Colorado Bend State Park Mountain Biking – Pedal buzzing. Turn around. Watch out! Mountain biking at Colorado Bend State Park offers some thrills and bumps, some ups and downs, some twists and turns, some thrills and (hopefully not) spills in a beautiful corner of the Hill Country.
Cyclists can find 35 miles of trails in the park, from the relatively easy 3.4-mile River Trail to the challenging 2.8-mile Tinaja Trail. Most of the trails are singletrack and the difficulty of the trail can accommodate a variety of riding styles and experience levels. The trails stretch through beech-cedar forests with tree roots, different elevations and lots of limestone that offer challenges. Rivers, gorges and limestone cliffs set the scene for adventure in the park, which sits above Lake Buchanan, the highest lake in the Central Highlands chain of lakes.
Colorado Bend State Park Mountain Biking
If you are looking for a destination, follow the path to a waterfall, a beautiful place, or a creek with water from a stream. If you want to add a few miles, travel through the park’s meadows, rolling hills and cedar breaks.
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Colorado Bend is an outdoor lover’s paradise. While you are here, make the most of your visit and see the highlights of this park.
Swimming in rivers and swimming holes is permitted at Spicewood Springs. The Colorado River provides prime bass fishing.
» Do you like this story? If you enjoy reading articles like this, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Max O’Roark pushes his bike through the thorns in Colorado Bend State Park. Credit: Brendan Gibbons/The San Antonio Report
Many people have told me that Colorado Bend is their favorite state park in Texas. After our last trip, I have to say it’s mine too.
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Colorado Bend is a 5,330 acre park with something for everyone. The park offers 35 kilometers of trails, most of which are open to hikers and cyclists. The water gushing from the upper elevations of the park carves caves and holes everywhere, and even forms Gorman Falls, the highest waterfall in Texas. Kayakers and anglers have easy access to the Colorado River, which runs through the campground.
The signature attraction is Gorman Falls, where admirers can see the roaring water flow from the travertine rocks formed by the mineral deposition of the falls. Ferns decorate the sides of the walls and create a green oasis under the trees.
Most visitors also spend time fishing in the river for bass and catfish or kayaking through the fast-moving water. Campgrounds near the river and on the upper plateau with drives, hikes and outlying areas range from $10 to $15 per night.
On this trip, my third in Colorado Bend, we ended up seeing some parts of the park I hadn’t seen before – Spicewood Canyon and Lively Loop. These trails did not disappoint and made me feel like I should take three more trips to appreciate what the Colorado Bend has to offer.
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My friend Max O’Roark and I started our trip on Friday by packing his Subaru for an overnight drive. We stock bikes, boots, tents, coolers, cameras, clothing, basically everything you need for a 24-hour multi-sport adventure.
Max, a friend of mine from high school in Colorado who just moved to San Antonio, first asked me what I could tell people to make them want to drive almost 3 hours from San Antonio. When we left, he called the park “Little Bend,” claiming that its rugged beauty was second only to Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Max O’Roark loads his overloaded Subaru onto a trail in Colorado’s Bend State Park. Credit: Brendan Gibbons/The San Antonio Report
The plan was to meet up with my friend Jody Iglesias and some of his Navy buddies. (He’s probably a friend of yours, too. It seems everyone in San Antonio knows Jody.) Jody was due later, so we decided to take a five-mile bike ride on the Lively Loop, around some oak trees. . the prairies make up the highest elevation of the park.
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Unfortunately, we hit a short stretch of extremely rocky terrain and Max was derailed within minutes. We adapted, with him trail running and me mountain biking. We both walked at our own pace on the wide and colorful double path that makes up much of the circle. It was one of the smoothest and fastest mountain bike rides I’ve done in the Hill Country.
The sun was already setting when we got to the campsite and we tried to find Kevin, Jody’s friend, walking up to people in the dark and asking, “Excuse me, are you Kevin?” This being Texas, people are friendly. “No, I’m just camping and fishing,” one man replied. He invited us back for a cocktail later.
We finally found the group and settled in for a late dinner and campfire chats. I put a roast chicken on the grill, I took it out, dried it, and we ate again.
In the morning, most of the group went fishing for white bass, but Max and I wanted to cover a few more miles. We climbed into the steep and rocky Spicewood Gorge, where a crystalline creek filled with minerals created a series of terraces. and the pools form beautiful pool holes.
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If you take a tour, the trail is about 4 miles total, and the Trailist recommends taking the hiking-only Spicewood Springs Trail in Spicewood Canyon, and the trail and bike trail. Spicewood Canyon’s ridgetop setting offers spectacular views of the creek, the Colorado River and the steep slopes in the distance.
For us, the highlight of the trip came when Jody, an experienced caver, took us to explore a little-known cave on the grounds. We have matching helmets and three light sources each, but it’s probably not what Max and I would have done without Jody.
Jody Iglesias slides into a cave entrance in Colorado Bend State Park. Credit: Brendan Gibbons/The San Antonio Report
Cave explorers have always kept their locations secret because known caves tend to be caved in, fossils stolen and scratched on the walls. People leave trash and disturb sensitive animals like bats. The prevalence of the bat-killing fungus that causes white nose syndrome, which can be attached to the clothes and equipment of cave explorers, is a more recent reason for the secrecy. White nose syndrome was first discovered in Texas in 2017.
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If you want to experience the Colorado Bend Caverns, the easiest way is through the park’s official caving company, Nichols Outdoor Adventures. The second easiest way is to get involved in the caving community by attending the monthly meetings of Bexar Cave, the local caving club of the people of San Antonio. They are quite a hospitable bunch.
Everyone had to get back to San Antonio relatively soon, so Max and I went to a burger joint in the nearby town of Llano about a day after leaving San Antonio. We are sorry to leave Colorado Bend so soon, but grateful that it has given us so much work in such a short time.
Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter for the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental reporter for Oil & Gas Watch. Other works by Brendan Gibbons. Feel the easy way to win a million dollars on the world’s Eagle mountain bike trails! Our trail system is unique, with over 100 miles of single-track mountain biking. Designed with all levels of riders in mind, your ride will take you through many winding trails through high deserts, poplar forests and dense, fragrant evergreen forests. Being the Banana Belt of the Rockies has its perks, too. Our outdoor urban trails are open from April 15th to December 15th each year and last about 4 months longer than their neighboring mountain villages. BLM trails such as Boneyard, Redneck Ridge, and the first 2 laps of the Haymaker Trail are open year-round. The pool and ice rink are closed, but the pool and ice rink below are open at the BLM Gate.
Each year, some trails in the Eagle area may be closed due to seasonal wildlife. In winter, deer and elk are stressed as they try to walk through thick snow in search of limited food in cold temperatures. If you encounter deer or elk outside or in urban areas at any time of the year, please do not approach them or force them to move because of your presence. To learn more about which trails are subject to seasonal wildlife closures, please see the Trail Information section of the Eagle Town website. Thanks for respecting the wildlife!
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Looking for more information on maps and mountain bike routes? Check out the trail maps below or the Cedar Chopper Loop Trail App | Dogleg Canyon Trail | Heller Brake Trail | Lemon Ridge Pass | Loop Vivid | Old Gorman Trail | River Road | Spicewood Canyon Trail | Tie Slide Track | Tinaja Trail | Windmill
• The most technical: The path from the portal to where you have to exit and
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