Houston is among America’s top cities and is named after Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas. It is the only US city with a unique set up and without zoning laws to limit land use. Mountain Bikers can access facilities such as hotels, hospitals, spare part shops and any other amenity they may require within their riding location.
Served by two major airports, the Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby, Houston is easily accessible to bikers. Compared to other major cities in America, house cost rates are the lowest in Houston, opening doors to bikers from all walks of life. Since the city’s climatic condition is hot and humid, summer is a favorable season for bikers to explore its trails.
Houston is also home to various mountain bikers who engage in biking as a sport, hobby or a pastime activity. You will be lost for choice as the city houses a number of trails including the Memorial park, Terry Hershey Park, Cypresswood Park, Jack Brooks Park, Sugar Land Memorial Park and George Mitchell Nature Preserve, just to mention a few.
Here are the top 6 mountain bike trails in Houston to look out for:
The Memorial Park
Houston’s Memorial Park is located at the center of the city and has biking trails totaling approximately 12.6 miles. The 1500 acre park has fields for other sports such as golf, baseball/softball, tennis and sand volleyball. Mountain Bikers get magnificent views of a nature center and access to an arboretum and an open playground. If you are a beginner, intermediate or an advanced rider, you will find a suitable place for you in the park.
However, you have to look for other trails if you are a technical rider that venture in rocky, steeply trails or those ridden with other obstacles such as roots. The Memorial Park has one of the best trails in Houston with color-coded paths, interwoven and matched to form a terrain in the thick woods. The trails are either color-coded in purple, red, yellow, orange, green or blue. We rode this area on our Trek 820 mountain bike and it was perfect for the terrain.
For beginners yet to master the terrain, purple paths are outer boundaries meant to keep you on track so you do not get lost in the woods. Note that during the rainy season, the trails are closed due to poor drainage in the generally flat area. Bring with you an insect repellent as the area is infested with mosquitoes, especially if you intend to visit after the rainy season.
Strict trail etiquette is required as there are no trails specifically allocated to riders. You’ll share the tracks with walkers, runners and people taking their pets for walks. The best time to go biking in the Memorial Park are weekdays and early mornings since it is mostly busy over weekends and during the day.
The Terry Hershey Park
The Terry Hershey Park is located along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou to the west of Houston. It obtained its named after Terry Hershey, the head of a conservative movement. The park is ideal for experienced riders looking for greater challenges as its ten-mile trail features steep climbs, hard-pack, gravel, trees and roots. Facilities such as restrooms, playgrounds, exercise stations and picnic places are within the park, making it accommodative.
Visit this park if you are a seasoned biker looking for an opportunity to extend your ride with up to eleven more miles to George Bush Park Hike and Bike Trail. With plans in place to extend its trail to Addicks Dam on its North, Eldridge Parkway to the East and Metros Addicks Park/Ride Lot on the West, the Terry Hershey Park is expected to grow and develop further in the future.
The presence of parking lots within the park is an added advantage to riders as they can come in their private cars and pack them safely. This gives riders from different locations an opportunity to explore the pack without being limited by transportation. The parking lots are well distributed in the park. You can choose to park in the Highway 6 lot, Beltway 8 or Dairy Ashford Road lot.
The Cypresswood Park
The Cypresswood Park is home to single-track trails characterized by switchbacks, dips and drops, making them ideal for beginners and intermediate riders. The five-mile trail located in the northern suburbs is one of Houston’s treasures. It has a number of well constructed and maintained loops to give bikers an exceptional, quality riding experience. The biking trails are located along the banks of Cypress Creek and run through the forest to give skilled bikers memorable rides.
With properly-marked trails and difficult obstacles labeled, even new riders are bound to find their way through the park. However, some trails such as the ones on the east of T.C Jester are on private property and they are marked accordingly to notify riders. Weekdays or early mornings are the best times to explore this park. It tends to get busy during the weekdays and afternoons, hence maneuvering obstacles in the park can be difficult.
The Jack Brooks Park
The Jack Brooks Park is suitable for seasoned bikers. Although its tracks are well-maintained, they are more technical, featuring climbs and descents beginners cannot maneuver. It gives experienced bikers an opportunity to hone and show their complex moves. It won’t just put a smile on your face, but also leave spectators in awe. The single-track trails are rich in short steep hills intermediate riders can find handy to enhance their skills. However, riders are advised to be cautious of killer roots, steam-crossings and bridges.
With local bike shops, and camping and hiking sites available in the park, bikers have most of their needs catered for. You can get spare parts in case of breakdowns or combine cycling, camping and hiking to make your experience more eventful and less monotonous. The Park allows cyclists to race by organizing racing events as a way of encouraging and motivating riders. As a result, the park becomes livelier and attracts more people into the sport.
George Mitchell Nature Preserve
The George Mitchell Nature Preserve has 3.5-mile single-track trails. The flat, tight and twisty trails are
looped to enhance your riding skills. Since the preserve is child-friendly, it’s perfect for family bike rides. You can bring your children or the entire family to this park, but ensure they’re accompanied by an experienced biker if you are not one. Due to the nature of the trails, slow down and announce your presence as you approach blind corners. The Park also has parking lots, hence attracting more riders with kids for a family cycling experience.
Mountain biking is more of an adventurous and fun pastime activity. Houston has what it takes to support biking, including other fun activities such as walking, hiking and picnicking among other sports since the grounds and parks can be shared. If you’re looking for a biking destination with varied trails to suit your unique needs and match your experience level, Houston should be your next stop. If you are looking to drive a bit further out then try our Texas guide.