mountain biker riding River Mountain Park in Little Rock
DIRT ROLLER COASTERS: At River Mountain Park. Russell Bloodworth Photography

Little Rock’s first pro-built urban mountain bike park opens to the public Thursday. The new trails are in River Mountain Park, just west of I-430, above the Little Maumelle River Boat Launch and the Little Rock side of the Two Rivers Park Bridge. Green-, blue- and black-rated downhill flow trails snake across the north side of River Mountain, taking advantage of 300 feet of elevation change. Mike Rogan, trail foreman for Rock Solid Trail Contracting, which built the trails, likened the downhills to dirt roller coasters. Advanced riders will be able to do a quick climb up the north side of the mountain. For those who want a more gradual ascent, a green trail will take riders up the mountain and along the south side of the mountain to cross country blue and green trails that lead back to the downhill trails.

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The project is a joint effort between the city of Little Rock and the Arkansas Parks & Recreation Foundation. The foundation was launched in 2017 with a $310,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, and it has already funded the development of multi-use trails designed specifically for mountain biking, known as Monument Trails, at Hobbs, Mount Nebo, Pinnacle and (newly opened) Devil’s Den state parks.

The Little Rock project also includes development of a “gateway” trail in Two Rivers Park for beginner mountain bikers and a bike skills area for children. Those will open at the end of the month.

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The Arkansas Parks & Recreation Foundation contributed $638,000 to the River Mountain and Two Rivers trails, which the city of Little Rock matched with $200,000.

Mountain biker looking at Arkansas River from River Mountain Park imageRussell Bloodworth Photography
GREAT VIEWS: At new River Mountain trails.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, city and foundation leaders will dedicate the new trails. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Gary Vernon of the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group, Parks & Recreation Foundation Executive Director Suzanne Grobmyer, LRCVB President and CEO Gretchen Hall, LR Parks Director John Eckhard and Ward 4 City Director Capi Peck will all speak.

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On Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., there’ll be a community celebration on the Little Rock side of Two Rivers Park with El Sur Street Food and Loblolly Creamery and a Lost Forty beer garden (with a limited amount of free beer!). A number of vendors will be on hand as well. Later, from 6-9 p.m. the foundation and Shift Modern Cyclery will host an after party with more beer and food trucks.

*A previous version of this post mistakenly said the trails would open June 16.