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 www.aokforests.com U.S. Department of Agriculture
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.
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 http://www.treadlightly.org
(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
Ozark N.F. Sylamore Ridge
Ft. Smith 40 67 40
N.F. Little Rock
30 Springs 65
El Dorado 82