While visiting Barcelona over the Christmas break we discovered a new hobby for the whole family – eBikes! Yes, while some models can be quite pricey, they are a great way for the entire family to enjoy cycling and allows for our son to keep up with us. Kids can’t pedal as fast and for as long as most adults, and in some cases, the opposite is true, some adults can’t keep up with their kids! eBikes allow you to set a pace and keep up with each other as a family. Since purchasing our bikes, we’ve been exploring different bike trails near us. This past weekend, we headed to Little Rock, Arkansas where we found a true gem – The Arkansas River Trail!
The Arkansas River Trail runs along the Arkansas River in North Little Rock and you can go all the way to Pinnacle State Park. It has multiple access points, so you can easily spend 2-3 days exploring it all. We broke our trip into two days and did two portions of the trail. The first day, we parked at the Clinton Presidential Library and started the trail at the Clinton Bridge. This bridge has been converted into trail as well as a pedestrian bridge for sightseeing in the downtown area and crosses the Arkansas River. There were portions of the trail here that were under construction, so we did have to take a detour route that went down some city streets, but the traffic was not bad and was even safe enough for our 8 year old, who has had limited experience riding his bike in light traffic. The route was clearly marked for the detour as well. Once you got back to the trail, it was smooth sailing. The entire trail is paved! Yes, it’s amazing and ideal if you’re not into the single track mountain bike experience and you just want to cruise along. There are also tons of street cyclists that use the trail as well. The large majority of them were also very friendly offering a compliment on our son’s Mohawk bike helmet and friendly greetings as they passed by. The trail connects several parks as you go down this route, so you do pass through some parking lots here and there, but again there’s not a lot of traffic. There are also rest points, restrooms and playgrounds. Portions of the trail have great views of the river and are very naturalistic with long paths through huge pine trees and very nice green spaces. It was very clean and well-maintained as well. We ended up turning around at the Burns Park boat ramp and headed back to our truck for the night. We estimate we rode about 20 miles total the first day.
The second day, we drove to the boat ramp and picked up the trail from there in Burns Park. This is a really nice park as well and has a golf course, fishing, soccer fields and more. Along this route you pass over two pedestrian bridges and through some great scenery and pine trees. The path is paved and parts of it were quite popular with joggers and walkers, so you do have to be cautious and pass some people here and there. This portion was also very popular with the cyclists as well and I can’t blame them, it’s beautiful here. We passed over the Two Rivers Bridge which takes you to Two Rivers Park. You can tell that part of the path here are old roads that they’ve converted to walking/biking paths. Then we made our way to the Big Dam Bridge. This is a great little place for a pit stop. They have a covered area with benches, water fountains, bike air pump and repair station as well as bathrooms. There’s also horseback riding trails in this area.
Past the Big Dam Bridge (which is really big!), we made our way down a little further into the Two Rivers Park. Again, a very beautiful area with lots of manicured grass, trees, geese, people fishing, and more. The scenery was great. Past this park, the trail continues on, but it does turn into a bike lane along a county road. The traffic wasn’t bad here either, but it is a bike lane, so some children who aren’t experienced in road riding might not want to go this far. It also had great scenery though with neat houses built along the riverfront, little equestrian farms with fancy barns and ponies. It was very enjoyable. We took the bike lane for awhile, but seeing as we had already done 12 miles, we decided it was best to turn around and head back to our truck. They were supposed to have some pretty bad thunderstorms coming through that afternoon and we wanted to make it back and get loaded up before the rain hit, which we managed to do just in the nick of time! About 30 minutes after we got back on the road, it started raining.