Thursday, 19 June, 2003

Mountain Biking at Lake Leatherwood

Lake Leatherwood is a 1,600-acre municipal park a few miles east of Eureka Springs.  I learned about it yesterday when somebody drove by while I was cranking up the hill here in town and asked if I was looking for some trails.

The park has about 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, well maintained but not excessively groomed.  That means that low-hanging branches and impassable barriers are cleared, but smallish rocks and tree trunks that provide moderate challenge to hikers or mountain bikers are left alone.

The park brochure separates the trails into "valley" and "ridge" trails, and gives the ridge trails a slightly more difficult rating.  The ridge trails, what I saw of them, had more hills, but were less technically difficult than the valley trails.  Both were enjoyable, though, and the park was very sparsely populated.  I ran across two other mountain bikers and two people hiking in the entire two hours I was out there.

The park brochure also warns of ticks and other biting insects and recommends that you use insect repellent in spring and summer.  Heed the warnings.  I brushed uncounted ticks off my body and clothing while I was on the trail, and later this afternoon had to remove a half dozen of the things while I was in the shower.