By Alex Roberts
Today I’m going to detail for you a 43 mile route that heads south of Fayetteville departing from Farmington. It’s a 50:50 mix of pavement and gravel, and while some of the paved sections are frequented by and well-known to you road riders, the gravel doesn’t see much bike traffic. In fact, most of this gravel doesn’t see much traffic at all. This route will be an introduction to some of the connector roads around Prairie Grove and in the future we’ll use some of these to get out to routes that have a greater percentage of gravel.
There are several great views along this route. The rolling pastures on Meachum are beautiful, and as you drop down Rocky Hill Road towards Prairie Grove Lake Road, the view afforded by the elevation you recently gained is gorgeous. However, my favorite spot for a stop along the route and one whose view never disappoints is at the top of the hill on Hubbard Road looking east-northeast. This view stretches far enough to combine both rolling hills and views of some of the area’s higher elevations.
This route has you starting and finishing at the baseball fields in Farmington. Or hit me up and we can ride it together from my place. Head down 170 and hit the gravel on Garland Mackay. Take that to Illinois Chapel which will be pavement before turning south on Butler. From there you’ll wind along until briefly popping out on Hogeye Road before dropping on gravel down to 265. You’ll ride the pavement for a few miles and use the gravel of Hubbard Road to connect 265 and Cove Creek. A brief stint on Cove Creek will take you to a nice paved climb up Kelly Mountain road before a gravel section with a fun descent back to Prairie Grove Lake Road. From there, head right, cross Boogie Alley, onto Centerpoint Church Road, and then backtrack a bit before turning east to Prairie Grove. You’ll pass through Prairie Grove at mile 27 and can use the gas station for a water/food refill. There is a spigot at the station, but based on how the water tasted last time, it’s definitely worth going in and buying some. You’ll ride just a bit west then north on some flat, fast gravel making your way back to Goose Creek Road then finishing the loop through Farmington. The Ride With GPS route can be found here. You can also print the route cue sheet. An image of the map is below. The blue lines are paved sections and the green are gravel.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding the route. If you’re out there on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you’re likely to see me somewhere along this route. You might even catch me enjoying the view on Hubbard. Stop and say “hi” if so.
For more route information via Ride With GPS or to print route cue sheet click on map.