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New Trail in Arkansas: Bella Vista to Fayetteville 36 miles

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New Trail in Arkansas: Bella Vista to Fayetteville 36 miles

Old 03-26-16, 05:11 PM
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New Trail in Arkansas: Bella Vista to Fayetteville 36 miles

I was pretty surprised when I came across this. This trail starts at Bella Vista Lake, runs through Bentonville, Springdale and down to Fayetteville for 36 miles. The trail cost 38 million dollars, half of that coming from Walmart which is headquartered in Bentonville. What surprised me was the fact that it is mostly dedicated trail except for a few small portions that are protected bike lane. For a state thats not really known for being progressive, this is very progressive. A lot of the roads in Arkansas and Missouri are not bike friendly and this is a big improvement for that area. They plan on adding to it in the future.

If you ever find yourself heading North or South through Northwest Arkansas area, this is a good option.

Anyone from Northwest Arkansas that has checked this out?

Time Lapse of the trail (not mine):


Trail Website:

Razorback Regional Greenway | NWA Trails

Pretty good map (loads a little slow for me):

https://trails.cast.uark.edu/

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Old 03-27-16, 08:06 PM
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Coincidently, I just got back from a week long tour down in east central Arkansas and found the state is also working on an 85 mile trail called the Delta Heritage River trail which should be quite nice when completed.

Delta Heritage Trail State Park, Arkansas

I much prefer the more hilly and forested western/northern parts of the state to tour, since the eastern delta is so flat and barren. One of our days was just maybe the worst 45 mile day I've ever encountered as we found ourselves faced with a hellish unrelenting 35 mph direct head wind every turn of the pedal. Unsupported touring at its finest.

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Old 03-29-16, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Coincidently, I just got back from a week long tour down in east central Arkansas and found the state is also working on an 85 mile trail called the Delta Heritage River trail which should be quite nice when completed.

Delta Heritage Trail State Park, Arkansas

I much prefer the more hilly and forested western/northern parts of the state to tour, since the eastern delta is so flat and barren. One of our days was just maybe the worst 45 mile day I've ever encountered as we found ourselves faced with a hellish unrelenting 35 mph direct head wind every turn of the pedal. Unsupported touring at its finest.

https://www.facebook.com/rob.carroll.7359/videos/vb.1199346992/10207149112585051/?type=2&theater
I've heard about the Delta Heritage Trail. That does sound interesting. It won't let me look at the Facebook page, do I need to sign up to see it?

Well, I just got back from riding the Razorback Greenway trail. I started from the Lowe's Home Improvment...I called them a day ahead and asked them if it would be OK to park a truck overnight. Without twisting his arm, he said yes and go have fun. The Lowe's is about a couple miles from the very start of the Razoback. I road my loaded bike South to Fayetteville, where the trail ends and kept on heading South on HWY71 another 6-7 miles to the Cowpatty RV Park and tent camped. It was nice enough campground. That stretch of road was not bike friendly by any means.

They have another RV Park on HWY 71 just on the South edge of Fayetteville, but I called them ahead of time. They were real clear they didn't want a guy on a bicycle camping in a tent. Never mind the place was pretty empty when I rode by. The next morning I headed back North to my truck.

I would say 99% of this trail is a concrete trail, seperate from the roadway. It is some of the nicest concrete I've ever rode. It has many tunnels, one really long one that has lighting. A few of the other tunnels have lighting also. Water fountains, historical sites, cows, ducks, swans, geese, rabbits, horses and some chickens were spotted. The only problem I had were the confusing trail intersections. It would seem a simple task to mark the trail properly, but they have so many other trails leaving this one (yes they are all nice concrete like this one) that it made me scratch my head a few times. Once I had to stop and ask someone at a "Y" that was unmarked going both ways. They need to work on that.

This trail is an engineering marvel.
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Old 03-30-16, 09:20 AM
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Have you heard there is initial work on trying to create another trail, Little Rock to Hot Springs? Now that one would really create a buzz and some great touring opportunities as well.
Hopefully it can be completed in my life time.

Bike trail from Little Rock to Hot Springs in first gear | Arkansas Blog | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art
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Old 03-30-16, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Have you heard there is initial work on trying to create another trail, Little Rock to Hot Springs? Now that one would really create a buzz and some great touring opportunities as well.
Hopefully it can be completed in my life time.

Bike trail from Little Rock to Hot Springs in first gear | Arkansas Blog | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art
That would be a real popular trail, Hot Springs is nice. I've ridden the River Trail in Little Rock many times on both sides of the river. They have made improvements but they are so far behind and moving along too slowly. The bridge by the Bill Clinton Library is great. But still, the trail is terrible on the South side through Little Rock heading West...they don't really have a trail, it just follows roads. The Big Dam Bridge & Two Rivers Bridge are wonderful.

You would think Little Rock would be far ahead of Northwest Arkansas, but spend a little time in either area and you'll see where the money is being spent. Quite possibly Bentonville is the capital of Arkansas. Farmers in the Mississippi Delta say the capital of Arkansas is Memphis, Tn. Go figure.
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Old 04-26-16, 02:30 PM
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If anyone wants it, I have a file (.kmz) that will open up in Google Earth (or maybe other programs, I don't know) of this trail. It is nice.

I have ridden it 6 times on 3 overnight trips.

You can PM me an E-Mail address and I will send it to you. My route starts just shy of the actual Northern end at the Lowes Home Improvement where I have been parking my vehicle overnight and runs alll the way to the Southern end of the trail and continues South on 71 to a nice campground with nice prices and nice showers. Also have a loop on it South of Fayetteville which is not a 100% complete but can be done with a slight detour. All of the many Brewpubs right near the trail are also marked along with a couple areas that have food trucks.

Make a note: they are putting in a bridge, culvert or something near the Northern end not too far from the Lowes. Instead of taking the route I have marked from the Lowes, you'll have to head South on 71 for a short distance to NW A Street. You'll see a business/parking lot with trail users using the lot to park in. Make sure you head the right direction and don't take the trail that goes to the dog park.

While in this area, especially Fayetteville, feel free to wear the shirt of your choosing as long as it is red and says Arkansas Razorbacks on it. You'll feel out of place without it.

Here is a sample that runs right through the heart of Dickson Street:


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Old 05-02-16, 12:51 PM
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Hi guys and gals! I was off the forum over winter due to some work issues. I spotted this thread and had to chime in. I road the length of it almost every weekend last summer. It's a cinch for a seasoned cycler but sometimes a challenge for rank amateurs like me. I have exported a the entire thing to Ride with GPS here: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/5766223

Here's some things to watch for.

I live not far off the Razorback Greenway and bike short sections of it a lot. It has a lot of nice scenery, some hills and a lot of amenities along it. Unfortunately the part that I live closest to is the worst part of the entire trail.

Form the southern tip of Fayetteville all the way to mid Rogers the trail is mostly protected separated concrete pathway with a few urban sections in Springdale that are sharrows / "super sidewalks". These all seem pretty safe as long as you watch for turning traffic.

Not so safe is the section I am nearest. Heading north on the Greenway midway right in Rogers the trail pops up under New Hope Road near Home Depot, it circles back around on a narrow sidewalk behind a couple of restaurants where their driveways cross the sidewalk - beware of motorists leaving and entering them parking lots. They get their take out from the bagel place and zone completely out. Bushes and trash cans blocking their view don't help either. It then loops around and actually is a "super sidewalk" along New Hope road protected only by plastic reflectors and a curb. It ducks down under the freeway I49 and comes out and again is a "super sidewalk" that runs along 52nd street. This section is deadly, there has been at least 1 death and a lot of injuries as the trail crosses driveways into a Village on the Creeks shopping center. Cars do not watch when they are turning into the drives and block the trail while they edge out into traffic coming out. Crossing Stoney Brook Road just north of there is also dicey, cars swing at speed onto it from north and south trying to beat the light and don't watch to see if there are pedestrians / bikes crossing. I've had more than my share of close calls there. This is the second worse crossing of the whole trail.

There is a new underpass under Walnut street north of there that eliminates what was the third worst crossing of the whole trail.

Be careful as you cross SE 28th Street. It's a controlled crossing but people making RH turns going north on Medical Center Parkway don't watch for peds / bikes.

As you continue north in Bentonville the next "bad" section is where the trail dumps you out behind the Bentonville Highschool and you have to run north up SE P street, P street itself is normally quiet but sometimes drivers get anxious and might pass too close. There are NO bike lanes painted. The real trouble starts as you try and cross SE 14th / 102. There was a fatality at this intersection a few years ago. The opposite side of P street goes into a Walmart support complex with truck and car traffic coming out. You need to make it to the NW corner of this intersection to get back on the trail proper so cross 102 and then P street, cars block the trail all the time and race to catch the light to make a turn. This is the WORST crossing of the entire trail.

The next bad crossing is at SE 8th and SE J streets, you need to cross 8th, and then J as you need to get diagonally to the NW corner from the SE corner, there is a LOT of traffic on both during the week during business hours, lots of cars blocking the walkways and they are slow lights. This one isn't too bad as the speed limit is a tad lower.

Next comes the small Town Center trial, don't blink or you miss it. Just 1/2 block north of the 8th / J intersection you have to take a hard left to the west and hop on this short section. It's marked but easy to breeze right past.

Next comes the hop skip and jump across a few "super sidewalk" sections where it sort of unceremoniously dumps you out near the square in Bentonville on East Central Ave. You are supposed to pick your way around the square and head north on NE A St and turn right at the splash park on NE 3rd to enter the regular trail again. To avoid the square I normally cut across the old County Courthouses parking lot to NE 2nd and then take NE B st to NE 3rd to get back on the trail. I've gotten some dirty looks but no one has stopped me, you are not supposed to cut across the parking lot, at least in a car. Look for the trail again to the east of the small parking lot by the entrance of Compton Gardens. It's marked but easy to miss. Lots of pedestrians from here on out so go slow.

From there it is smooth sailing next to the Crystal Bridges museum and all the way to the north terminus by Lake Bellavista. This is a real nice section of the trail and almost all downhill heading north. A great finish to a good ride.
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Old 05-02-16, 02:42 PM
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I'm not seeing what you are seeing...I haven't had what I would consider a problem at any crossing. To be fair, I did see a couple other riders yelling at drivers at the Stoney Brook crossing. The trail at Stoney Brook Crossing is supposed to be rerouted I am told...don't know how long that will take. Your trail system is so much more advanced than what most folks have where they live.

I like the trail so much, I did the complete trail again twice over the weekend with my wife. That makes 8 complete trips on it within the last 1.5 months. I would say 95% of the drivers are very courteous, probably more courteous than drivers from my homestate. The problems you describe such as drivers running lights, not yielding or ignoring crosswalks is a normal everyday thing for me. I saw less of these types of problems on this trail than elsewhere.

Your map is great, but mine has all the breweries marked on it; Core, Columbus, Apple Blossom, Fossil Cove, West Mountain, Bike Rack, Bentonville Brewing and a cider place in Springdale called Black Apple Crossing. All of these are right off the trail, in most cases they are within a block of it.

If your willing to ride a few miles off the the trail, you'll find a few more.
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Old 05-02-16, 05:05 PM
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Most of all my near misses were during the week usually in the evening, so there is a LOT more traffic, and usually they are people anxious to get home after an aggravating day of work. Most weekends the traffic is a lot lighter, especially around the P / 14th Walmart intersection.

The fatalities don't lie either. Even a bike cop was struck in front of the Village on the Creeks center a year or so ago.

Interestingly, I also found a map online that showed how the re-route past that section would go, although the PDF showing it was later removed. Instead of circling the restaurants at New Hope it will continue on straight and take the Rogers City trail around the north side of Home Depot and continue on north then straight west and then UNDER 49 to connect back to the original trail somewhere around W Metro Park Crossing.
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Old 05-02-16, 08:47 PM
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I'm sure they will improve it here and there in the future...I noticed several trailheads under construction also. It's an amazing trail thats going to see heavy usage in the future. Anybody bicycle touring through that part of the country would love the trail in my opinion. Lots of good eats too...Station Cafe, Crepes Paulette, Arsaga's, Hammontree's Grilled Cheese, Hog Haus and more. I do like What-A-Burger, you have a couple right off the trail. I hope you get an In-N-Out Burger, I have to drive to Texas to get one of those!

I've never seen that area in rush hour or a weekday. I hope everyone stays safe and they find ways to improve crossings. Maybe write a few tickets at some of those intersections too. Be safe.
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Old 05-03-16, 01:07 PM
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I hope they further the improvements too, one that they are going to open soon (relative term in road construction) is the section that goes through the The Greens on Blossom Way, they just widened and replaced the bridge on Belleview the trial went under. It was always under 6" of water or more if it rained.

I too love the access to amenities, in some sections you feel like you are in the wilderness, but you are almost always close to a road or street.

I just wish I could find someone as miserable at riding as I am. I love riding but am slow as molasses. I rode with a couple of guys last summer, while we were riding they mentioned they just liked an easy pace like what we were doing - and I was straining to keep up.

I should work at getting better but then riding becomes a chore and something other than an activity I love.
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Old 05-03-16, 02:32 PM
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Slow? I keep track of miles and times...on my 8 trips I averaged about 47 miles in about 6 hours of "in the saddle" riding (from the cycling computer). That works out to about 8 miles per hour.

I was on my touring bike with four loaded panniers for everyone of these trips. That's pretty slow, but I get to see twice a much compared to my 4 MPH speed walk!

I'll admit that I prefer to ride solo or with my wife; I think most people are in too much of a hurry and miss out on too much stuff. Especially if your riding somewhere interesting and might only be there once. I don't know if you do any touring, but the pace you are describing would be well suited for it. Even solo, you'll run across many folks who like to chat. That's a good thing because if your chatting and not riding, I call that a break. Breaks are good things!
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Old 05-04-16, 08:00 AM
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I've got 4 years of GPS data, average speed over about 7000 miles? 10MPH. Mostly paved trail riding and about 30% road. Regular hybrid bike, just short trips. I suck so much at it. Although it's the only outdoor exercise I really enjoy, so I stick with it.

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Old 05-14-16, 01:44 PM
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I have a friend who lives in Rogers and wants to ride the trail with his son who is just getting old enough to do an overnight, staying at a campground then returning to Rogers the next day.
What is the name of the campground you mention on 71? We don't want to do a lot of highway riding, since his son is not really used to it. I googled some campgrounds and everything looks to be just RV camping.
appreciate any help!
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Old 05-14-16, 02:40 PM
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It's about time you joined in this party, I've been waiting for the shipwreck seal of approval before I commit.

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Old 05-14-16, 03:55 PM
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Hey Robow, nice pic!
Yah, Ive ridden a lot of it from south of Rogers/Centerten to the U of A, or Dickson street. Cant comment on if its a good path or not, it just doesn't go anywhere that I need to be when in that area. Get off the road for a bit to go to a place off trail, and get yelled at to get on the path.
My friend and I ride to our bikes on it when with his kids. Their mother is not a fan of them on the roads(come to that, my mother is not a fan of me on these roads!!). We ride to the mountain bike trails, right of the path. Slaughterhouse trail is pretty good, and there are others that have some neat ramps and stuff to ride on.

Last time I was there I was going to ride the Scott with the knobbies, but someone else showed up and wanted to ride so I let her ride it while I took my cannondale(always keep two or more on the rack!). I am running Pasela Gravel Kings on the C-dale, and did quite well on both the path and the trails.

The trail itself is... Urban. To me at least. Lots of Peds, lots of college students riding, some homeless but not as bad as Denver or Chicago. Its not to my tastes, but it should be great to ride with my friend and his kid. He will use a tandem so that when the nine year old Fatigue/Boredom kicks in it wont be that bad. We figure that if it goes well next year we can take his other kid.

Tried googling the camprounds and calling, but all of them on 71 Highway say no tents. Got to figure that out, and remembered this thread.
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Old 05-14-16, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc123
I was pretty surprised when I came across this. This trail starts at Bella Vista Lake, runs through Bentonville, Springdale and down to Fayetteville for 36 miles. The trail cost 38 million dollars, half of that coming from Walmart which is headquartered in Bentonville. What surprised me was the fact that it is mostly dedicated trail except for a few small portions that are protected bike lane. For a state thats not really known for being progressive, this is very progressive. A lot of the roads in Arkansas and Missouri are not bike friendly and this is a big improvement for that area. They plan on adding to it in the future....
It's a little surprising to me that dedicated bike trails cost >$1,000,000 per mile. No wonder there aren't more real bike trails.

I know of a 25 mile abandoned rail that has been in limbo for several years in an effort to convert to bike trail/MUP. Apparently the big holdup is the abandoned rail right-of-way reverts to property owners, and generally they don't wish to share their "new" land with the likes of pedestrians and bicyclists. They're probably holding out for a payoff of some kind, which I suspect was one of the big costs of building the Belle Vista trail.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:35 PM
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Pretty kewl trail esp all the $$ concrete. Only went thru Arkansas once on a motor trip & it seemed like great bike touring territory.
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Old 05-15-16, 06:42 PM
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The campground is Cow Patty. It is mostly RV, but they do have spots for bikes & tents, some w/electric. Owner is on site. They are nice people.

Cow Patty is south of Fayetteville by quite a bit; I'm OK with riding on 71 which has fairly low traffic and 4 lanes. I could see how some wouldn't like it with children.

Cowpatty RV Park and Campground - Home

The RV park in Fayetteville on 71 does not want cyclists or tents in his campground. Otherwise it would be a nice place to stay. I won't even mention the name of the place; I car camped one time there and got ripped off while attending a concert in Fayetteville. Nothing valuable, lawn chairs, the world famous orange Home Depot 5 gallon bucket and a stool.

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Old 05-15-16, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333
It's a little surprising to me that dedicated bike trails cost >$1,000,000 per mile. No wonder there aren't more real bike trails.

I know of a 25 mile abandoned rail that has been in limbo for several years in an effort to convert to bike trail/MUP. Apparently the big holdup is the abandoned rail right-of-way reverts to property owners, and generally they don't wish to share their "new" land with the likes of pedestrians and bicyclists. They're probably holding out for a payoff of some kind, which I suspect was one of the big costs of building the Belle Vista trail.
They spent millions on this tunnel, which runs about 600 feet under the highway. They probably spent millions on fencing along the trail. It's unlike any other bike trail I've been on.



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Old 05-15-16, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc123
The campground is Cow Patty. It is mostly RV, but they do have spots for bikes & tents, some w/electric. Owner is on site. They are nice people.

Cow Patty is south of Fayetteville by quite a bit; I'm OK with riding on 71 which has fairly low traffic and 4 lanes. I could see how some wouldn't like it with children.

Cowpatty RV Park and Campground - Home
.

Thanks, I have ridden 71 and its not the worst in the world. Since my friend will have his son on a tandem, we should be able to cope.
I actually rode from Rogers over towards Harrison AR on my way home the other day. Now some of those roads are hairy!
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Old 05-16-16, 02:29 PM
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My 8 year old grand daughter and I did an organized ride on this trail just last Saturday. Called the "Square 2 Square", 30 miles from the Fayetteville to Bentonville square. We had a blast, great time. She was in a tag along behind me.
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Old 05-17-16, 01:52 PM
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It's nice to see that they've extended the trail system in the 6 years since I left central Fayetteville. I've lived in a couple places since, and still feel as though it was a great dedicated trail system at the time.
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Old 05-17-16, 02:45 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by seeker333
It's a little surprising to me that dedicated bike trails cost >$1,000,000 per mile.
I thought this the first time I read the thread a couple months ago. Figured it was a typo. Oh wow thats nuts it is accurate!
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Old 05-17-16, 02:53 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by shipwreck
Thanks, I have ridden 71 and its not the worst in the world. Since my friend will have his son on a tandem, we should be able to cope.
I actually rode from Rogers over towards Harrison AR on my way home the other day. Now some of those roads are hairy!
That Cow Patty campground has a real steep but fairly short hill right before you get to the campground. I have to push my bike + 4 panniers up that one...only takes 2-3 minutes to do that.

I've backpacked a whole bunch around the Buffalo River and know the roads pretty well around Harrison, Jasper and Ponca. I don't think I would feel too safe on them with all the hills & curves and drivers missing brain cells (well, that's everywhere!).

Some Buffalo River:

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