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Great mountain bike trails exist wherever there are dedicated riders, and the Central USA is no exception. One could spend a lifetime exploring the excellent singletrack from Texas to Michigan so today we are going to highlight many of the trails and destinations that should not be missed.
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Several thoughts. Done Brown County, and I wasn’t very impressed. Same on Mohican. Berryman in central Missouri in the Mark Twain NF is really cool – far better than Brown County and Mohican imo. I have had my eye on Griffin BP. Anything on the slopes the Ohio River has a lot of potential to be developed because the hills around the river are quite big. I hope more will be done with the lands along the river. For example, one trail with a ton of potential but still underdeveloped I’m guessing is the River to River Trail of southern Illinois. It runs E-W 118 mi from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River through the Shawnee NF. Not all the miles allow mountain biking, but I am hoping that someday this system will be more opened and developed for biking. For a truly premier backcountry experience in the Midwest, the Ozark Trail in Missouri is VERY cool. I think it is up to 400 mi long. Someday it will be connected to the Ozark Highlands Trail of NW Arkansas, and you’ll be able to ride 700 mi from St. Louis to Bentonville and Fort Smith. That ranks up there with the best of the best in terms of backcountry distance riding.
Just curious Mongwolf, when did you ride Brown County? Since the addition of Hobbs Hollow and the connection to Yellowwood, BCSP has pretty much everything you could ask for. I might be a little defensive as I am from central Indiana. But really as far as options BCSP has everything besides a full lift access DH. The park itself has beginner stuff: Pine Loop, North Tower, great flow: Green Valley. Hobbs is on of the best DH flow trails in this part of the country. Bobcat is definately techy and Schooner is black diamond for sure. With the connection now to Yellowwood, you can get several additional miles and is much more backcountry type riding. Even here in the Midwest you can get some decent elevation. I guess it depends what you are looking for.
Great subject… trails in metro areas where one may wind up due to business travel, or other none mountain bike specific trip. Thanks for the insight to the areas you covered. Regarding Texas, specifically north Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth, or “DFW”)… I know it’s impossible to know about every trail in every area, but for those with a trip to DFW in their future, bring your bike! It may surprise some to learn there are over 150 miles of single track trails all with 30 minutes of each other here (100 more if you drive 45-60 minutes out). We have everything from flat hard packed flowing rides to the roughest, rockiest, technical climbing and descents. Some of our trails require markers for EMT rescue coordination/locating. And I’ve seen them in use! I’ve ridden throughout the southwest and the Rockies, and the only place I’ve bottomed out 150 mm of travel is here in North Texas. It’s also the only place I’ve seen riders manage to break frames! Like smooth and fast XC stuff? Try LB Houston, River Legacy, or Frisco Community Park. Like it rough, tough and technical? Try Johnson Branch’s black loop or Isle De Bois. Like a mix of things? Many, many trails to choose from, most with stacked loops. Need a bike shop? Dozens to choose from, some the size of a small Walmart. Ready for a post ride stop? Well, with ~7 million peeps in DFW, there’s no shortage of endless micro brews, winery’s, and every type of food imaginable. There’s even a “brew ride” or two if you have the hankering to drink and ride. An associate of mine moved here from Colorado, and no longer jokes about us North Texans not knowing what mountain biking is. 🙂
Wow… if you talk about Texas trail system without mentioning Austin, DFW and San Antonio… man you are missing out a lot (I mean literally everything).. just talk about Austin itself has more than 100 miles trails INSIDE the city and you can connect them together, and a lot trails are hilly rocky technical and twisty (= fun). And of course, you can also find tons of options around the city, maybe they are on private land, such as Flat Rock Ranch, Rocky Hill Ranch, Bluff Creek Ranch etc.. but a lot of them are designed for mountain biking, built by mountain biker and you can easily sign the waiver online and go shred. And the laziest way to find trails in Texas? MTB races of course! Check out Kodiak Tough Southern Enduro Tour, or texas state mountain bike championships……
and since people in previous comment has mentioned trails in Dallas, there is only one more thing I want to add, there is a adventure riding race in Dallas every year which you need to connect 7 trails in the city of Dalls in one day. If you want to explore and ride the maximum in one day, that’s the party you should go.
The Fresno-Sausida Loop at Big Bend Ranch State Park is an Epic loop (more than 55 miles)
Besides, there are also several highly rated trails such as Dome Loop, Solitario Loop…
the bike fest here on February is the best time to party at the right place with the right peeps
Interesting that you mentioned riding within Big Bend NP and mentioned some amount of singletrack. I lived in west Texas for a while and never considered riding there, since its a national park. I’m not surprised there’s riding outside the park, but NPS says no unless their website is outdated. Seems odd for ‘singletracks’ to podcast about a location where you cannot ride singletrack…
“Bicycling is allowed on any road within Big Bend National Park, but is not allowed off-road or on any trail.”