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					 Ozark - St. Francis National Forests
 Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail
   Sylamore Ranger District

  U.S. Forest Service Southern Region                      Arkansas                                  August 2006

    Welcome to the Syllamo (Sĭl’-lă-mō) Mountain            total elevation change on the map section of this
Bike Trail. This series of interconnecting loops offers     brochure. Remember to wear your safety gear and
the mountain bike enthusiast 50 miles of trail, most        enjoy the ride!
of it single-track.
                                                            Bad Branch Loop- Don’t let the name fool you! The
The trail name dates back to an infamous resident of        Bad Branch Loop, marked with red blazes is the most
the area in the early 1800s. A Creek Indian named           beginner friendly of the 5 major Syllamo Loops, and
Syllamo was tolerated by the native Shawnees. His           offers riders nearly 12 miles of single track that
favorite hunting grounds were a particular creek            contours ridgelines, and twists and turns through the
drainage that was named for him. Eventually the             forest. This loop is great for riders of all skill levels,
name was anglicized to its current form – Sylamore          and can be ridden at an easy pace by those wanting to
(Sĭl’-ă-mōre). You may have noticed all the tributes        enjoy the scenery, or all out by those who want the
to Syllamo in the area – Sylamore Creek, Sylamore           thrill of speeding around its turns and between the
Hiking Trail, the Sylamore Ranger District, and the         trees. This loop features fairly limited elevation
community of Sylamore.                                      changes on gentle grades, with little technical riding
                                                            skill necessary. The loop passes through the Bad
The Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail is a fee area. The          Branch Trailhead on the west end of the parking lot
fees are kept locally to help maintain the trail and the    (near the restroom). In addition to the main loop,
trailhead facilities. The various loops can be              there are also two “bail out” loops marked “TO
accessed from four different trailheads in addition to      GREEN MTN RD” that allow riders to make a 4 or 8
Blanchard Springs Recreation Area. All trailheads           mile loop ride.
contain a vault toilet, a bulletin board containing fee
information and a map, and a gravel-surfaced parking        The Jack’s Branch Loop, marked with yellow blazes,
for approximately 20 vehicles. Three trailheads are         traverses 14 miles, making it the longest section. It
on Green Mountain Road, which is the first gravel           can be accessed from both the Scrappy Mountain and
road to the West 0.5 miles north of Jack’s Fishing          Bad Branch Trailheads. From the Scrappy Mountain
Resort and one trailhead is on Arkansas Highway 5,          Trailhead, follow the blue and yellow blazes. The
3.5 miles north of Jack’s (see map).                        trail is also accessible from the east end of the Bad
                                                            Branch Trailhead. The north side of this loop (the
The following trail descriptions are listed in order of     section clockwise from the Bad Branch Trailhead to
easiest to most difficult. Several of the trails have a     the intersection of Scrappy Mountain and Jack’s
lot of variety in difficulty—stretches that would be        Branch) is especially beginner friendly.
pleasant for a beginner, and then very technical
stretches where less experienced should walk their          The south side of the loop, counter clockwise from
bike. Trails are marked with various color blazes on        Bad Branch Trailhead to its connection with the
brown fiberglass posts. If you are unsure about your        Scrappy Mountain Loop, contains sections that may
skill level or new to the Syllamo, it is suggested that     be too steep or technical for the beginner. With this
you start with the most beginner friendly trails and        warning, the inexperienced rider willing to walk their
work your way up to the trails that contain the more        bike through these sections can experience many
technical sections. Each trail is broken down by            miles of fun riding.
fitness level, skill level, length, preferred route, and
Ozark-St. Francis National Forests                         U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                              Forest Service
605 West Main Street, Russellville, AR 72801                                  Southern Region
Hunting is also a legitimate use of National Forest        4. Always yield the trail. The steps are simple;
lands. On the Sylamore Ranger District, the heavi-            slow down, establish communication with the
est hunting pressure occurs during the modern gun             people you meet and pass safely. Yielding
deer season in mid-November and the spring turkey             doesn’t always mean stopping and dismounting,
season in April. Mountain biking is permitted year            though sometimes that’s the best idea.
round, but riders are strongly encouraged to wear a
blaze orange vest or jacket during any hunting             5. Never spook animals. It doesn’t matter if it’s a
seasons.                                                      fox, bear, or deer. Give all animals plenty of
                                                              room and try not to startle them.
The surrounding area – Discover one of the most
spectacular and carefully developed caves                  6. Plan ahead. Carry everything you need for a
anywhere, Blanchard Springs Caverns. Blanchard                good ride: a spare tube and a pump, a rain
Springs Visitor Information Center is located just            jacket, basic tools. Know where you’re riding.
minutes away from the trail. Visitors can also enjoy          Wear a helmet.
float fishing and canoeing on the White and Buffalo
Rivers, which border the east and west sides of the        7. Pick up a map. Maps are available at the
district. The Ozark Folk Center State Park in                 Sylamore District Office and at the Blanchard
Mountain View is devoted to preserving the rich               Springs Visitor Information Center.
heritage of life in the Ozark Mountains. Mountain
View is considered the Folk Music Capital of the           Facilities:
World and has numerous motels, restaurants, and            •   50 miles of trail, approximately 90% is single-
shops. Forest Service and private campgrounds are               track.
also available in the immediate area. Also, if you’d
like to park your bike for a day, the Sylamore
                                                           •   4 trailheads, each with parking for 20 vehicles
                                                               and a vault toilet.
Ranger District has over 55 miles of hiking trails.
                                                           •   No overnight camping in trailheads.
Campers registered at Blanchard Springs DO NOT
have to pay an additional fee to ride or hike the trail.   Access Points:
Non campers should park in the day use parking lots        • Arkansas Highway 5: Syllamo Trailhead
(swimming or picnic areas) and are required to pay         • Green Mountain Road: White River Bluff,
the appropriate parking fee. Fees paid to tour               Scrappy Mountain, and Bad Branch Trailheads.
Blanchard Springs Caverns also entitle visitors to           With care this road can be negotiated in almost
park at the campground free-of-charge on the day of          any vehicle, although it is a dirt road and rather
their tour.                                                  rough.

Rules of the Trail:
                                                           • Blanchard Springs Recreation Area
                                                           Fees: Current user fees and regulations are posted
1. Ride on open trails only. If a trail is posted
                                                           at the self-service pay stations in each trailhead.
   with a “No Bikes” sign, don’t ride it.
                                                           For More Information, contact:
2. Control your bicycle. This is particularly
                                                           Sylamore Ranger District
   important when you meet hikers or other cyclists
                                                           1001 E Main
   on the trail. Good balance and proper braking
                                                           Mountain View, AR 72560
   are essential mountain biking skills.
                                                           870-269-3228 M-F
3. Leave no trace. Don’t ride in conditions where
   you will leave evidence of your passing,
                                                           Blanchard Springs Visitor Information Center
   especially on certain soils after a rain. Stay on
                                                           870-757-2213 or toll-free 1-888-757-2246
   existing trails and don’t create new ones. Leave
   what you find and pack out your trash.
Because this south section of trail is so long         to the left at this point will quickly bring you to
without contacting Green Mountain Road, three          one of the most scenic points on the trail: spec-
“Bail Outs” have been marked for those who             tacular views of the White River, its valley, and
start and decide they are not up to the entire trip.   surrounding Ozark Mountains. This portion of
These are simply woods roads that intersect the        the trail is quite technical and beginner level
trail and lead the rider back to Green Mountain        riders may have to walk their bikes, but the
Road. They are marked “TO GREEN MTN                    views are worth the effort. After another 1.5
RD” with an arrow pointing in the correct              miles, crossing Townsend Road and topping the
direction. White aluminum blazes have also             next ridge, the rider will be greeted by a fantas-
been installed along the road to help riders find      tic view of the North Sylamore Creek drainage.
their way. At intersections the top of the blaze       North Sylamore Creek runs through the heart of
will be slanted in the direction you are supposed      the Sylamore Ranger District and is a federally
to go. Once back to Green Mountain Road,               designated Scenic River.
going left will take you back to Bad Branch
Trailhead and right will take you to Scrappy           Scrappy Mountain Loop - 12 miles featuring
Mountain.                                              switch backs down (or up!) steep mountain
                                                       slopes and three creek crossings. This loop is
The Blanchard Spur is a hiking trail contained         easily accessed from both the Syllamo and
mostly within the Jack’s Branch loop. As the           Scrappy Mountain Trailheads and is marked
name implies it is a spur trail that connects the      with blue blazes. Without question, this is the
Jack’s Branch Loop to the Blanchard Springs            toughest of the Syllamo loops both physically
Campground. It is marked with yellow blazes            and technically. The portion of the trail that lies
with a black “S”. The Spur is quite steep and          east of Arkansas Hwy 5 (counter-clockwise
less experienced riders should be especially           from the Syllamo Trailhead) is especially tough
careful when going down hill. The Spur and a           and should only be attempted by advanced
1.6 mile section of the Jack’s Branch Loop serve       riders. One feature of this loop, known as the
double duty as part of a loop hiking trail that        “Stairway to Heaven,” is a stairway constructed
begins in Blanchard Springs Campground. The            out of boulders found nearby that serves as a
hiking trail is blazed with green blazes and hiker     transition from a small bluff to the trail below.
symbols. To avoid confusion, mountain bikers           It should only be ridden by advanced riders.
should only follow the yellow blazes in this
area.                                                  Important Information – The trail crosses AR 5
                                                       two times, as well as several crossings of Forest
Bald Scrappy Loop – 7.3 miles, most easily             Service roads. Please be careful at all road
accessed from the White River Bluff Trailhead          crossings. By shuttling vehicles shorter rides
where the trail practically runs through the           that are all down hill can be made. Those with
parking lot. This loop is marked with orange           roof mounts need to be careful on Green Moun-
blazes on carsonite posts. No matter which             tain Road to avoid overhanging limbs.
direction that you choose to ride this loop, there
will be some fun downhill runs and not so fun          The National Forest - All of the Syllamo
uphill climbs! Much of this trail is suitable for      Mountain Bike Trail is on the Sylamore Ranger
beginner level riders who are willing to walk          District of the Ozark-St. Francis National
their bikes through the more difficult sections.       Forests. For those of you who may not be
                                                       familiar with the National Forests, they are best
White River Bluff Loop – The shortest loop,            described as a working forest. During your visit
(4.5 miles round trip) is also the most scenic.        you may see timber being harvested, prescribed
The trail is marked with green blazes and leaves       fire, and other land management practices.
the White River Bluff Trailhead parking lot
directly opposite the bulletin board. Approxi-
mately .4 miles from the parking area, the actual
3.5 mile loop portion of the trail begins. Going
 Ozark - St. Francis National Forests
 Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail
   Sylamore Ranger District

Fitness Level                                           Description                                           RESPONSIBLE MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDING TIPS
  Moderate       Rolling route with no sustained climbs over 150 feet in length.
Intermediate     Route includes occasional steep pitches 150-300 feet in length and sustained climbs          Travel and recreate with minimum impact
   Difficult     Route has frequent steep pitches with large elevation changes and long difficult sustained
 Skill Level                                            Description                                           Respect the environment and rights of others
  Beginner       Route generally on winding single track packed trails. Basic skills of balance and bike
                 control while climbing or descending gentle slopes are required.                             Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go
Intermediate     Route includes some sections where both ascents and descents may be steep. Riders must
                 know how to maintain balance while riding over a rough surface and how to pick a clean
                 line while descending or climbing rock outcroppings.                                         Allow for future use of the outdoors, leave it better than you
  Advanced       Route includes more frequent sections of very difficult ascents and descents requiring       found it
                 constant bike control to avoid injury. Trail surface requires advanced technical skills to
                 negotiate numerous difficult rocky obstacles.                                                Discover the rewards of responsible recreation

                                                                                                              For more information about responsible Mountain Bike
         Trail               Distance     Elevation        Fitness          Skill           Preferred         Riding visit
                              (mi.)        Change          Level            Level            Route
   Bad Branch Loop              12           880         Intermediate     Beginner       Clockwise (CW)
 Jack’s Branch Loop             14          1280           Difficult    Intermediate    Clockwise (CCW)
  Bald Scrappy Loop             7.3          970         Intermediate   Intermediate          CCW
White River Bluff Loop          4.5         385          Intermediate    Advanced             CCW
Scrappy Mountain Loop           12          1390           Difficult     Advanced              CW
Sylamore Ranger

                                Ozark N.F.            Sylamore     Ridge
                              71                      District
                  Ft. Smith            40                 67        40

                                   N.F.              Little Rock
                                                                      St. Francis
                                                Hot                   N.F.
                                           30   Springs 65

                                71       Arkansas
                                         El Dorado     82

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