|7.5 Miles||Loop System||3.7 Total Climbing Miles||427' Max||2.5% Avg Grade|
|9.25 Climb Index||100% Singletrack||3.5 Total Descending Miles||351' Min||13.1% Max Grade|
Overview: I use to have a review on Mountain Bike Arkansas for this trail some years ago. Back then it was called the Sweet Spot Trail named for the little convenience store that use to be there at the trail head of what was then a motorcycle trail. I had not been out there in years and since then the little store has closed down and the city of Russellville has put a park in the area and made some nice paved trails in the park. They have also turned the old motorcycle trail into a mountain bike trail. They have gone in there and cleaned the trail up and made the climbs a bit more manageable, you can still see where some of the old moto trails went straight up the hill, was pretty tough on the bike when last I rode it. From what I have been able to glean from the internet, this area may have been an old coal mining site in the early 1900's and maybe thus the name. There was a coal company mining in the Russellville area about that time frame.
From the parking lot you will ride down the paved trail for about a half of a mile and then you should see the dirt trail darting off into the woods on your left. The trail eventually turns into single track as it follows a narrow band of land tucked in between I-40 and Lake Dardanelle. A word of warning. On this section you will come to two bridges made of wood, the first is at a pretty steep angle going down watch out for this bridge when it is wet. My years of mountain biking has taught me to test wooden bridges before ridding them if they are wet. This one was like a sheet of ice and if you go down you have a small fall into a ravine. The second bridge though not at an angle can be just as slick when wet so be careful. After the bridges you will follow this narrow stretch of land for a little longer where you will come to a kiosk with a sign in book. This is where the loop begins and you can go right or left as this is a bidirectional trail.
The trail weaves all along this little speck of land. If you are with a group you will probably see each other coming and going. It's a little area of land with a lot of trail and they did a good job at squeezing all this trail in there. The tread is packed dirt with some rocks with an occasional splattering of what looks to me to be shale or maybe its coal dust, so it looks like it might hold well when wet I am just not sure how well it will drain seeing how some sections are in low lying areas.
The terrain out there varies from flat to rolling hills with only a few small climbs. There are some fun little rollers out there that require a little grunt to get up on but they are pretty fast and fun coming back down. As far as big sustained climbs go you won't have too much out there to worry about. The trail is a very tight and twisty affair so watch for handlebar grabbing vines and trees. Now for the technical side of this trail I would have to say it's not overly technical but there are a few places where rocks and roots will try to hinder your forward movement. As for scenic areas along the trail there are a few good shots of Lake Dardanelle as well as the power plant if you consider that scenic. Overall this is a great and long needed addition to the Russellville area trails and makes for a great alternative to Old Post. If I had to compare the two I would have to say they are both about the same, I did feel like this trail was just a bit more technical then Old Post and the only thing if anything I liked more about this trail over Old Post would be the little rollers, I really enjoyed that part of this trail. Both Ouita Coal Company and Old Post are fun trails and if you get the chance to be in the Russellville area and have the time then I suggest hitting both trails. If you are just passing through the area then OCC is going to be in the perfect spot for you to get a quick ride in as it is right off I-40.
Recommended Route: I felt like ridding it clockwise was a much better flow.
Rating: I don't think I would recommend this trail for someone just starting out mostly because of the few steep climbs and a few technical sections out there. Someone who has had a little experience on mountain bike trails and up should enjoy this trail.