Just off of Exit 78 on I-40, the Ouita Coal Company Trailhead is on the north end of the Illinois Bayou Park. Popular with boaters and fishermen, the park includes a paved walking trail, and some of the most fun mountain bike trails you can find right off of a major interstate.
A lollipop of a trail, The Ouita Coal Company Trail is built along a spur of land sandwiched between Arkansas Interstate 40 and the Illinois Bayou section of Lake Dardanelle. 100% singletrack, the trail includes lake views, exposed climbs, rocky, rooty technical sections and a veritable playground of fun built on the skeletons of an 1800s coal mine.
The trail is known as "OCC" to locals - and while very beginner friendly, it has enough variety and challenge to be an entertaining ride for any rider. Be aware though - OCC is an "out and back" trail, and there are few places to bail out once you commit.
OCC rolls through a mix of cedar and hardwood forest creating an excellent wooded corridor in in an urban environment dominated by nearby Russellville, Arkansas. The trail is well built and maintained by the River Valley Chapter of the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists club. OCC drains exceptionally well and can be ridden year around.
Meant to be ridden clockwise - most riders follow the trails like so:
For a shorter, "greatest hits," ride of the best the trail has to offer - try The Sweet Spot
, which is a clockwise rip around the area's outer perimeter.
The Ouita Coal Company trail system gets it name from a coal company that mined the area in the 1800s. Sandwiched between I-40 and Lake Dardanelle, the small spur of land holds remnants of the old mine that mountain bikers have built 9+ miles of trail around and through. Managed by the City of Russellville, and built and maintained by the River Valley Chapter of the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists club, OCC is a hidden MTB gem in the River Valley. Riders passing south through to the Ouachitas (to the Womble or OT) or North to the trail playgrounds in Bentonville, will find OCC to be a great place to stop off and ride.