The Slaughter Pen Trails were placed along the sides of a “hollow,” a small valley with steep walls and drained by a stream.
Phase 1 was built about 2 miles from Bentonville Town Square, and sits on the eastern side of Slaughter Pen Hollow.
Phase 2 of the Slaughter Pen features trails on both sides of the hollow and starts about 1.5 miles from town.
Phase 3, the one closest to Bentonville (about .7 miles from the town square), and the first one I experienced for that reason.
Slaughter Pen Trails … My Tracks
- The squiggly lines below represent tracks for all the rides I took on the Slaughter Pen Trails.
- Click a Blue P for Driving Directions
- Click Colored Track for Specific Information
I will begin by introducing you to the All American Trail … a mixture of log rides, small jumps and berms, artificial rocks, and a couple of ladder runs. I had a blast riding this portion, holding back a little for I was on a new bike, and it had only been 11 days since I had separated my shoulder on a jump in San Diego. This was the first bit of dirt trail I biked on this trip, and what a cool introduction for me!
The All American Trail dumped me off on the Razorback Greenway, (the 36 mile cement path connecting the 5 towns in Northwestern Arkansas) just above the entrance to Phase 3. So… Phase 3 was what I entered when I first arrived. I also managed to ride most of Phase 2 the first afternoon in Bentonville. I biked Slaughter Pen Trails 3 of the 4 days I rode… making sure I hit every trail at least once. I rode many of the Slaughter Pen Trails 2, 3, or even 4 times.
Phase 3 (Closest to town… and the ones I first biked.)
The trails were well designed and marked, and fun to ride. All the trails ran through a beautiful dense forest with the trail surface mostly smooth, crushed rock. Most of the tight turns featured well designed and maintained berms. The only drawback I could think of were the length of the trails … there were so many and each so short (all less than a half mile)… I had trouble keeping track of which I had done. It was like a mountain biking amusement park. Despite having so many trails packed into a small, popular area, I felt like I was alone because the dense woods insulated me from other riders and sounds, except at trail junctions.
The following is a list of the trails in Phase 3:
- Rocking Horse .34 miles
- Big Wheels .10 miles
- Bottle Stopper .27 miles
- Rim Trail .34 miles
- Patti Cake .10 miles
- Cry Baby .17 miles
- Choo Choo .21 miles
- Circular Trail .13 miles
- Boo Boo .25 miles
- Peek A Boo .31 miles
Phase 2 (1.5 miles from town square)
Phase 2 of the Slaughter Pen Trails features trails on both sides of the hollow about 1.5 miles from town. I found the Phase 2 Trails enjoyable as they were roughly twice as long as Phase 3 and still had the good crushed rock surface and nice banked berms. Although Phase 2 featured 3 trails on the eastern side of Slaughter Pen Hollow (in addition to 4 on the western edge), one of those on the east (Scott Allen Alley) was a very short, side trail drop off a 3 foot ledge for thrill seekers who don’t have a sore shoulder. The other two smooth trails were a joy to ride as were the 4 on the west side.
Near the northern end of Phase 2 I found a 2 X 2 foot sign at the bottom of a very steep “trail.” I had to ride up close to see what it said. Supposedly President Bush rode up this hill (without any help) in 2010.
Phase 2 West:
- Urban Trail 1.19 miles
- Angus Chute 1.00 miles
- Master Plan .15 miles
- Razorback Ridge 1.34 miles
Phase 2 East:
- Scott Allen Alley .06 miles
- Rocky Ridge .71 miles
- Free Time .38 miles
Phase 1 (2 miles from the town square)
When I first passed through the gate to Phase 1, I immediately noticed several kids hitting the jumps at the Free Ride Bike Park. Then I noticed the pump track which lay between me and the jumps. Later, I learned the city was hoping to make the entire area into a huge Free Ride Bike Park, by the summer of 2016.
The trails in Phase 1 were more my style (compared to Phases 2 and 3) as they were longer, and a little more challenging. The trails were also spiced up with an occasional man-made obstacle, and with the thick forest it seemed as if I were out in the middle of a wilderness. Only the occasional car honk or truck downshift on the adjacent freeway interrupted this illusion.
Except for the Downhill Run and a couple of connectors, all the trails were made parallel to each other. Medusa climbed to the eastern rim of the hollow (making it more of a challenge). That brought me very close to the freeway.
The Downhill Run was placed at the very north end of Slaughter Pen Trails, and was a lot of fun. I liked the fact that all of the jumps were table top so I could jump as much (or little) as I wanted without having to clear a gap, and the huge berms were circular and smooth. I did not attempt the vertical wood walls since they were wet (not that I would have tried them anyway). Unfortunately, David Wright (Director of Bentonville Parks and Recreation) told me they were going to have to reroute this north end of the park as the freeway was going to be widened.
Phase 1 Trails:
- Medusa 1.43 miles
- Tatamagouche 1.97 miles
- Armadillo’s Last Stand 1.04 miles
- Seed Tick Shuffle .74 miles
- Downhill .53 miles
- Downhill Connector .30 miles
- Downhill Connector .20 miles
The Slaughter Penn Trails are a wonderful asset for the citizens of Bentonville. I have done a lot of riding in different areas of the country and have never seen such a fine set of rides right next to a community. I would love to be able to go out my back door, jump on my bike, and have access to such a great selection of mixed trails.
Kids have got to love the bike park too. In my area, most kids have had to make their own jumps in an open lot or have to try to bum a ride to go somewhere to jump. Even for adults… if I want to work on my jumping I must drive several miles to get to a place to practice. Bentonville kids (and adults) have a giant built-in playground right next to town. And expanding the bike park looks pretty certain.
Are the Slaughter Pen Trails “Epic?” No, none of these trails is a Porcupine Rim or Wasatch Crest Trail.
Are the trails difficult? No, the trails are void of natural rock formations, exposed roots, and steep descents. But the makers have constructed many challenging obstacles so the rider can choose how difficult they want their ride to be.
Are the trails scenic? Not in the sense of far-off, breath taking vistas. But if you enjoy riding through a lush, green forest… then yes!
Are the trails fun to ride… you bet!
Would I ride these trails if I lived near Bentonville? Yes, almost every day!
Would I recommend that you to take a trip there and bike? Yes! The Slaughter Pen Trails are well worth your time, however long you are able to stop there.