August 27, 2018
Whew, haven't been to Dana Peak since mini bikes were tearing up the "trails" there. So, yeah, left the area long before mountain biking is what it is today. I did like most riders and initially started at the west end at Dana Peak Park. I was surprised as to how many riders were there. Pretty busy with all levels of riders. I rode some from west to east, and started wondering where the more challenging stuff was I read about. Being impatient, I decided to start over at the eastern end in Stillhouse Park. 1st observation... while the west end is pretty busy, I was the ONLY rider at the east end. Literally the only car parked there. And yes, more fun right at the start, and you get into more challenging stuff in about 1 1/2 miles. I didn't see a single rider until around mile 5. While I came across a couple dozen riders on the western sections of this trail, I saw only a total of four on the eastern 2/3's of it. Apparently most riders don't venture far from the west end. Personally, I think I'd prefer riding from Stillhouse Park to Dana Peak Park and back. That way, the ride starts out interesting, with a flat easy ride halfway through, and then return through the better stuff. Dana Peak is a typical Central Texas trail with some hard pack, and limestone fixed and loose rock climbing and descending. Interestingly, very few roots that I recall. Nothing overly technically challenging, but those not used to cardio or grinding up may find themselves huffing and puffing on the hills. Some might find negotiating loose pack coming down the hills a bit of a challenge. Some of the trail is wider than single track on the west end, but there's plenty of nice old school hand cut single track. I rode it on a 130mm/130mm trail bike, but an XC FS or hard tail will do just fine here. As for difficulty, some sites rate it as 'intermediate' to 'very difficult'. I think it's more beginner to intermediate, but difficulty rating is always subjective. If you're a North Texas/DFW rider, Dana Peak is technically/aerobically similar to Knob Hill, which is rated beginner to intermediate. All in all, a nice trail worth riding. I will stop by here again for a quick fun ride when passing though Bell County. Thanks to those who maintain it.