There’s magic in the music of the
chain working ‘round the sprocket,
the wind whooshing past your ears,
as your pumping pedals keep the beat.
America has fallen in love with cycling, and cyclists have fallen in love with the Arkansas Delta. Who wouldn’t be passionate about a region that offers miles of stunning scenic beauty in a gently rolling landscape that is easily pedaled, yet challenging enough to do your body a world of good?
Whatever kind of ride gets your heart pumping, we’ve got it. Come ride with us!
SHORTCUT TO LIST OF ANNUAL TOURS
CLICK A TAG FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Ride the Ridge
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Plan on 3 or 4 days to complete the full loop, or you can shorten it by cutting across at some point. (You can drag the route shown in Google Maps to create a new itinerary.) This ride offers a variety of breathtaking scenery, from hardwood bottomlands, through bucolic agricultural fields and panoramic views on Crowley’s Ridge.
Start riding in Newport, heading north on Highway 367, which becomes Highway 67, AKA “The Rock ’N’ Roll Highway.” This was The Road that led to juke joints and clubs that hosted the likes of Cash, Orbison, Presley and Twitty and many other greats of rockabilly, blues, gospel and rock ’n’ roll music. Follow the highway into Walnut Ridge, the only town in Arkansas where the Beatles stopped. Don’t miss the Beatles Sculpture, Imagine Gift Shop, the Guitar Walk. Stop in the Lawrence County Library, home to the Argenta Collection, which contains more than 200 photographs of the Beatles.
Continue north to Piggot, where you’ll find the Hemingway-Pfeiffer House and the Hemingway Barn Studio behind it.
Here is where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of “A Farewell to Arms” plus several short stories during the 1920s.
You’ll leave Piggott heading south on Highway 49 to Jonesboro, a growing city whose downtown is filled with gift shops, restaurants and art galleries. Plan to spend extra time here. In Jonesboro, take Highway 226 east to Cash, then continue east on highway 18 back to Newport.
Craighead Forest Park
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Situated on Crowley’s Ridge, Craighead Forest Park offers unique outdoor recreation for a park in the middle of the Mississippi Delta – rolling hills with steep, technical drops, plus miles of cross country riding around a beautiful lake just minutes from Jonesboro. Riders can choose Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert loops. Lots of fast bermed turns, small bridges and short climbs can be found throughout the trail system.
The park has plenty of camping and day-use opportunities for the whole family. Take a break from your ride with some disc golf, fishing or hiking.
The park has also been home to cyclocross and XTERRA events.
Sunken Lands Cultural Roadway
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Among all the Delta cycling routes, this one is special because of the fascinating stops along the way. Start your ride with a visit to the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza. Then head north on Main Street, leaving town and coming to a tee. Turn left on Mid South Road toward Marked Tree. From there, head out on Elm Street (AR-308) to Staton Lane N and continue to the Little River, where you’ll turn right and enter Lepanto, home of “The Painted House” which appeared in the movie based on the John Grisham novel. From there, ride out on Pritchett Road to Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home near Dyess. The home has been beautifully restored to its appearance when Johnny and the Cash family lived there. Ride out of Dyess on County Road 940 headed for Wilson, where Hampson Archeo-
logical Museum State Park preserves the excavated ruins of the Nodena Native American Village (1400-1650 AD). From there, take US-61 westbound to Bassett, where you’ll turn right on AR-181 and head back to Tyronza. The ride is 4 1/2 hours long if you don’t stop, but you’ll want to leave early in the morning and allow plenty of time to see the sights.
Village Creek State Park
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Located on Crowley’s Ridge 15 miles north of Interstate 40 near Wynne, Village Creek State Park offers a system of several interconnecting hiking and mountain biking trails. Challenging creek crossings and steep, short hills will test your skills. The trails are well marked with signs at each intersection.
In addition to camping, the park offers hiking with or without guided tours led by park interpreters, plus equestrian trails, tennis courts, a top-rated golf course, cabins, a public beach. Anglers can fish for bass, bream, catfish, and crappie at the park's two smallish lakes, Lake Austell and Lake Dunn. Launch ramps, boat docks, bait, fishing boats, electric motors, and pedal boats are available late-spring through Labor Day. Visitors can bring their own canoe or kayak for some scenic paddling.
This well-developed park features a visitor center with a theater, a large meeting facility, store and gift shop, plus bicycle rentals.
The Delta Cross
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This is the eastern third of the Little Rock-To-Memphis back-roads grand tour. Start at Village Creek State Park and head south on AR-284 to AR-306, going west to County Rd 361, where you’ll turn right and head south to Forrest City.
From there, head east on old US-70. This was the only highway from Little Rock to Memphis before I-40 was built. At Madison, turn off US-70 and begin a pleasant journey of back roads through scenic countryside bringing you into West Memphis. A few jogs and turns will bring you to Big River Crossing, the longest public pedestrian/bike bridge across the Mississippi River.
Built on the Harahan Bridge, Big River Crossing connects the Main Streets of West Memphis, AR and Memphis, TN, and their revitalized downtown areas. This is the trailhead of Big River Trail for hikers and cyclists, built atop the Mississippi River levee system. When complete, the cross-country trail will extend 70 miles to Marianna.
Delta Heritage Trail
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The first phase of the hiking/biking trail stretches 21 miles from Helena junction to Elaine. When fully completed, the trail will extend from a terminus near Lexa south to Arkansas City for a total length of 84.5 miles. All but 11 miles of the trail will utilize the former Union Pacific railroad right-of-way that was donated in 1992 to Arkansas State Parks for a rail-to-trail conversion.
The trail passes through Delta farmland, small towns and settlements, and some of the most remote bottomland hardwood forests, offering a variety of breathtaking scenic views animated by an abundance of wildlife.
Although you could ride the Delta Heritage Trail numerous times and never tire of its scenic beauty, we’ve created a loop using bicycle-friendly highways that meander near the Mississippi River and skirt the city of Helena.
Delta Shotgun Trail
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Start this mixed-surface ride at Delta Resort and Spa near Tillar and head north on Cty-71. At Richland Baptist Church, turn right on AR-138 and enjoy pastoral countryside punctuated by a couple small bayous. Turn right on AR-1 and pedal south to Rohwer, site of the Japanese American Relocation Center, where up to 8,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII. Only the cemetery remains, but plan to visit the commemorative museum in McGehee.
From Rohwer, continue south on AR-1 to AR-4 and turn left, heading on your way to Arkansas City, where the highway becomes Sprague St. Turn right on Delta Queen Ave. and ride out of town on the continuation of AR-4, taking you toward McGehee. On the outskirts, turn right on AR-169, a shortcut to US-165, where you’ll find famous Hoots BBQ and Steaks. After your meal, continue up the highway until you reach AR-1. Turn right and continue until you reach Cty-71. Turn left and head up the road, back to Delta Resort and Spa, where you can spend the night and try your hand at skeet shooting.
Marion Countryside Ride
The Annual Marion Countryside Ride is held on the first Saturday in April and starts at 9:00 that morning, departing from Courthouse Square. The ride offers three routes designed to appeal to everyone, from the casual rider to the most experienced cyclist. The longest route travels through area farmland to the Big River Crossing, the longest pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River. The Big River Crossing and the excitement of downtown Memphis are only 12 miles from the center of the small town of Marion.
Registration fees are $40 for adults and $20 for youth (aged 12 and under). Early registrants receive bonuses, so check for information and register early!
Tour de Hoot
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This annual event was organized as a fundraiser to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of McGehee. All proceeds are donated to the organization, which offers members help with homework, after-school snacks and numerous other programs that help more than 800 local youth. Tour de Hoot recently joined forces with the 65 Roses Tour (held in Searcy) and the Arkansas Wine Country 100 (held in Altus) to form a trifecta known as the Arkansas Charity Challenge.
The 25-mile route goes to Arkansas City, 60-mile to Dumas, and the 100-miler goes to Arkansas Post National Monument, including levee-top cycling at the Delta Heritage Trail State Park. No matter whether you choose the short, moderate or long routes, your ride will be mostly flat, which makes it popular with cyclists from all over the region.
The registration fee of $40 for any ride includes a swag bag
(with TDH socks!). Register online here.
Pedal the Ridge
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Pedal The Ridge is an annual Arkansas road cycling event spanning Greene and Clay Counties on scenic Crowley's Ridge. Starting at 8:00 in the morning, the ride features a family-friendly short, flat route as well as more challenging mid-length and long courses.
Pedal The Ridge coincides with the Paragould Get DownTown Festival and supports the Greene County Future Fund, which promotes green spaces for family activities and fitness.
The registration fee for any of the three courses is only $35,
and includes a “swag bag,” water bottle, SAG numbers and lunch at The Crossing (also the start and end point of the tour). Additionally, early registrants pay a discounted registration fee and receive souvenir t-shirt. Register online, or you may register on-site, beginning at 7:00 on the morning of the event.
Tour da Delta
Enjoy winding along the rolling hills of the St. Francis National Forest and experience the history of the Civil War when passing Ft. Curtis and other landmarks.. On the 65-mile tour, ride over the Helena Bridge and around Moon Lake. The route comes back over the Helena Bridge and goes out to Storm Creek Lake via the beautiful St. Francis Scenic Byway. On the 30-mile tour, ride out to Storm Creek Lake via the beautiful St. Francis Scenic Byway and then loop around the municipal airport before riding back into downtown Helena. On the Family Fun Ride, pedal to historic Fort Curtis, Estevan Hall, Freeman Park and the Helena River Park.
Registration is $60 for either the long or short tours, or the fun ride. The fee includes admission to the blues festival after the ride and additional swag (while supplies last, so register early!). Register online here.
Arkansas Delta Flatlander
This is actually two rides in one. Riders can choose the 62-mile (metric century) road ride or the 21-mile St. Francis Levee Gravel Grinder – or both, if you’re a hardcore cyclist! The Flatlander starts at Big River Crossing at 8:30 in the morning, skirts the city of West Memphis along the Mississippi River, then wends south to encircle Horseshoe Lake, rejoining the route back to West Memphis and BRX. The gravel grinder, suited for “fat-tire” bicycles, leaves West Memphis at 1:30 in the afternoon, following the new trail atop the St. Francis Levee.
Registration is $35 for either the Flatlander or the gravel grinder. Registrants who sign up for both rides will get a $10 discount and pay a total of $60. Register for this Memphis Hightailers-sponsored event here.
Tour duh Sunken Lands
The product of America's greatest earthquake, the Sunken Lands are home to unique lowland swamps and agricultural open spaces.
Organized in 2009, the tour is more than a bicycle ride. The Tour duh Sunken Lands is a cultural trip through the times that made northeast Arkansas. The registration fee for the tour includes a souvenir T-shirt and admission to regional and international attractions such as the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, the Historic Dyess Colony and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, the Rivervale Inverted Siphons, the Marked Tree Delta Area Museum and the Painted House, seen in the movie adaptation of the John Grisham novel. (A warming soup station will be at this location.)
Come for the ride and hospitality; leave with a new understanding of the Sunken Lands. Register here.
(Early registrants receive a discount.)