a $2 million grant for the trail at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, which is outside Rogers. Hufft Architects of Bentonville is designing camping and gathering areas for bikepackers to be built along the trail. Grobmyer said the Hobbs Trail is an easy “green”-rated trail, though it has harder loops for those who like thrills on two wheels. A video of the trail can be seen on the State Parks Monument Trail page.
The Walton Foundation has also provided $500,000* to the parks foundation for a trail under construction on the sunset side of Mount Nebo State Park. The first phase, 7 miles of blue trail (for experienced mountain bikers), will open later this year. Grobmyer said the intention is for all the trails to be at least 10 miles.
The Pinnacle Mountain Monument Trail is still in the design stage, but Grobmyer said she would like the trail to open this year. The trail will be located across from the arboretum on Pinnacle Valley Drive, on what’s called Middle Mountain. It will not impact the Ouachita Trail, but will intersect with the Jack Fork Trail. Construction on the Devil’s Den trail will likely start in late 2019.
Grobmyer said communities are encouraged to contribute ideas on what elements they’d like to see added to trails so that each one has a distinct identity related to place.
The Walton Foundation has been the moving force behind the Northwest Arkansas trail system, which includes the Razorback Regional Greenway from Fayetteville to Bella Vista. The trails have been part of the economic boom in Northwest, attracting bicyclists from across the country. In a press release, Tom Walton, the chair of the family foundation’s Home Region Committee that awards grants within Arkansas, said the Monument Trails could “expand those transformative benefits to more communities through world-class ride experiences in state parks across Arkansas.”
*A previous version of this post mistakenly listed the contribution from the Walton Family Foundation for the Mount Nebo project as $700,000.