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Houston is among the top cities in America, named after the first president of the Republic of Texas (Sam Houston). It houses some of the best mountain biking trails in America. Compared to other cities, the climatic condition is hot and humid. That’s why it’s a favorable location for mountain bikers to explore trails in summer.
For those mountain bikers who engage in biking as a hobby or a sport, you will be lost for choice because of the plenty of trail options. However, after conducting interviews with the local mountain biking trail groups and bikers, I prepared a list of the best trails in the area. Let’s get started!
Bottom Line Up Front
If you have visited Houston and are new to trails, then choose the Cypress Creek Trail System. It’s adequately marked with the difficult obstacles well labeled. Alternatively, I recommend the Brazos River Trail to riders who prefer riding fast. The 16-mile stretch offers the best fast riding experience.
If you want to go with your family, choose George Mitchell Nature Preserve. It’s not only child-friendly, but it’s also flat, providing bikers with a forum to enhance their skills. Additionally, it also features an ample parking lot.
7 Top Mountain Bike Trails in Houston
The following is a list of the top mountain bike trails in Houston. I found them to be exciting and fun to ride on. I have also included some of the best methods that you can use to improve your mountain biking skills while riding on these Houston trails.
The Cypress Creek Trail System
The Cypresswood Park is home to the Cypress Creek Trail System, located in the northern suburbs of Houston. Drops, dips, and switchbacks characterize the single-track trails. They make the trail good for both beginners and intermediate riders.
It features several well-constructed and maintained loops. They provide bikers with an exceptional riding experience. The trails are located along the banks of Cypress Creek. They run through the forest, offering skilled mountain bikers memorable rides.
The Cypress Creek Trail System is adequately marked. It features difficult obstacles that are well labeled for the new riders to find their way through the park. You should note that some of the trails on the east of T.C. Jester are on private property. The good thing is that they are marked accordingly to notify the riders.
Early mornings are the best times to explore the trails since they tend to get busy in the afternoons. Several entry points along Cypress Creek are connected with a paved greenway path. The trails are well-maintained, with at least 10 miles of single track to explore.
The responsibility of managing and renovating the Cypress Creek Trail System is not solely for volunteer bikers. GHORBA (Greater Houston Off-Road Cycling Association) does good work in building wooden bridges and maintaining the trails.
- It features drops, dips, and switchbacks
- Best for beginners and intermediate riders
- It has well-constructed and maintained loops
- Properly marked trail
- 10 miles of single track
- Afternoons are usually crowded
- Not ideal for experienced riders
The Memorial Park
Houston’s Memorial Park features biking trails totaling approximately 12.6 miles. It is located at the center of the city. Apart from mountain biking, the 1,500-acre park provides an arena for other sports like sand volleyball, golf, tennis, and baseball.
The park offers magnificent views of a nature center with access to an open playground and an arboretum. It won’t matter whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced rider. You won’t lack a suitable place for you in Memorial park.
However, if you are a technical rider who prefers rocky steep trails, you have to look for other trail options. That said, Memorial Park still has some of the best trails in Houston. They have color-coded paths which are interwoven and matched to form a terrain in the thick woods.
The trail’s coding is either in blue, green, orange, yellow, red, or purple. Purple paths are best for beginners who are yet to master the terrain. The outer boundaries are meant to keep the riders on track to avoid getting lost in the woods.
Due to poor drainage in the generally flat area, trails are generally closed during the rainy season. If you intend to ride on these trails, ensure that you carry an insect repellent. This is because mosquitoes are highly infested, especially after the rains.
You should make sure that you observe trail etiquette because there are no trails allocated specifically to riders. The best time to have a memorable experience in Memorial Park is in the early mornings (weekdays). This is because the afternoons and weekends are usually busy and crowded.
- 12.6-mile length trail
- It offers magnificent views
- It has access to open ground and an arboretum
- Color-coded paths
- It features outer boundaries to ensure you don’t get lost
- Not ideal for technical riders
- Highly infested with mosquitoes after rains
The Terry Hershey Park
Along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou to the west of Houston lies the Terry Hershey Park. It is named after the head of a conservative movement, Terry Hershey.
Are you an experienced rider looking for significant challenges? If yes, then Terry Hershey Park is the place to be. The 10-mile trail features roots, trees, gravel, and steep climbs.
The good thing about the park is that it has exercise stations, playgrounds, and restrooms. That said, there are also picnic places that make it more accommodating. If you are a seasoned rider who wants to extend his ride with up to 11 more miles to George Bush Bike Trail, then visit the Terry Hershey Park.
There are plans in place to extend the trail to Eldridge Parkway to the east and Addicks Dam to the north. This means that soon the park is expected to grow and develop further.
Spacious parking lots are an added advantage to riders. So riders from different locations can explore the trail without being limited by transportation.
Additionally, these parking lots are well distributed throughout the park. You can park on the Dairy Ashford Road lot, Beltway 8, on the Highway 6 lot, and others that you find.
- Best for experienced riders
- 10-mile length trail
- It features exercise stations, restrooms, and playgrounds
- Spacious parking lots
- Steep climbs for seasoned riders
- Not ideal for beginners
- Steep climbs limit most riders
The Jack Brooks Park
Are you a seasoned biker looking for a well-maintained technical mountain bike trail? If yes, then this may be the trail for you. The Jack Brooks Park features climbs and descents that beginners cannot maneuver. This means experienced bikers have the opportunity to hone and showcase their skills.
The single-track trails feature short steep hills for intermediate riders to enhance their skills. However, riders need to be cautious of bridges, steam-crossings, and killer roots. Thanks to the local bike shops situated in the park, bikers have most of their biking needs catered for.
In case you experience breakdowns while riding in the trails, you don’t have to worry. The park also has camping and hiking sites. The good thing about this park is that riders can organize racing events to encourage and motivate them.
Through that, the park becomes lively and attracts more people into the biking sport. If you crave skinnies, ramps, or teeter-totters, then Jack Brooks Park is the place to find them. The single-track trails are well-marked and easy to follow.
- Single-track with technical ups/downs
- Best for experienced riders
- Short steep hills
- There are local bike shops in the park
- Riders can organize racing events
- Not ideal for beginners
- Riders need to be cautious of killer roots and steam-crossings
George Mitchell Nature Preserve
The George Mitchell Nature Preserve is child-friendly perfect for family bike rides. It features 3.5 miles single-track trails. The trails are looped to enhance bikers’ riding skills.
You can make a trip to this park with your young riders. However, they must be accompanied by an experienced biker if you are not one. When approaching blind corners, ensure that you slow down and announce your presence. This is because of the sharp and blind nature of corners.
If you prefer to come in your car, the park has enough parking lots. So you don’t have to worry about how you will travel with your kids for a family cycling experience.
- 3.5-mile trail length
- Flat and twisty single track trail
- There are parking lots
- Best for a family cycling experience
- An experienced biker must accompany kids
- You have to slow down and announce yourself around blind corners
Brazos River Trails
The Brazos River Trails are worth a visit if you are a fast rider. The flat single track rides along 16 miles of trail. The trail system is composed of 3 sections. They are River Bend, Sugar Land Parks, and the New Territory.
Like all other tracks, the Brazos River Trails also remain closed during the rainy season. Before you plan on paying a visit, first check the GHORBA trail status page for closures. That said, the trails are simple to navigate and also feature exciting turns and elevation dips.
The responsibility of maintaining the trails is not solely for volunteers. GHORBA renovates the tracks and erects wooden bridges in the unpassable zones.
- Best for fast riders
- 16-mile trail length
- Composed of 3 sections
- GHORBA maintains the trails
- It features exciting turns and elevation dips
- It remains closed during the rainy season
- Not ideal for experienced riders
Rocky Hill Ranch
Rocky Hill Ranch is an excellent trail with lots of fun located about 2 hours northwest of Houston. The 30 miles trail is adequately labeled with water stations located throughout to keep riders hydrated. However, you should not always rely on them because they run dry occasionally.
Riders have to register before riding on the trails. At the trailhead, they are offered a free map. This is one of the best single-track trails in Houston for intermediate bikers.
- 30-mile trail length
- It features water stations
- Riders are offered free maps
- Best for intermediate riders
- It features flat single track trails
- Sometimes water stations run dry
- You have to register before riding on the trails
Mountain Bike Trails in Houston FAQs
Answer: Yes, there are. Even though Houston has few mountains, it still has a share of enjoyable mountain bike trails to explore.
Answer: The Terry Hershey Park Trail offers more than 10 miles of trail. It runs from Barker Dam near State Highway 6 to Texas Beltway 8 and the Sam Houston Tollway.
Answer: It is approximately 10.6 miles long. It’s located near Katy, Texas.
Answer: No. The topography is very flat. The highest zone within the city is about 90 feet (27m).
Houston is one of the beautiful American cities with fantastic mountain bike trails for both novice and avid bikers. It offers trails with water stations, arboretums, and playgrounds for the kids.
You don’t have to worry about where you’ll park your car or how you’ll arrive with your family. This is because most of the trails feature spacious parking lots.
If you are a fast rider, then I recommend the Brazos River Trail. This 16-mile trail offers the best speeding experience. For riders who prefer family rides, George Mitchell Nature Preserve is child-friendly. It’s flat to enhance the biker’s skills. That said, it also features spacious parking lots.
For the new riders in Houston, I recommend the Cypress Creek Trail System. The best thing about it is that it’s adequately marked with the difficult obstacles labeled well.