If "variety is the spice of life," then the Syllamo Trails are pretty spicy! Sweet flowing singletrack, exposed technical terrain, and awesome views await in this remote Arkansas setting.
The various loops can be accessed from four different trailheads as well as Blanchard Springs Recreation Area and Campground. Three trailheads are on Green Mountain Road, the fourth is on AR Highway 5 North.
There are multiple trailheads available to begin this ride. How much you complete is up to you. Staying at Branchard Springs Campground may be a good strategy for those endeavoring to ride all 50 miles.
From the campground, start on Jack's Branch Loop Spur
and take it until you reach Jack's Branch Loop
. It is recommended to head counter-clockwise from here. Eventually, you'll encounter the Scrappy Mountain Loop
. This loop is recommended to ride in the clockwise direction and has blue markers. It is said to be one of the more technical loops with frequent steep pitches with large elevation changes and long, difficult, sustained climbs. It includes more frequent sections of very difficult ascents and descents requiring constant bike control to avoid injury. The trail surface requires advanced technical skills to negotiate numerous difficult rocky obstacles.
The Bald Scrappy Loop
is marked in orange and is best ridden counter-clockwise. This loop intersects the White River Bluff Trailhead where the White River Bluff Loop
can be accessed. The White River Bluff Loop
is marked in green. It doesn't have a lot of elevation gain, but the climbs can be tough and technical. Most of the technical, rocky sections are by the river overlooks. Besides the few technical sections, this trail is quick and flows well when clear of down trees. Upon completing this smaller loop, turn left (CCW) back onto the Bald Scrappy Loop
. Turn left when you re-encounter the Scrappy Mountain Loop
. It will take you either back toward the campground or onto more of the trail system.
Next, you'll encounter Jack's Branch Loop
on your left, twice. The second left will let you continue on your EPIC adventure. The first left takes you back the way you came from the campground. Assuming you continue to take the loop counter-clockwise, your next big decision will be when you arrive at Bad Branch Loop
. If you are all in it to win it, then follow the red trail markers in the clockwise direction. Bad Branch is a 12-mile loop, but has two connectors that can be used to shorten the loop to 4 or 8 miles. It has just under 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and is the least technical of all the loops at Syllamo.
After completing Bad Branch Loop
, it is time to head back toward the campground on Jack's Branch Loop
. Don't forget to turn right onto Jack's Branch Loop Spur
when you get there. Otherwise, you'll be headed out on another epic adventure.
Disclaimer: This is one of many routes that can be taken. There are parking areas throughout the trail system that create many route options for whatever ambitions you may feel. Enjoy!