Gotta love the Ouachita National Forest! Here’s another route that leaves from the Lake Sylvia Campground parking lot — just 45 minutes from Little Rock off Highway 9/10. It’s kind of a “greatest hits” route with varied terrain and a campsite that rivals “the perfect campsite.”

Harrison, one of the “bike shop guys,” and expert, handcrafted frame-bag artist, offered to expand our horizons by suggesting a new route. He had been to this campsite once before, “AKA Camp Harrison,” but traveled there by car. Thanks to Google Maps he was able to piece together a promising path for adventurous bikepackers. Unlike the other Sylvia rides listed on this site, this one explores the northern part of the Ouachita NF. Be warned that logging is more active in this area than on the other Sylvia routes.

Highlights include a number of hike-a-bike stream crossings, a nicely graded downhill about 15 miles in (bummer is that you have to go back up this hill on the way back), a serious mud-fest somewhere around mile 30 — fat bikers will love it — “normal” bikers might not, and a fun double-track finish. The crown jewel of the ride, of course, is the campsite itself. It’s perched right on the edge of a bluff overlooking a secluded section of the South Fourche la Fave River. There is a fire ring and plenty of space for camping.

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