Kessler Mountain Regional Park
Kessler Mountain Regional Park in southwest Fayetteville comprises some 620 acres on and around historic Kessler Mountain, which reaches 1,856 feet above sealevel. The park serves as a regional sports park, with numerous soccer and baseball fields, a nearly 400-acre nature preserve, and as a popular area for mountain-bikers and hikers, with more than ten miles of natural-surface trails.
Athletic Facilities and Park
The athletic facilities at Kessler are suitable for tournaments and special events, and include:
- six lighted soccer fields
- four lighted baseball fields
- two restroom/concession buildings
There is a large playground near the park’s entrance, generously funded by the Rotary Club of Fayetteville.
Future construction phases at Kessler Mountain could include four additional baseball fields, softball fields, a new pavilion, and additional trails. Follow ongoing Kessler Mountain Park projects here.
Kessler Mountain Nature Preserve
In 2014 an additional 387 acres of pristine Ozark forest adjoining the Regional Park on Kessler Mountain was acquired by the City as a nature preserve and outdoor recreation area. This acquisition was made possible with a generous grant of $1.5 million from the Walton Family Foundation, and an agreement with the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association to assist in raising a portion of the remaining funds and to create a conservation easement to assist with the protection and management of the property.
The park terrain includes open meadows, rolling hills, scenic bluffs, and a mature forest featuring native Ozark oaks, hickories, dogwoods, and redbuds. Two intermittent streams flow through the property, providing an invaluable supply of water for the wildlife residing on the site. This land is now preserved as natural playground for outdoor recreation and a valuable environment for appreciating and learning about our native flora and fauna.
Kessler Mountain Trails
Kessler Mountain was a favorite spot for mountain bikers for more than 15 years prior to its acquisition by the City of Fayetteville. During that time, volunteers, working with permission of the landowners, built a system of expert-level biking trails throughout the property. The new trails incorporate portions of these original trails, and also provide beginner and intermediate-level loops for less-experienced mountain bikers. Through strategic and sustainable design, this plan was developed to address the needs of all users; hikers, bikers, nature enthusiasts, trail runners, groups, and users with special needs.
Kessler Mountain’s natural-surface trails comprise approximately 13 miles and range from the Trent Trail, rated Easy, to Difficult and Very Difficult mountain bike trails. Cato Springs Trail, a 12-foot-wide concrete trail, connects to the Razorback Regional Greenway.
Rock City Trail
The Rock City Trail is located on private property just outside the boundary of Kessler Mountain Regional Park. This trail is not open for public access. Limited access is allowed only with written permission from the Kessler Mountain Greenways Stewardship Committee. Please visit http://www.mtkesslergreenways.com/index.html for details and to submit an application for access.
Kessler Mountain is named for the family who purchased 13 acres at its peak in 1866: Philip and Kate Kessler and their daughter Clara. The Kesslers built a home and wine cellar on the property and started what is likely the first winery in the state of Arkansas, complete with vineyard. They also operated Kessler’s Wine Hall on West Center Street in Fayetteville, serving “Kessler’s celebrated wines and peach and apple brandies...drinks ten cents or three for twenty-five cents.” The family home is no longer standing, but the stone wine cellar and well are still visible on the property.