This northernmost section of Hot Springs offers a quick escape into the wilderness. And when we say quick, we mean hop-on-your-bike-and-be-here-in-five-minutes quick! The Northwoods is directly accessible from Downtown but feels worlds away. You just might think you've fallen down the rabbit hole. The wind whispers through the trees. The sunlight dances on three lakes – Bethel, Dillon and Sanderson. Nature beckons you to play. Comprising city, county, and National Park land, this large swath of dense forest is home to the Northwoods Trails System and Cedar Glades Park. A premier mountain biking destination with over 30 miles of crisscrossing trails, the Northwoods Trails System is also popular with hikers, trail runners, and nature lovers, while Cedar Glades Park offers fun activities for the whole family. And whether you're hiking, biking, or tossing a frisbee, the natural beauty will take your breath away.
Designed and built by The International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Northwoods Trails System brings world-class mountain biking to Hot Springs. The purpose-built trails include single track, multi-track, flow trails, jump lines, and the Lucky 13 expert section, which is packed with fun features to help riders defy gravity. The trails are marked accordingly to include their degree of difficulty: Green for beginners, blue for intermediate, and black for advanced riders. Not that confident in your bike riding capabilities? Not to worry! You can explore the Northwoods by foot! Nearly all the trails are open to hikers and joggers. You can also beef up your bike riding skills at Cedar Glades Park. The park features a skills course with a pump track where you can get comfortable on your bike before hitting the trails. The sprawling county park also features a Disc Golf Course, an RC airfield and car track, a playground, a three-story treehouse, and more.
Along with all the outdoor activities, the Northwoods hosts a wide variety of events, including music and arts festivals, disc golf tournaments, RC aircraft fly-ins and demos, the Ouachita Highland Games & Mountain Market, and multiple mountain biking events. It's home to the annual Güdrun MTB festival, the Northwoods Enduro, the Wildcat Bike Marathon, and regularly scheduled group rides. Over three days each November, the Güdrun MTB festival features multiple races, exhibits, a skills showcase, and tons of camaraderie and riding. The event culminates with the time-honored Attila the Hun XC, an Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series race.
Weather permitting, the Northwoods Trail System is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Click here for trail condition updates. Cedar Glades Park is open during daylight hours.
There are four trailheads leading to the Northwoods Trails System:
The Waterworks Trailhead: Considered the main trailhead, it is one of the prettiest, with magnolia trees, beautiful sunsets, and views of Bethel Lake. It also has maintenance and bike wash stations. 300 Pineland Dr.
Pullman Trailhead: Connecting Downtown to the Northwoods, the Pullman Trail is the only trail in the Hot Springs National Park open to cyclists. The route, which passes near a historic homesite, takes you through the national park en route to mountain-biking bliss. Objects that may appear as trash, such as bottles, tin cans, toys, and even a car, are archeological artifacts protected by federal law—leave them in place. 710 Pullman Ave.
Cedar Glades Trailhead: Just a short drive from Downtown, the Cedar Glades Trailhead features a skills park, maintenance and bike wash stations, and access to all the fun activities at Cedar Glades Park. 461 Wildcat Rd.
Bull Bayou Trailhead: Located at the Bull Bayou Picnic Area, it includes picnic tables, a playground, and paved parking. 1124 Cedar Glades Rd.
Hot Springs is home to three locally owned bike shops plus a big-box retailer.
Visit Parkside Cycle for bike sales, rentals, and repairs.
Visit Spa City Cycling for bike sales, rentals, and repairs.
Visit Hot Springs Bicycle Touring Co. for bike rentals, downtown bike tours, and repairs.
Visit Dick's Sporting Goods for bike sales and repairs.
No need to forage for berries in the forest. All the restaurants and eateries in Downtown, Uptown and the National Park are just a short ride away! If you're looking for some caffiene after hitting the trails, head over to Red Light Roastery or Kollective Coffee + Tea, just a short ride away. Catch a delicious burger, fries, and milkshake in Uptown at Bailey's Dairy Treat, or a breakfast sandwhich and donuts at Golden Raised Donuts in Uptown.
Accommodations throughout Downtown, Uptown and the National Park are just a short ride away from the Northwoods. Want to be even closer to the action? There are a few notable places located right within the Northwoods boundaries, including Black Fox Den and Fern Dell, two very well appointed glampsites on 16 wooded acres. At Hot Springs Treehouses you can sleep in the canopy and enjoy post-ride soaks in a private hot tub. And for larger groups, there’s the Northwoods Lodge, a ranch style house with four bedrooms and accommodations for up to 12 people.
Padded bike shorts, a jersey, and a helmet if you’re riding. If you’re hiking or just hanging at the park: weather appropriate, breathable clothing and sturdy shoes.
The Northwoods is beautiful year round, and especially nice when the leaves are changing colors in the fall.
By bike! Rentals are available at Parkside Cycle, Spa City Cycling, and Hot Springs Bicycle Touring Co.