Twenty years ago, the small, Northwest Arkansas city was relatively unknown. Today, it’s the mountain biking capital of the world.

By Jack Foersterling, PeopleForBikes’ copywriter + editor

The Secret Behind Bentonville’s Success

The Masterpiece in Bentonville, AR | Photo courtesy Stevie Emmons

Bentonville, Arkansas, tucked in the heart of the Ozarks in the northwest corner of the state, is probably most well known as the birthplace of Walmart. Over the last 15 years, however, thanks in large part to investments made by the Walmart-founding Walton family, the city has dubbed itself the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World.”

Some die-hard mountain bike enthusiasts may throw up their arms at that statement and say, “What about Moab, Whistler or (insert said enthusiast’s favorite local trails here)?!,” but those who have visited Bentonville can attest that the city has truly done an incredible job of growing a strong community of dedicated cyclists, all within recent memory.

For 2022, Bentonville ranked #1 in Community Score in PeopleForBikes’ annual City Ratings. The program, which evaluates, identifies and compares great places for biking, determines a city’s score by combining its Network Score, measuring the quality of a city’s bike network, and its Community Score, measuring how people feel about biking in their city. While the Network Score may be worth 80% of a city’s overall rating, the Community Score offers an important look into understanding local resident’s perceptions of bicycling where they live, work and play.