The steep and ledgy hillsides of Lake Leatherwood trails make the Eureka Springs park ripe for downhill-only trails. There are seven of them, each about a mile long. For a fee, which goes to maintaining the trails, a shuttle sprints riders and their bikes up the mountain to two stone platforms that serve as the launching pads for each descent. There are smooth, flowing trails for beginners, technical rocky downhills for intermediate riders, and massive jumps and drops for the experts, including the so-called “lily pad.” You’ll know it when you see it. Hint: it’s on Downhill One, and it’s big.
Riders can also take in the 1,600-acre park on the other 25 miles of challenging cross-country trails built and developed over the last two decades, largely thanks to volunteer advocacy and labor. The system weaves up and down the hillsides and takes visitors around Lake Leatherwood to one of the must-see spots: the 1940s limestone dam built by the Works Progress Administration created by the New Deal.
The park also offers other activities like fishing and boating. Cabins and camping are available throughout the year. It’s located just minutes from Eureka Springs’ main drag, so after you hit the trail you can take in the crooked streets, Victorian homes and haunted hotels in a town that’s part bohemian shops and restaurants and part motorcycle bars and barbecue joints.
The downhill trails are a blast but don’t skip out on Miner’s Rock Loop around the Lake.