AUSTIN — February brings visitors a variety of biking opportunities in Texas state parks.
Hundreds of miles of dirt, caliche, crushed granite and paved bike trails wind and climb through Texas state parks, offering safe and scenic rides for everyone, no matter their skill level. February marks an ideal time to pack up your bike and hit the trails, whether that means joining a scheduled ride, tackling an ambitious biking event or simply taking a self-guided two-wheeled journey with family and friends.
Skill ratings from beginner to intermediate to difficult, as well as mileage information and trail descriptions, can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Biking activity page. Cyclists can also watch a video roundup of what it’s like to bike in a variety of state park settings, including this featured video from Colorado Bend State Park.
Trail levels range from easy, such as Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park’s flat and paved park roads in Mission, to the most challenging tracks—hilly, twisting, rocky mountain trails found at El Paso’s Franklin Mountains State Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park near Presidio.
Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso will host a mountain biking workshop for beginners called Biking: Back to Basics. The training will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7 with park ranger Paul Hanson. Bring your own bike and tools if you have any. For more information, call (915) 562-9899.
A guided mountain bike ride for beginners will be held at Franklin Mountains State Park from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21. The ride will cover roughly miles and is intended for beginner to moderate riders. Cyclists should bring a mountain bike, helmet, water and sunglasses. It is also recommended that each participant bring flat repair materials, snacks, cycling gloves and shorts, sunscreen and a backpack. The cost is $5 per person, and reservations are required. To reserve a spot, please call (915) 566-6441.
For the fifth consecutive year, avid cyclists from across the state will gather Feb. 12-14 for three days of rides in Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park, and on the Lajitas trail system in far west Texas. The Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest headquarters will be at the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa. Visit the park page event calendar for more information.
Although most of Bike Fest’s rides are geared for advanced mountain bike enthusiasts, the park offers shorter, ranger-led bike tours of 10 to11 miles as well. A kid’s ride is also scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Highlighting the event’s agenda again will be the signature, 58-mile EPIC ride (as designated by the International Mountain Biking Association) scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 14, onto which bikers can elect to add an additional 12 miles (covering 70 miles total). There’s also a two-day EPIC ride option, with an overnight stay and meals at Big Bend Ranch State Park’s Sauceda bunkhouse.
Park rangers suggest these destinations for a sampler of biking trails across the state:
Gulf Coast — Brazos Bend, Mustang Island,
Hill Country — Colorado Bend, Government Canyon
Panhandle Plains — Caprock Canyons & Trailway, Fort Richardson – Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway
Prairies and Lakes- Cedar Hill, Lake Somerville, Tyler
West Texas — Big Bend Ranch, Franklin Mountains
For biking and bike trail images, please visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/?g=oam_biking