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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! Long time MTBR lurker first time poster.

My family and I might be looking to relocate to Northwest Arkansas in 2022. My kids are 8 and 6 and the entire household rides.

While this post might seem a bit specific, I would like to "nail it" if at all possible. Our goal is to focus on good schools, safe communities, and hopefully good access to trails a short ride from the house.

For those shredding families out there, are there specific towns in the area you would recommend or specific communities? We are looking at Bella Vista, Bentonville (near Coler or near Slaughter Pen), and admittedly we love the Railyard so parts of Rogers are in discussion.

We grew up in cornfield towns so the idea of singletrack right down the road is so appealing and something I would love to make happen while meeting family needs.

Any information is greatly appreciated!
 

· orthonormal
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My wife and I have been digging into real estate in the area while looking for a vacation house/eventual place to retire. I haven't been looking much at schools (kids are in college) but I have found several seemingly safe communities with good (< 1 mile) to excellent (< 1/4 mile) trail access. The homes themselves, the prices, the lot sizes, and the ease of access to downtown vary widely though.

Are you looking for acreage? Walking distance to downtown? Big house? New?
 

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Bella Vista I'd think would give you a great opportunity to have Back 40 in your backyard, as long as your housing budget was in the right spot. Around downtown Bentonville would obviously be another good choice for singletrack. Not sure if you've checked out Fayetteville, but it's a good size city and has some nice trails looks Kessler.

As for schools, I have no input on that... Arkansas is a weird place and I can't imagine they had a plethora of great schools to pick from (sorry if that offends anyone).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks all for the input so far. We have looked at Fayetteville but only a small amount and it deserves more research. The riding there is great!

We would probably target .5 acres or less. We live in southern AZ now but spent 34 years in small midwest farm towns. I miss grass, but don't want to make a full time job of it again haha. We certainly don't have to have a new home and honestly aren't big on new developments close together. AZ has taught us what we don't love about population density.

1800-2200 sq ft is probably in our target range with a 2 or 3 stall garage. Close to downtown would be neat but honestly access to trails and school quality are more important.

I think that Bella Vista and Bentonville (close to Slaughter Pen) would be prime for kids to meet up after school with buddies and shred. That is the huge benefit of Northwest Arkansas riding from either of our locations so far.......lots of young riders and potential shredder friends for our kids. Anywhere we go locally (at either location so far) they are the youngest and probably only kids riding.

We went to Bentonville for a week in July and each night we hung out at the Railyard or a session zone and our kids met new friends and rode all night. It was great!

Thanks again and all input is greatly appreciated!
 

· orthonormal
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Thanks all for the input so far. We have looked at Fayetteville but only a small amount and it deserves more research. The riding there is great!

We would probably target .5 acres or less. We live in southern AZ now but spent 34 years in small midwest farm towns. I miss grass, but don't want to make a full time job of it again haha. We certainly don't have to have a new home and honestly aren't big on new developments close together. AZ has taught us what we don't love about population density.

1800-2200 sq ft is probably in our target range with a 2 or 3 stall garage. Close to downtown would be neat but honestly access to trails and school quality are more important.

I think that Bella Vista and Bentonville (close to Slaughter Pen) would be prime for kids to meet up after school with buddies and shred. That is the huge benefit of Northwest Arkansas riding from either of our locations so far.......lots of young riders and potential shredder friends for our kids. Anywhere we go locally (at either location so far) they are the youngest and probably only kids riding.

We went to Bentonville for a week in July and each night we hung out at the Railyard or a session zone and our kids met new friends and rode all night. It was great!

Thanks again and all input is greatly appreciated!
Look at the neighborhoods just off of Tiger Blvd. between Walton Blvd. and NE A St. for good Slaughter Pen access. South towards downtown gets expensive (up to $400-500/sq. ft.) but prices drop as you head North.

For easy Coler access, look at the neighborhoods along NW 3rd St. West of Walton Blvd.

For Bella Vista, the easiest way I found is to use realtor.com and turn on satellite view. It overlays the Back 40 and Little Sugar trails so you can see the proximity of the property the the nearest trail access point.
 

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My wife's sister and her family live in Rogers and it seems like a pretty nice place. She's also a school teacher in the Rogers district. Mountain Bike Action recently did a story about mtb youth outreach and they visited a school in her district. That's all I got!
 

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Following.

I'm in the process of selling my portion of my company and if all goes well my family and I are planning to purchase a vacation home/ Air BNB in the NW AR area.

My questions is this: Are the homes on the North side of Beaver Lake just too far away from the good trails? I don't mind driving 20 minutes for a ride if I get to live on a lake.
 

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Following.

My questions is this: Are the homes on the North side of Beaver Lake just too far away from the good trails? I don't mind driving 20 minutes for a ride if I get to live on a lake.
IMO yes.

South side of Bella Vista gets you pretty close to Slaughter Pen or Coler without paying downtown Bentonville prices. More greenway connectors opening to connect all that stuff, plus the Wonderland/Blowing Springs/Back 40/Little Sugar systems all in Bella Vista are pretty good on their own.
 

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IMO yes.

South side of Bella Vista gets you pretty close to Slaughter Pen or Coler without paying downtown Bentonville prices. More greenway connectors opening to connect all that stuff, plus the Wonderland/Blowing Springs/Back 40/Little Sugar systems all in Bella Vista are pretty good on their own.
Does anyone have a magic map of the good riding spots in Arkansas? The rowdy spots in particular.

I've googled to no avail.
 

· Elitest thrill junkie
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Does anyone have a magic map of the good riding spots in Arkansas? The rowdy spots in particular.

I've googled to no avail.
Like a website that shows all the trails in an area?
 
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· No Clue Crew
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Not an expert. Recently spent a week riding all the spots in the area. Stayed at buddy’s house in Bella Vista.

In the OP’s situation, I’d choose downtown Bentonville if you can afford it. I’m saying that mostly for the kids. Schools, conveniences and all those super-cool skills areas, Slaughter Pen, etc are literally right there.
 

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I live on the southeast side of Bella Vista, here's my Strava heatmap this year, mostly singletrack but I ride gravel too. There's way more singletrack in Bella Vista than Bentonville (Coler and Slaughter Pen are the "small" systems at the bottom of this map), but it just depends on what you're looking for. I'd say with the addition of the paved Greenway extension from Blowing Springs up Euston to the Metfield pool/skate park that anything along that corridor would be on my list for MTB family friendly areas. Buddy Pegs is located off McNelly and 71 near Wishing Springs (Lowes/Starbucks area) and holds events for the groms like airbag jump sessions etc, pretty central and rideable on greenway between Bentonville and Bella Vista.

1944266
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My wife and I were chatting last night and said that of course downtown would be good, but recognized that the southern portions of Bella Vista are probably ideal when looking at all our goals.

The Strava heat map is perfect and really shows the depth of singletrack developed in BV now. We have always camped at the Blowing Springs RV park and the additional greenway really would make that general area pretty ideal for schools, cost of living, trail access, etc.

While southern AZ has gotten me addicted to riding chunk, the Bentonville area trails are ideal for families. The inclusion of random features, little kickers everywhere, jump lines, etc is paradise for kids (and old kids haha). There is still more rowdy/chunky riding if you just run down to Fayetteville, over to Eureka Springs, or head to Ponca! Excellent trail diversity in the area.

We really appreciate all the support! Planning another trip in October there to camp and ride and that will probably seal the deal. Thanks all!
 

· orthonormal
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I did actually find such a map on an AR tourism page.
While a blast for a couple of days I did find Bentonville proper a bit too smooth overall for my tastes, but great for my family.

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Look into Fayetteville. Mt. Kessler and Centennial Park. I haven't been to either yet but they're supposed to be the places for chunky natural trails.
 

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Look into Fayetteville. Mt. Kessler and Centennial Park. I haven't been to either yet but they're supposed to be the places for chunky natural trails.
I'm going to map out some of the ideal riding spots and see what's a reasonable commute to good trails. I think I'm pretty committed to buying on the Lake though if any good trails are within an easy drive.

Sure, I'd love to bike out of my backdoor. It would be great for my family and increase their participation. It would also be good for AirBNB. But the reality is that I'd get pretty bored riding out of Bentonville proper everyday, based on what I experienced.
 

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I'm going to map out some of the ideal riding spots and see what's a reasonable commute to good trails. I think I'm pretty committed to buying on the Lake though if any good trails are within an easy drive.

Sure, I'd love to bike out of my backdoor. It would be great for my family and increase their participation. It would also be good for AirBNB. But the reality is that I'd get pretty bored riding out of Bentonville proper everyday, based on what I experienced.
Are you talking about buying on Beaver Lake? Definitely not near trails (or neighborhoods, grocery stores etc) for the most part, and in general you can't have a dockhouse kind of setup because the Army Corps of Engineers has the rights up to the 50 year flood plain plus 75' or something crazy. So it's good if you want to see the lake, but if you want to be in it you might as well keep a boat at Prairie Creek or elsewhere closer to towns with MTB stuff.

If all you've ridden in the area is Slaughter Pen in Bentonville you'll be pleasantly surprised as you branch out. Kessler, Centennial, Ponca, Eureka Springs all have different feel.
 

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once they get I49 done and the greenway opened back up, south Bella Vista is just a hop/skip/jump from slaughter pen. It really depends on what you want though. The vibe in Bentonville is cool, but property values in Bella Vista seem a bit lower, so easier to get into at a price point. I have no hope of ever living there, but have checked out real estate from time to time. My wife is too rooted in the Tulsa area. Good thing is we are only about 2 hours away. 10 to 13 miles of professionally built trails (progressive trail design) are starting in Oct in Tulsa, so now folks can come our way to ride (and hit the Gathering Place). Lots of good things starting to happen here based on Bentonville's model. Rogue trails is also working on a project in Tulsa.
 
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