words: Nancy Hartney
images: NWA Council
Thirty-six intercity miles of biking and hiking paths stretch across woodlands, parks, shared roads, and hills connecting Fayetteville to Bentonville, Arkansas. The trail is officially known as the Razorback Regional Greenway and it’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of this area.
Fayetteville on the southern end of the Greenway includes Dickson Street with year-round live music, theatre and stage productions, clothing boutiques, and second-hand shops. Arsagas Depot, Hog Haus, Common Grounds, Bordinos Italian, Jose’s Mexican, and Grubs offer eats and libations for every palate. The Farmers’ Market on the Historic Square takes place three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) from late April through October dropping to Saturday only into November.
Bentonville holds bragging rights on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (closed Tuesdays), Walmart Museum, and Compton Gardens with its woodland plants, native prairie, and two Arkansas Champion Trees. Check out locally grown produce Saturdays, April 25 through October 31, at the Bentonville County Farmers’ Market.
Although the entire route can be completed in a six-hour day by hardcore cyclists, most folks opt to sample shorter loops with frequent stops. I’ve mapped out two options: one in Fayetteville and one in Bentonville, to make planning your day-trip easy. Also included are suggestions for local eateries. Get a Razorback Greenway system map, available at nwatrails.org, and pick up a city-specific map at the visitor’s bureau in Fayetteville, 21 South Block Avenue, or in Bentonville, 104 East Central Avenue.
Family friendly trails accommodate walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs, skaters, and dogs (on leash). Trailhead parking lots are scattered across the area with bike racks, drinking fountains, benches, picnic areas, and restrooms available.
Fayetteville in a Day
Begin early morning at Walker Park, 10 W. 15th Street, using the Frisco Trail north to cross School Street. Breakfast tip: Sample chorizo, eggs, and salsa at El Camino Real, 815 S. School.
After breakfast, continue north on the Frisco Trail to Dickson Street and the Razorback Greenway Belt. Downtown, check out Nightbird Books, 205 W. Dickson, for new books, note cards, and magazines or drop by Dickson Street Book Exchange, 653 Dickson, for gently used reads and antique bargains. Pick up event calendars and browse the Markham Art Gallery at Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson. Take Block Street, at the upper end of Dickson, for a landscaped ride to the Fayetteville Square with local eats, craft beers, import shops, jewelry stores, and clothing boutiques.
Use the Frisco Trail, switch to Scull Creek Trail, and peddle north to Clear Creek Trail for the Apple Blossom Brewing Company, 1550 E. Zion Road. Lunch tip: balsamic marinated Chicken Caprese with spinach, tomatoes, and pane Siciliano, $10.
For the afternoon ride, Clear Creek Trail connects to Lake Fayetteville Trail crossing Callie’s Prairie with a stop-off at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. Be sure to visit their twelve themed gardens and butterfly house. If you’d prefer, you can shop the afternoon away at the Northwest Arkansas Mall using the Clear Creek Trail spur into the Mall. Scull Creek Trail and Razorback Greenway are good loops for your return south.
In the evening, return via Scull Creek Trail and Dickson Street past the Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain Street, open weekdays till 8PM. Continue south to Greenhouse Grill, 481 S. School Avenue, in the Mill District. Dinner tip: herb and parmesan crusted Rainbow Trout with grits, $22. Scull Creek Trail connects to Walker Park and your return to the parking lot.
Bentonville in a Day
Start the day at the trailhead parking lot, NE 3rd Street, off the Bentonville square. Leave the bike and stroll two blocks for breakfast at 21c Hive Restaurant, 200 NE A Street. Fresh brewed coffee ($3) and a hot scone ($4) are bargains in this minimalist, artsy setting. After breakfast, from the trailhead, take the Art Trail, your entry to Crystal Bridges south grounds. Cross the foot bridge. Six distinct trails, open to hikers, crisscross the Museum grounds; three trails—Art, Orchard, and Crystal Bridges—are open to cyclists.
Relax at the Skyspace: The Way of Color, outdoor structure. Check out the wood and wetland flora on the way to the fiberglass Vaquero sculpture. Time and energy permitting, stroll the museum galleys, gift shop, or coffee bar. “Van Gogh to Rothko Masterworks from Albright-Knox Art Gallery”, on loan to June 1, is free to CB members, general public admission, $10.
Return to the trailhead on the Art Trail for lunch at Crepes Paulette French Restaurant, 213 Northeast A Street. Open from 11AM-2PM, this food truck specializes in crepes. Lunch tip: Le poulet épicé (spicy chicken), $7.50.
After lunch, use the All-American Trail, a soft surface trail for
beginners and families, accessed off the town square, as gateway to the Slaughter Pen Trail system. Slaughter Pen offers twenty interconnecting single track miles of varying complexity featuring log rides, rock drops, rock squeeze, and jumps. Alternate riding lines for different skill levels are scattered throughout the system. For those preferring mountain biking, Slaughter Pen Hollow trailhead offers easy access.
Back on the Square at 108 E. Central, Table Mesa Bistro sports exposed brick walls and Latin cuisine. Evening dining tip: Oaxaca Salmon, $18, with Tres Leches cake, $6.
On May 2, the Razorback Regional Greenway is having their grand opening celebration. There will be guided bike rides along the 36-mile trail, free transportation via the train and Ozark Regional Transit service, and history and garden walks. For details, visit nwatrails.org.
Fayetteville and Bentonville Bike Rentals:
Creekside Plaza Phat Tire
3761 North Mall Avenue, Fayetteville, 479.966.4308
Phat Tire Bikes
125 West Central Avenue, Bentonville, 479.715.6170
Call for reservations and prices.