When I asked Bill Collier of the Greater Houston Off Road Bicycling Association (GHORBA) which trails in the Houston area were the best, his first response was “that is a [loaded] gun question.” Understandably: it was as if I had asked a father to choose his favorite child. Fortunately GHORBA has been working to establish all kinds of options for Houston riders to choose from, and visitors will not be disappointed with what they find on the ground.
With several entry points along Cypress Creek and connectivity with a paved greenway path, these trails are well-maintained and offer at least 10 miles of singletrack to explore. Located about 25 miles northwest of downtown Houston, the Cypress Creek trail system features generally wide, flat, and sandy singletrack. Still, there are obstacles to be found within the trail system, and GHORBA has done a lot of work building wooden bridges and keeping the trails in excellent shape.
Jack Brooks Park
If it’s skinnies, ramps, or teeter totters you crave, Jack Brooks Park is the place to find them in southeastern Houston. From the center of Houston, you’re looking at a 45-minute drive to Jack Brooks Park, but the good news is it’s very close to Galveston for those visiting the beaches. Singletracks reviewers note the directional trails are well-marked and easy to follow. On average, the trails are rated advanced, with reader Timbuktulous saying the trails offer a “really nice combination of easy, twisty singletrack and technical up/downs.”
Brazos River Trails
The Brazos River Trails are definitely worth a visit for fast, flat singletrack riding along 16 miles of trails (23 miles total if ridden out and back.) GHORBA trail steward Jason Wipf tells us the system, “is composed of 3 sections: River Bend, New Territory and Sugar Land Parks.” Like all trails in the area, the Brazos River Trails may be closed due to wet conditions, so be sure to check the GHORBA trail status page for closures. Singletracks reviewers tell us the trails are “simple to navigate at [a] good pace” and feature “exciting turns and elevation dips.” [description updated 7/11/17]
Five years ago, Singletracks reviewers were giving the Anthills at Terry Hershey Park miserable 2-star ratings, saying the trails were not well maintained. Well, thanks to recent work by GHORBA, riders are now lavishing 4- and 5-star ratings on this 8-mile trail system located less than 20 miles west of downtown Houston. The trails themselves are generally fast and flowy, though technical sections do exist, resulting in an overall intermediate rating according to reviewers. Bonus: riders will find that about 100 feet of elevation separate the high and low points in the trail, which is rare in this otherwise mostly flat region.
For riders who are looking to climb and descend a bit more, it will be necessary to venture outside the Houston area a bit.
Rocky Hill Ranch
Rocky Hill Ranch is located about two hours northwest of Houston, not too far from Austin, but according to Houston locals, it’s certainly worth the drive. The 30-or-so miles of trails are well-signed, and there are even water stations located throughout to keep riders hydrated. (Though riders should still be prepared in case the water stops are empty.) Singletracks reviewer wannabe says, “This is a great trail, lots of fun, and [an] easy drive from Houston.” Riders should register before riding the trails and also pick up a free map at the trailhead.
Check out the full list of bike trails in the Houston area.