Eureka Springs has always had trails. Their origins stem from Native Americans and spring seekers in the 1800’s. From that time, through the founding of Eureka Springs, and during the establishment of the town as a tourist attraction, trails have always been an important means of transportation and recreation.
The future of trails in Eureka Springs lies with a connected system of trails to move people to locations that they want and need to go. The current trails are excellent but lack connectivity. The current small trail segments are valuable but the concept of moving quickly from one side of the town to the other without a motor vehicle will require new routes and connections.
Lake Leatherwood City Park currently holds over 20 miles of trails. Black Bass Lake City Park includes 2 miles of trails. Small segments of legal trail in the town of Eureka Springs add up to less than two miles of disjointed trail.
- Use city owned, wooded “alleys” to create an urban transportation and recreational trail loop in the city of Eureka Springs.
- Double the number of trail miles in Lake Leatherwood City Park.
- Double the trail miles in Black Bass Lake City Park.
- Most importantly, connect all three areas of trails together. This will allow trail users to hike or bike throughout the town and access Lake Leatherwood and Black Bass parks easily and safely.
Building An Epic Loop
In 1999 the International Mountain Biking Association created the “Epic Trail” designation to denote trails that are challenging, over 80% single track and are at least 20 miles in length. These rare Epic Trails are spread across the country and have become an important destination for bikers and hikers. Currently, Arkansas’ five IMBA Epic Trails place the state tied with Colorado for the second most designations behind California, which has seven.
The ozark hills of Eureka Springs are the logical place for the next Arkansas IMBA Epic Trail. The ability to lodge and dine in beautiful, historic Eureka Springs and immediately access a trail, is unique and will draw visitors from surrounding states and throughout the country. The addition of Eureka Springs trails to the Arkansas IMBA Epic list would draw many hikers and bikers from the middle and eastern USA who do not have easy access to Colorado or California’s Epic Trails. Eureka Springs has a good start on the trails that are needed for this Epic Trail loop but key connections need to be made and new trails built.