10 Parks with Pedal Power
The best parks in Texas to explore on two wheels.
By Dale Blasingame
At Bastrop State Park there's a challenging 12-mile pedal through the rolling hills of the recovering Lost Pines that ends up at Buescher State Park. Here are a few of the other best parks in Texas to explore on two wheels.
Great fall color, a spring-fed lake, a serene pine forest and 10 miles of biking trails make this park popular with mountain bikers. Well-marked, varied trails (mostly single-track, rarely overcrowded) offer plenty of climbs and descents.
Practically in the heart of El Paso, you'll find some of the most rugged trails in Texas. There are more than 100 miles of trails, from easy-to-pedal jeep roads to steep single-track. Carry water and a cellphone and bring a friend - it's remote.
The park's beloved Greenbelt Corridor spans 20 miles through the shady woods along the Elm Fork Branch of the Trinity River, from Lake Lewisville to the Ray Roberts dam. Other areas of the park feature 23 miles of multi-use trails.
Twenty-one miles of trails await you, around the lake and through the hardwood forest. The Elm Lake Loop affords the best opportunity to see the park's amazing array of wildlife on your ride, including alligators, river otters, bobcats and more than 300 bird species.
Mountain bikers designed this trail for themselves, so it's no surprise that the twists and turns and climbs and descents of the 12-mile DORBA (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) Trail are considered some of the state's best. Ride the trails clockwise; hikers do the opposite.
The breathtaking second-largest canyon in the country offers a biking-only trail (Capitol Peak Trail). The trail to the landmark Lighthouse formation ends with a steep hike, and the 15-mile Palo Duro Canyon Cruise through the park on the paved road includes an uphill ride back to the park entrance.
This birder's paradise is mostly smooth sailing on paved roads. The wildlife viewing makes it a "bucket list" kind of excursion for visitors from around the world. Bike with a ranger (guided tour program) on Thursday mornings.
This mountain biking haven on the northwest side of San Antonio offers extensive trails in the Backcountry for a rocky challenge. The Frontcountry has trails suitable for beginners or for a warm-up ride. The park is open Friday through Monday.
The Lake Mineral Wells Trailway is a 20-mile stretch of reclaimed railroad bed that's now a gently curving, relatively flat trail connecting Weatherford and Mineral Wells. Another 13 miles of biking trails can be found inside the park; hikers and equestrians share these trails with you.
If you're made of tough stuff, head west for 200+ miles of rocky trails at Big Bend Ranch. Where else can you have the desert to yourself? The park is home to the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest and to one of the only two International Mountain Bicycling Association "Epic" rides in Texas.
» Like this story? If you enjoy reading articles like this, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.