Friday, May 19, 2017

A Cool 16.3 Mile Bike Loop on the Arkansas River Trail…

We added more days to our stay at Downtown Riverside RV Park in Little Rock Arkansas in order to have the  time to do a few more things I had my eye on. One excursion I really wanted to do was the 16.3 mile bike loop along the Arkansas River called the Arkansas River Trail. The website described this loop from the Clinton Presidential Bridge to the Big Dam Bridge and back as a 15.6 mile loop but Sharon’s Fitbit and Map My Ride disagreed.


There were two challenges with us taking this particular bike ride. First neither of us have been riding our bikes much lately and we were unsure how saddle worthy we might be. Secondarily there were some stiff south winds this day which meant we would be riding into some strong headwinds somewhere along the trail. The good news was that since it is a river trail it is basically flat the entire length of the way. So off we went…


We started from our park in North Little Rock and made our way along the northside of the river. One interesting thing we noticed was a submarine docked alongside the banks of the Arkansas River, the USS Razorback. While we didn’t tour it we did find it interesting.


Next up was the area known as the Big Rock Quarry. This geological formation is what inspired the region’s name. French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bernard de la Harpe first noted a large outcropping of rock along the river so he named the 200-foot bluff “Le Rocher Français” (now known as Big Rock). The smaller outcropping on the south bank was named “Le Petit Rocher” (or the Little Rock). An interesting history tidbit…


We continued along the north shore mostly in wooded lands alongside the river. It was a very pleasant bike ride with the wind not bothering us too much. We took delight in the spring green and the rock formations around us as we rode this stretch of the trail. Soon the Big Dam Bridge came into view. This is the longest U.S. pedestrian/bike bridge at 4,226 feet. It spans the Arkansas River atop the Murray Dam. It also connects North Little Rock to Little Rock Arkansas.


Once across the Big Dam Bridge we hit some headwinds and even worse this side of the river was more open so there was nothing to block the winds. We plugged along and stopped when we saw a few young bucks in velvet at the edge of the woods. The deer didn’t seem to care about us so we watched them for a while as we rested.


Shortly thereafter we passed the International Headquarters for Tae Kwon Do. We stopped for another break as our legs were starting to feel the churning of the pedals into the relentless wind. Finally we reached downtown Little Rock and the Rivermarket district.. We passed several of the historic buildings downtown and then rode past the Rivermarket Amphitheater.


On to the home stretch we finally caught a glimpse of the Clinton Library meaning the Clinton Bridge was nearby. Crossing the Clinton bridge was our last hurdle as we climbed the slight incline of the bridge…. cresting it and finally coasting down the other side back to our park. Boy were we tired…. but not tired enough to get off the bikes and walk back over the bridge into town to try out the Blue Paddle Nano Brewery. Although they weren't our favorite beers we enjoyed the laid back vibe of the place.after our grueling, but totally fun bike ride…

NOTE: We have left Little Rock Arkansas and made a monumental move for us to Red Bay Alabama, more on that later…


  1. That was a good bike ride and to end it with a cold brew sounds about perfect to me. Good Luck at Red Bay.

  2. Good luck in Red Bay. Should be interesting. I know what you mean about getting back in the saddle after time off.

  3. Looks like a great ride! Nice that you got to see a few young bucks on the ride too. Kevin and I will be on the lookout for some good used bikes when we head south in the fall. Kevin's is getting pretty old and not in as good a shape as it once was, plus his is just a touring bike and the one I have was a cheap used bike that we bought in Quartzsite a few years ago.

  4. I find flat riding more tiring than those with hills. What a good day. Bet you slept well that night.

  5. Looks like a great ride -- well, except for the headwind. We love biking in towns on interesting trails (Austin and Boise come to mind).