Mountain bikers throughout the state ,from novices to experts,are increasingly pedaling the numerous trails found at more than 40 Texas state parks.
From beach and woodland road rides to hair-curling downhill descents in mountain and Hill Country parks, state parks from El Paso to Mustang Island offer bikers of all skill levels a multitude of diverse mountain biking adventures.
“Many trails in Texas state parks provide great opportunities for all levels of mountain-bike riders to test and develop their biking skills, get a good workout, refresh their mind and spirits, spend family and friend time together and experience the great outdoors,” says avid mountain biker Dan Sholly, deputy director of Texas state parks. “Big Bend Ranch State Park, in particular, is developing into the mountain-biking Mecca of Texas.”
State park biking trails range in length from an easy, two-mile, multiuse trail at Mexia’s Fort Parker State Park Site to more than 200 miles of diverse trails snaking through desert mountains and canyons at 310,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park just outside of Presidio. Bring your own bike or rent one at the park’s Visitors Center.
Big Bend Ranch State Park, home to the International Biking Association’s only Epic Ride in Texas, ranks among the nation’s top mountain-biking destinations. The ultra-challenging Fresno-Sauceda Loop, which passes by a number of archeological and historical sites, offers a blend of single-track and 4X4 roads with a number of steep climbs and descents. The ride to “The Other Side of Nowhere” is just one of dozens of rides on single-track, double-track and old, rugged 4X4 ranch roads in what remains a truly wild park with plenty of wide-open spaces.
Two other West Texas parks – El Paso’s Franklin Mountains and San Angelo state parks — offer more than 50 miles of mountain biking trails each with trails suited to riders with Level 1 (Beginner), Level 2 (Intermediate) and Level 3 (Experienced) skills.
Mountain bikers new to the sport might consider hitting the flat, sometimes paved bike trails at state parks as Brazos Bend, Fairfield Lake and South Llano River State Park. Bikers may want to seek out one of the rails-to-trails tracks at Caprock Canyons and Lake Mineral Wells, or scenic lakeside trails along the 10-mile Ray Roberts Lake Greenbelt Corridor, the 10-mile Fort Richardson Lost Creek Trailway, or the 13-mile Lake Somerville Trailway. The outstanding trail system at Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas draws legions of mountain bikers, too.
Pick up a copy of Bike Texas brochure on sale at a number of state parks or download a PDF version of the brochures at: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_k0700_0715.pdf.
You also can find a wealth of information about mountain biking destinations and resources by visiting the mountain biking pages on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. And, there are now close to 20 short videos showcasing mountain bike opportunities at different Texas state park on TPWD’s YouTube Channel.