A gravel ride through the Arkansas Delta
A gravel ride through the Arkansas Delta

Arkansas Graveler is epic multi-day ride and festival

If you have a love for cycling, put the 2024 Arkansas Graveler event on your bucket list for an unforgettable adventure on two wheels.

This 336-mile gravel ride will take place over six days starting June 23. The route winds through the Ozark Mountains and Delta river bottoms of northern Arkansas with riders overnighting in designated communities.

But make no mistake, the Arkansas Graveler is more than a ride.

Event director Scotti Lechuga describes it as a “gravel festival” because, during the event, riders will also experience the homegrown hospitality of rural Arkansas communities through locally sourced cuisine, entertainment, and off-the-bike outdoor recreational opportunities. Lechuga is a former professional cyclist and winner of the Arkansas High Country race in 2021.

Arkansas is a respected destination for gravel cycling with events like the Arkansas High Country Race, the Big Sugar Classic, the Birdeye Gravel Festival, Highlands Gravel Classic and The Rule of 3 rides attracting cyclists from across the country. The Arkansas Graveler is the icing on the cake.

The Ride

The Arkansas Graveler will start at The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, in the northwest corner of the state, and end at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, in the northeast corner of the state. Along the route, cyclists will travel arduous rural roads full of beautiful backroad scenery.

The Ozarks' hills are not easy. The route has more than 24,000 feet of elevation gain. Some of the challenging terrain on this epic ride through the Ozark Mountains can also be experienced on the Arkansas High Country Route and the Ozark Grinder.

Participants are encouraged to take their time, remember it is a tour instead of a race, and enjoy the scenic beauty and small-town culture. Numerous rest stops will be provided along the route, and vehicles will support struggling riders.

Daily ride distances vary between 40-70 miles depending on the difficulty of the terrain, which changes from the Ozark Mountains to the Delta flatlands. The route is about 50/50 paved and gravel. Gravel bikes are best suited for this ride, although mountain bikes are welcome. Road bikes would be very difficult on the gravel portions of the route. E-bikes are encouraged and charging will be available at nightly stops.

The event will take place rain or shine. Communities have backup plans for overnighting participants in inclement weather. There are also plans to keep people safe in the event of severe weather.

Need a training plan? Click here for information on a plan that starts Feb. 4; there is a cost for the multi-week plan.

Day 1 — Fayetteville (UA) to Oark (55 miles)
Day 2 — Oark to Jasper (56 miles)
Day 3 — Jasper to Marshall (55 miles)
Day 4 — Marshall to Mountain View (51 miles)
Day 5 — Mountain View to Cave City (49 miles)
Day 6 — Cave City to Jonesboro (ASU) (70 miles)

The Festivities

Community stops along the route include Fayetteville, Oark, Jasper, Marshall, Mountain View, Cave City and Jonesboro. Iconic Arkansas places will play host to the crowd of cyclists, including a campground along the Mulberry River at Byrd’s Adventure Center in Ozark, Buffalo River Country in Jasper, Kenda’s Drive-in Theater in Marshall and Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View.

Cyclists will be rewarded each night with locally sourced, family-style dinners as well as breakfast before the next morning’s ride. An event chef has been hired to feed people in a moving festival format. Some of the evening refreshments will include Arkansas craft beer and a tasting from Delta Dirt Distillery, a family-owned craft distillery located on rich farmland in the Arkansas Delta. The distillery currently serves sweet potato vodka and gin with plans to release a bourbon in the near future.

In addition to food, each night’s community stay will include off-the-bike recreation experiences like fishing and archery and live music. Each day, teams will transport your belongings and campsite to the next host city for a seamless experience. Riders can then concentrate on enjoying the ride and take time to stop at farm stands, crystal clear water holes, or other locales and overlooks that spark an interest.

Founded by the Ozark Foundation, the event entry fee also includes shuttle service from Jonesboro back to the start location in Fayetteville. The entry fee includes a lot of perks for this multi-faceted adventure.

Register Now

If you can’t ride the whole adventure, there is a “Mini Graveler” allowing riders to take part in the first day of the ride only. Organizers anticipate approximately 400 cyclists from around the world will participate. Will you be one of them?

Visit Arkansasgraveler.com. for details and to register for the ride.