With its unparalleled scenery, rocky canyons, and varying elevations, it’s no wonder that Texas has become one of the most popular states in the country for mountain biking.
From epic rides that take you through archaeological and geological ancient history to grueling climbs up mountains and flowy downhills through canyons, Texas MTB trails have much to offer.
Texas’ most popular trails can be found near the state’s major metropolitan areas of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin.
You’ll find a thriving mountain biking community in each. Trails in the more remote western parts of the state, meanwhile, allow you to experience a true wilderness experience.
And, unlike other parts of the country, Texas experiences generally mild winters, allowing for a much longer mountain biking season than in colder climates.
Here are 10 of the best mountain bike trails in Texas.
1. Flat Rock Ranch, Comfort
Being that we’re talking about Texas, should it really come as a surprise that one of the best mountain biking trails in the state is located on a 1,300-acre ranch that also happens to raise cattle?
Don’t worry, you won’t be dodging cows on this ride. Instead, you’ll be treated to challenging climbs, amazing views, thrilling downhills, and even a few water crossings.
This is one of Texas’ best cross-country loops.
Located in Texas’ Hill Country, Flat Rock Ranch is in close proximity to San Antonio and Austin and features 27 miles of trail with its signature loop covering 19 miles.
2. Reveille Peak Ranch, Burnet
When you’re heading to trails that are close to larger metropolitan areas, you tend to run into a lot of people, which can be aggravating on a stretch of narrow single track.
If you’re craving solitude, then Reveille Peak Ranch, located near Austin, is a great option for you.
With more than 60 miles of trails, you can easily avoid contact with other riders. You also get all of the features that Texas MTB trails are known for: boulder-strewn trails, broad rock faces, challenging climbs, great views, thrilling descents, and, of course, some creek crossings.
Don’t forget to take a selfie at the cross atop Reveille Peak.
3. Dana Peak
A very versatile system of trails, Dana Peak, once you learn the system, allows you to build the kind of ride you want. This is thanks to its location sandwiched between a lake and hills.
Want to work on some technical riding?
Head up to the hill where you’ll face some tough climbs and flowing descents with a few well-placed jumps.
Want to blast through some flats, skirt the lake for wider rockier trails. Looking for a tough uphill?
Climb the difficult Dana Peak for spectacular views of the lake and surrounding peaks. For a challenge, check out the Pro Race Loop. For great views, you’ll want to take on the 11+ Miler loop.
4. Fresno - Sauceda Loop, Lajitas
Only two trails in Texas have been rated as Epic by IMBA. That’s saying something given that there are fewer than 60 trails that have achieved that status globally.
The Fresno – Sauceda loop is a mix of singletracks and doubletracks that winds up and down Fresno Canyon. The trail earns its IMBA status largely due to its route, which traverses a bevy of archaeological and geological sites including abandoned mines and Native American pictographs, among other features.
With its West Texas location far from any city of significant size, this is a 59-mile loop that truly feels epic.
5. Goodwater Trail, Serenada
The second of two IMBA Epic trails located in Texas, the Goodwater Trail is a loop that circles Lake Georgetown. It features moderate terrain mixed with some difficult technical sections that involve navigating some very challenging rock formations.
These unique geological formations of limestone are part of what gives this trail its IMBA Epic status; however, they are also notorious for wreaking havoc on the mtb tires. Make sure to bring extra tubes as punctures in this section are common.
Aside from its harrowing rocky sections, this trail is mostly flat with a few moderate climbs mixed in.
6. Cypress Creek Trail, Oak Cliff Place
Well built and well planned wood bridges and berms add fun and interest to this trail. Just don’t expect challenging climbs. Over the more than 9 miles of trails you’ll log less than 50 feet of climbing.
You might think this makes for some dull riding, but you’d be wrong. The trail is managed by GHORBA (Greater Houston Offroad Biking Association), which uses what little elevation there is to keep the trails lively while adding enough wooden features for interest.
Besides, who needs gravity when a trail features enough smooth sections for riders to build their own speed. With its creekside location, the terrain is packed and sandy.
Cypress Creek has the feel of a flow trail with the extra technical element of rooty and washed out sections.
7. Northshore Trail, Flower Mound
With more than 22 miles of mountain biking trails this former motocross trail system located just outside the Dallas metro area is one of the more popular MTB destinations in north Texas.
The trail consists of two loops: East Side and West Side, which skirt the northern shoreline of Lake Grapevine.
Both sides feature similar terrain with short but challenging climbs, and rocky and rooty terrain; however, the West side, with its relentless natural rock gardens, is clearly the more technical of the two.
Breaking up these rooty parts are flow sections that are fast and exhilarating. Much of the trail is wooded with occasional overlooks that offer tremendous views of the lake.
The NorthShore trail is accessible from five different trailheads.
8. Walnut Creek Metro Park, Wells Branch
With its more than 10 miles of trails, Walnut Creek Metro Park, located in north Austin, offers exhilarating and challenging trails.
Take Walnut Creek’s outer loop for the full experience, which includes a dirt jump track, a large creek crossing, and plenty of flowy trail. Mainly flat and smooth trails make the main loop a great option for beginners looking to build their trail riding skills.
Plenty of side trails offer technical challenges for intermediate and expert riders alike.
Highlights include Powerdown line, with its fast and flowy descent through woodlands, the BMX Loop with its series of jumps, and the Severe Consequences Loop with its technical terrain.
Once you’re finished, bike into Austin for a limitless selection of dining options.
9. Brushy Creek, Cedar Park
This bone rattling trail on Brush Creek Mountain will at times make you wonder if you’re on a trail at all.
At times it is difficult to identify whether or not you’re even on a trail, which is more rocks than dirt. Flow, this trail is not.
Plan on slow going through this super technical trail and don’t rush things. You’ll need to be on your game on some exposed sections on the trail’s higher elevations to avoid disaster.
Lower sections are less technical but still feature the trail’s ubiquitous rocks, which at times can feel like a never-ending rock garden. The true challenge in this system is the ultra rocky trail Deception.
While this trail may not offer the exhilaration of flow trails, it will challenge your technical skills and make you a better rider.
10. Slaughter Creek, Shady Hollow
With wide well-maintained trails, open meadows, winding wooded trails, and gradual gradients, Slaughter Creek trail is an excellent option for intermediate and even beginner mountain bikers to hone their skills.
Compact smooth sections allow for fast riding and easy bike handling, while intermittent rocky sections offer a nice challenge that will help riders build their confidence for riding over obstacles and through rock gardens.
The trail begins with a gradual ascent through rocky terrain followed by a one-mile descent through cedar forest. Another steady climb through some rocky terrain follows before a fast descent over loose rocks.
With its convenient location in southwest Austin, this is a popular and well-maintained trail.