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Level: Advanced
Length: 13 mi (20.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +339/ -348 ft
Total: 130 riders

Mountain Biking Government Canyon

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#44 of 277 mountain bike trails in Texas
#1,620 in the world

This park has a network of trails ranging from 3-5 miles per trail. Every trail head has a large topo map charting every trail in the park. Some of the trails are for hikers only and is clearly marked on the maps. The trails are well marked and each marker has mileage listed so if you don't have a bike computer, it is not important. There is also running water at Parking Lot D. The terrain varies from canopy-covered rolling trails to pretty tough climbs. The decents are (or will be) legendary! If you come out towards the "Alamo City" give Government Canyon a try.

First added by TrailAPI on Apr 7, 2013. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
If you live in San Antonio, TX or are familiar with the area take Hi-Way 1604 to Culebra and take a left (going under 1604). Stay on Culebra until you come to Golm Road and take a right. The trail entrance is on the left hand side of the road about 2 miles from Culebra. This is a State Park so they do charge $6.00 per person but it is worth every dime you spend. The park just opened this month.
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Government Canyon Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

jeffmcoyle (on Oct 14, 2019)
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Upcoming Events

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Trail conditions

Good (on Oct 14, 2019)
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Camping & Lodging

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Government Canyon videos

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Government Canyon October Ride
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Mountain Bike Trails Near San Antonio, Texas

| 4 mi
| 4 mi
Beginner | 3 mi
Easiest | 4 mi

Rider questions

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  • zctn

    The lower section is good although rocks are everywhere. The top section becomes crazy. Very tough in overall.

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  • RoadWarrior

    Didn't get to ride. The area is closed to the public Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday
    This is the answer I got from them.
    Got an answer, of sorts.
    "As a natural area next to a metropolitan area, Govern­ment Canyon is an excellent resource for wildlife biologists and other scientists. Scientists conduct research when we are closed. Staff and volunteers create programs for school groups, conduct heavy maintenance, work on resource management projects, handle administrative duties, and - everyone's favorite - complete paper­work! Govern­ment Canyon does open extra days at holidays."

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  • Liv4hym

    Coming from Houston trails, this was one of the hardest we have ever done. Lots of uphill, rock climbing. Course that is rewarded with downhill rock crawling. Great workout, but had to walk a fair amount as I'm not as skilled., but fun none the less. Took a counterclockwise wise path on the outer loop starting at the camp ground. Ended ride with a nice home stretch on JJR.

    By the way, a great campground.

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    Great diverse trail system. A whole lot of rocky terrain, drops, switchbacks, climbing & downhills. Oh and I've encountered more hikers throughout the years. Overall, thanks to Texas parks & wildlife for sharing these beautiful parks with cyclists!

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  • rafael


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  • BillG55   ✓ supporter

    No big hills but lots of rocks, I walked some bigger ledges as an intermediate level biker. Trails were damp making rocks slick in some places. Very well established trails, marked well with trail maps at visitor center. Nice trail system.

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  • et69

    Today I rode the backcountry trails at this park for the second time. It is a very nice mix of difficult technical singletrack with rock gardens and rolling smooth singletrack. You can pretty much choose trails that fits the type of riding you like. I started out going north on Joe Johnston Route - lots of hikers in the beginning so slow down. After about 3 miles the crowds are gone and I turned left on Caroline`s Loop. This trail is great - challenging technical climbs and decents! After 2,5 miles you hit the Joe Johnston again and continue north to join the Sendero Balcones trail. This trail goes back south all the way down to the trailhead. It is rocky and technical, with some quite difficult sections. You can opt out of this trail several places, the first and easiest option is Little Windmill. Halfway south you can take a left on Far Reaches trail, which is a great challenging trail that takes you past some nice overlooks. Continue all the way down and join the Recharge trail back to the trailhead. This outer loop combo is an awesome 14 mile ride that will challenge you and your bike! Full suspension is recommended.

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  • Downhill_Driver

    I leave the San Antonio area on Wednesday and was told by locals at Bike World this is their choice spot. $6 park fee. They provide a trail map which is very useful and the trails are marked superbly. If you are up to it, I would ride every trail even though it will be exhausting. Unfortunately it started raining when I was at the most northern portion of the area (map north). obviously it made the rocks slippery which didn't allow me to open up. As in previous reviews, this ride gave me a bunch of "oh sh!t" moments, which is awesome. Even though I leave San Antonio on Wednesday, I will be making the 2.5 hour drive so I can ride here again. So far what I have ridden in the Hill Country, this is in my top 2. Go there you wont be disappointed.

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  • *****

    This place is perfect. Anyone can enjoy from the beginner trying to get into the sport to the most advanced rider looking to challenge themselves.

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  • Tex735

    Whoever says this isn't an advanced trail, I'd like to know just where the heck you ride!!! It's very very rocky which means technical. If you ride the outer ring going clockwise, you will get into some very rocky climbs with some pretty serious shelves to overcome. The climb will burn you out and then you'll have to deal with the shelves. Ground clearance becomes a concern on some of the shelves as is evidenced by all the bash ring scars on the rocks. I put the pedals on the rocks several times. But the downhills are sick! Rock garden meets downhill. You can't just let the brakes go and bomb or you'll end up in the scenery! Bring a full suspension for sure and you might consider a 29er due to the plethora of rocks. The roots are few and far between and the fast single track is sparse. All in all an awesome place to ride!!

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  • *****

    Very rocky trail with some steep climbs and downhills. Depending on how you ride the trail will change your whole ride. Many different loops you can do from fire roads to full on drops and steep downhill. By far the best "in San Antonio area." Don't be fooled by those old reviews.

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  • Sierradirtslayer   ✓ supporter

    Super rocky and quite technical. Front country is rather flat and easy single track similar to the mccallister and OP. The back country is where it is at here. Lost of good climbs and some fun downhill. I always end up with shaky hands by the end of this ride due to the continuous rockiness.

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  • agroover

    PeaceJ hit the nail on the head. I am out here riding only on Sat and Sundays for 4 months so I have to drive anywhere from 1.5-4 hours to ride decent trails cause I am staying up in Brownwood. I must say this trail was worth the 190-200 mile drive. I rode JJ route until it ended into the SB trail then turned L to go to Far Reaches down and back up SB trail to Wildcat Canyon and then back down to JJ and out. It was a great!! ride. About 2hr 40 for me and 15miles of some of the rockiest single track I have ever seen, but I consider myself an advanced technical rider so it did not matter I did not know the trail and I was by myself as I am on all these trails. I met several friendly hikers and bikers stopped briefly talking to all who wanted to. I am from Alabama so this trail was a lot rockier than I am use to, but I loved it. I consider it one continuous "rock garden" of varying degrees....worth the drive if you are in Texas and like technical single track.

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  • peacej

    This is an excellent place to ride during the week, Saturdays are busy, watch for hikers. Not a beginner trail on a "Walmart" bike, very rocky in sections, full suspension xc bike highly recommended if you want to enjoy it. Bring lots of water. Experienced riders familiar with the terrain can cover the entire back country in 3 hrs or so. Beginners need to stick to Joe Johnston. Intermediates can try Far Reaches then down Wild Cat and back down J.J. to finish. Once completed Caroline's loop can be added. Try Sendero Balcones once you think you are ready. This place and Flat Rock adequately prepared me for sections of the CO trail. Met several people at both preparing for Big Bend, TX & Leadville 100, CO

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  • blaster2

    I agree, this is NOT an advanced trail. The technicality only comes from the loose rock and ledges that are more suited to 35" tire Jeeps than 26" bikes, not really maintained for biking and washes out after hard rains. You'll struggle hard for several of these short sections, then start the downhill and wonder how it was so short after all that "climbing." Watch out for the Orb Weaver spider webs across the trail early in the morning. If you have the time, do yourself a favor and drive to Tapatio or Flat Rock

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  • Texjbq

    I haven't ridden all the trails so maybe I should not be quick to judge, but the trails were built for hiking first mtb second. Loose rock everywhere not just in the creek bends. That being said I will definitely go back.* Review edited 3/3/2011

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  • cshanek

    First, this is NOT an advanced trail. It may be a 6 out of 10. Is is fairly conceivable to ride the entire 15-20 miles of bike-able trails without coming off. My wife, who had NEVER been mountain biking before, had no issue bombing down all of the downhills on a 13 year old bike with a blown front shock.

    That being said, some of the climbs are moderately technical. The majority of the trail is loose and rocky, with a few singletrack exceptions. Don't look for berms here.
    Hitting hikers can be a concern, as there are many blind downhill turns obscured by brush etc.

    Good short weekend ride.
    Rode (Reaches, Wildcat, Caroline's Loop, Joe Johnson)

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    Very rough trail. Maybe 10% is smooth single track. If your looking for smooth and fast, this is not it.

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  • jeff.neuman

    Even though it's got the only 'hills' in San Antonio it's nothing but rocks. Makes for very 'slow' going even on the downhills (relative to other trails with the same hill grades). If you're not riding a long travel full suspension bike don't bother with these trails.

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