If Texas were a country, it would be the 39th largest in the world. So, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the geography and topography of the state has massive variety. Luckily for cyclists, this means you can find just about any kind of terrain and any level of difficulty you are looking for within Texas. From the Mexico border area to all major metro areas you are sure to find an awesome trail in Texas.
1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest Canyon in the United States. What differentiates it from the Grand Canyon is that you can actually ride it! Located about 30 minutes south of Amarillo, TX in the Panhandle, Palo Duro has spectacular views of layers of colorful rock and epic rock formations. One of the most popular trails is the Baby Grand, a 26 mile loop that is nearly all single track. The beginning of the track is the most difficult, with grades as steep as 11% in the first two miles. The other side of the climb is twice as steep! There are 1600’ of climbing and descent over the course of the entire trail, but most of the loop is lightly rolling. Be careful while making the descent. The park requires an $8 entrance fee per person. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes and remember to check the forecast and bring plenty of water as this part of Texas can be particularly scorching during the summer.
2. Big Bend Ranch State Park
Located near the Big Bend National Park along the Texas/Mexico Border, Big Bend Ranch has some of the most difficult mountain biking Texas has to offer. Among these difficult trails is an
IMBA Epic trail - the Fresno - Sauceda Loop. Everything is bigger in Texas, including this nearly 60 mile loop that goes through some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the United States. Given the unforgiving summer heat, it is not recommended to attempt the loop between April and September. While the loop could be done in one massive and truly epic ride, it could also be made into a multi day bike-packing trip. If you opt for the later, make sure to pack in everything you will need - including spare tubes and cash. The loop goes a whopping 3,914' up in altitude and should only be attempted by the most experienced of cyclists. Fresno - Sauceda Loop has a fun mix of about 40% singletrack and 60% creek beds and abandoned 4x4 roads. The singletrack flows beautifully and consists of rocky areas with steep climbs as well as hard pack.
The creek beds can be some of the most technical areas of the ride, so be prepared to take breaks during these sections. The Fresno-Sauceda Loop is definitely an undertaking and it is highly discouraged to attempt this beautiful trail alone.
3. Herman Baker Loop Trail
Located about an hour north of Dallas in Sherman, TX, the Herman Baker loop trail is home to the Binkley Plus Baker Ride. This trail is full of tight twists and turns as well as punchy climbs. The 7.3 mile single track loop has fun wooden features throughout. Between wooden ladders, drops, and
large stretches of berms. If you have any doubt about your ability to perform the required skills on
the loop, you are in luck! There is a practice area in the parking lot with skills of similar scale. The Herman Baker Trail has no signage and is frequented by hikers in both directions. So, make sure to keep an eye out and be respectful to those sharing the trail. Binkley has beautiful scenery and
follows along the shores of a small lake. Due to its proximity to multiple lakes, it can be prone to flooding and it is not recommended to ride when the trail is muddy.
4. Reveille Park Ranch
For those who are unable to make it to the slick rock of Moab, try riding on the granite at Reveille Peak Ranch! Reveille Peak Tour trail is known for having some of the best mountain biking in Texas. Between technical single track, amazing views of the hill country, and great gravity runs, the tour is
unique. In Burnette, TX, Reveille Peak Ranch is about an hour northwest of Austin. There are numerous options for adding on additional extensions and loops depending on your energy level and preferred level of difficulty. As an added bonus, Spider Mountain Bike Park - Texas’s first and only lift
serve mountain bike park - is just around the corner from the Ranch. Camping spaces are available for those who wish to take advantage of all the area has to offer. Due to a large number of racing events on the property, riding on weekdays is only available by appointment. Check out RPRTexas.com well in advance to make sure there are no events or closures during your desired dates and to book weekend passes ($10/person/day for adults; $5/person/day for kids).
5. Cypress Creek Trail
Cypress Creek Trail is a 9.4 mile mix of technical riding and flowy tracks located in the Greater Houston Area. Considering the terrain of the area - almost completely flat - the trail is a rather diverse one. Cypress Creek is closed under muddy conditions. Make sure to check the Facebook page (facebook.com/groups/CCMTB/) in advance to ensure it is open for business! Locals have designed the trail to make it as fun and technical as possible. They’ve included lots of features
(armoring hills with logs, pavers, boardwalks, and wooden drops) and the trail can feel like a different ride every time. Cypress Creek is located near the 100 Acre Preserve and the trail is integrated into this beautiful landscape with parts going through forested wetland. The best place to
park is 14234 W. Cypress Forest Dr., 77070, but if the lot is full you can park anywhere along the empty lots of Glenway. Make sure to pay attention to the trail! Although it is 95% singletrack, signage is lacking and it is not uncommon to meet cyclists going the wrong way.