IMBA EPIC Ride - Womble Trail, Arkansas
This trail is used for hiking and biking only. The Forest Service may close down sections during controlled burns. Don't feed the bears.
The Womble is considered the jewel of the Ouachita Mountains as far as trails go. This is by far the most famous trail in the State with folks driving in from all over the country to try this IMBA designated EPIC ride. It is also the key element of the Ouachita Challenge and Womble Classic Mountain Bike Race held each year.
The Womble has featured in prominent MTB magazine articles.
The section near the Highway 27 trailhead can be a little sketchy. Also, take note there are seasonal creek crossings.
Womble Trail is mostly made up of loose rock with occasional areas of hard-packed dirt. There is plenty of climbing and a couple of the climbs are steep and sustained, especially as you get closer to the Ouachita Trail on the North half of the Womble. The downhills are a blast - some of which require a little nerve as the trail skirts in and out of coves hanging just off the side of the mountain.
The trail really offers up a little bit of everything - from nice, mostly flat terrain, to rugged, mountain terrain.
There are quite a few creek crossings, but most are small and easy to cross. The larger creeks have bridges, so they are not too much of an obstacle. Be aware though, there is one creek on the Northern part of the trail that is rather large and can be a bit tricky to cross, especially if there has been rain in the last few days.
The trail also offers up some technical areas, but you don't have to be a trials rider to get over them. Womble features a lot of ridge riding and some areas with steep drop-offs to one side, so if you are squeamish on narrow trails and heights, you may want to walk these sections.
The trail crosses a couple of Highways:
There are not a lot of bailouts along the trail unless you know the back roads and even then, depending on how far you have ridden, you might still have a long ride ahead of you.
If you're wanting to ride this whole trail in one day, we suggest starting at the Highway 27 trailhead of the Ouachita Trail which is about 18 miles North from the Highway 270 and Highway 27 junction in Mount Ida. Riding the trail heading South to North Fork Lake, you'll need a shuttle unless you plan on riding back. By doing it this way, you'll get all the big climbs out of the way at the start!
For a half day adventure, a popular ride is from North Fork Lake to the Highway 27 trailhead of the Womble (not to be confused with the Highway 27 trail of the Ouachita Trail).
If you're looking for a shorter, easier ride along this trail, we recommend starting at the Highway 298 trailhead - Ride East until you come to the third dirt road crossing, and then turn around and head back. If you still want more, keep heading West across Highway 298 and keep riding until you get to the bottom of Mauldin Mountain, then turn around and head back. This little section is perfect to take novice riders out on. It's mostly flat, with a few technical sections involved.
When you come from North Fork Lake and have come over Mauldin Mountain, you will start down a section of the trail that is flat and raised. This used to be the old railroad bed for the Womble Timber Company. There used to be an old town just south of this called... you guessed it: Womble, Arkansas.
some of the information on this page has been sourced from:
52.636 km / 32.707 mi
1,465 m / 4,806 ft
1,356 m / 4,450 ft
387 m / 1,269 ft