September 11, 2011 by wcobserver
By Tim V Scott
Two hundred-year floods within a month can cause a lot of devastation. As we all know, most of Northwest Arkansas experienced that last spring. Devil’s Den was no exception. Everyone is aware of the damage to Lake Devil and the suspension bridge, but there was also damage to several of the park’s trails, especially the Fossil Flats Trail.
The Fossil Flats Trail is one of the state’s first mountain bike trails. It is what you refer to as a stacked loop. It contained three loops, the Outlaw Loop which is three miles, the Sawmill Loop which adds an extra mile and Racer’s Hill which extents it one more mile. So the total you could ride would be approximately five miles.
The spring flood washed away about 2500 feet of Outlaw Loop. The lost portion of the trail was a really nice section that followed along Lee Creek. To make the trail viable, a re-route was necessary. We were lucky enough to receive FEMA funds to build the new trail. Instead of keeping it next to the creek, we moved it one to two benches up.
Progressive Trail Design from Fayetteville was awarded the bid and construction began on August 22, by the time this article is published the trail will be completed. The new trail will have a different complexity than the old. Instead of being next to the water, it will have sweeping vistas that dive into dense woods. The trail will also pass through three different water sheds which will add variety to your ride or hike. The new path will be dramatic year round, but in late fall the views will be spectacular.
While the Fossil Flat Trail was originally built as a mountain bike trail, it is also a superb hiking trail. During the week there is not a lot of traffic on that trail, and you can enjoy a relatively quiet hike along Lee Creek.
Biking or hiking, you will be well rewarded if you check out the new addition to the Fossil Flats Trail.