BY ERIK LEAMON
SPECIAL TO THE LOG CABIN
Cadron Settlement Park, located at the end of Hwy 319, is one of Conway’s best kept secrets.
For years the park saw a decline in usage, but in recent years, the park is on the up and up. This is partly due to the working hands of local volunteers, law enforcement and regular trail usage by local mountain bikers.
A joint effort began two years ago to clean up the park in two ways: Volunteers began to build, connect and maintain trails at Cadron, while law enforcement began to regularly patrol the area for suspicious activity. Both efforts have worked well to resurrect this struggling green space into the asset it is today.
Cadron contains a total of five to six miles of trail that is open to hiking and mountain biking.
The trails may be used in either direction but are most commonly used in a clockwise direction. The trailhead can be found across from the parking area as you enter the park. There are two trail options of varying difficulty. The yellow, more advanced trail, forms an outer loop for a total of five miles, while the orange trail forms the inner loop for a total of about 1.5 miles. There are small diamond shaped metal indicators located throughout the park to show which trail you are on. These two trails overlap at times with turns for the yellow trail marked with a small yellow “MTB” sign.
The yellow trail is challenging and should only be undertaken by intermediate to experienced riders. There are several quick descents followed almost immediately by equal ascents. The first mile of the trail is by far the most technical section. The trail surface is hard packed dirt with a few rock gardens.
The orange trail is much more suitable for beginner riders. It does not drop off into the deeper ravines, but does have a few manageable climbs to get the heart pumping on your way up to the pavilion. The trail surface is pea gravel and is mostly smooth with interspersed rock.
There are bathroom facilities located at the parking area and in the picnic area at the top of the hill.
Do not plan on filling up your water bottles at the park; there is no running water on hand at Cadron. The pavilion at the top of the hill gives one of the best views in Conway and is a great reward for making it through the toughest sections of both trails.
If you’ve never visited Cadron, or haven’t been out in quite some time, make a point to load up your bikes and enjoy some playtime in the woods.
(Erik Leamon is owner of The Ride and serves on the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board. For more information about how you can become involved with cycling in Conway, visit www.cycleconway.org)