Mt. Kessler Full Tour

 19 votes

9.7 Miles 15.6 Kilometers



1,003' 306 m


-1,003' -306 m


1,794' 547 m


1,260' 384 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (10°)



Backcountry style singletrack close to Fayetteville.

Leslie Kehmeier


A signed waiver must be submitted at the trailhead before riding.
If you're looking for a backcountry trail experience but don't want to go too far out of Fayetteville, check out the trails on Mt Kessler. More fit and experienced riders will find technical riding with climbs/descents and tight singletrack.

Need to Know

Parking is not available at the trailhead. Your best option is to park at the old smokehouse (Fayettechill building) and ride up the road past the Sharp house.


Ride up the road from the old smokehouse and look for the Mt Kessler trailhead on the right. It's marked by a big kiosk with a sign in sheet. Pedal through the gate and start a short but steep climb up Rock City. The grade mellows out but is still steady. On the approach to the gigantic boulders you get a feel for the rocky and rooty terrain of Mt Kessler.

You'll warm up fast with some technical moves over rocks. Enjoy the quick slot through the big boulders and then navigate a quick uphill rock garden before climbing to eaier singletrack. From here, you get a respite of easy pedaling through a more open and wide corridor. This section ends with a sharp left going steeply uphill. Settle in on more rocks and roots to get to the Fire Pit, the main intersection on the top of the mountain.

Follow the signs for Trent and head south on Trent. You'll have a chance to catch your breath here as you cruise on this relatively flat trail through tall trees and grassy understory.

Stay left to start a moderately technical descent on Crazy Mary down the east side of Mt Kessler. The first part of the downhill a bit chattery over broken rocks and steps with plenty of roots. The trail eventually transitions to shorts up and downs, making its way to a scenic overlook.

Stop to take a peek out of the tree canopy and then continue the route across flatter terrain, staying left and then right at two unmarked intersections. Stay left at the signed intersection to start the climb up Serpentine.

Settle in for a steady pedal through a series of easy climbing switchbacks back up to the Fire Pit.

Head towards Egg-Beater and Western Myth, staying right and descending to Spellbound, one of the highlights of the ride.

Once you finish the descent from Western Myth you'll get to a major cliff band. The route runs along the top of a big cliff and below a smaller cliff. There are short technical sections over rocks and through trees intermixed with quick sections of singletrack. Remember to stop once in a while to take in some of the views out to the west.

At the far south end, Spellbound starts the big climb back up to Trent. Be sure to catch Wino, a spur out and back to an old wine cellar.

At the top, retrace your steps across Trent to the Fire Pit. To finish the ride descend Rock City, enjoying a steady downhill through unique and beautiful terrain.


Rate Featured Ride


4.3 from 19 votes

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins


Dec 9, 2016
Bob Ficca
Excellent Trail-a must do 10.1mi
Nov 25, 2016
Lorinda Putter
Beautiful! 10.2mi
Oct 14, 2016
Matt Welton
Awesome trail. Followed directions as described on site. Finally some gnar!
Sep 5, 2016
Matthew Cortez
Technical with a good bit of uphill climbs
Aug 30, 2016
Vincent Edwards
Great riding with lots of old-school tech and tight twisty spots. No lack of rocks here- beautiful views reward some of the harder climbs. 7mi
Jul 31, 2015
JohnMark Russell
Aug 15, 2014
Adam Leslie

Stewarded By

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 19 votes


in Mt. Kessler


  4.3 from 19 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Mt. Kessler


in Arkansas


663 Views Last Month
20,495 Since May 13, 2014
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



Getting forecast...

One of the heaviest trails I have ever ridden. Really enjoyed the experience! Nov 26, 2016

Be aware that as of Sprint 2017, the trailhead at Smokehouse is CLOSED TO MOUNTAIN BIKES. Do not enter from there! You must go around to Kessler Regional Mountain Park, and ride up Judge Cummings up to the gravel road, then take that to the top of the mountain. Apr 15, 2017

Technical ride, natural material trail surface, unlike around Bentonville trails (gravel covered). After a rain, best to look elsewhere. Several days after rain trail was still muddy and slick, riders could damage the trail. Some of these trails remind me of the technical level of many trails in Utah or Colorado. Much harder than most in the NW Arkansas area. Apr 15, 2017

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter