singletrack; ranch road
$6 per person/day use(see site linked below for other fees)
• Camping (with or without electric/water)
• Party House
• Park Shelters
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• Most trails are designed for ATVs and dirt bikes
The trails at Buffalo
Springs Lake might not have been originally designed for mountain biking,
but surprisingly, with all of the dirt bike and ATV traffic, are quite
a pleasure to ride. Although the maps available at the front gate simply
give you a layout of the area (roads and such), you really don’t need
a trail-specific map. Mountain biking is allowed anywhere that ATVs
are allowed. There are three such areas: the Beginner ATV area, which
is just an open field and not worth the time; the Caliche Pit, which
entails a very rocky, steep climb to reach and then offers only disappointment
to a mountain biker; and, the ATV/Dirt Bike Trails on the south west
side of the lake, this is where you want to be. There are signs to let
you know you are at the right place.
Once you park, you can head up to the trails pretty much any one of the many hills. At first you might think what I thought, “What the…!? I think I just wasted $5!” But don’t worry, only the diehard climbers will elect to pedal up, but once you reach the top the trail is much more suited for pedal power. The trails seem to go all over the place without any sense of organization, so if this is your first time going to BSL, be glad you have this website.
There are two options once you reach the top, three if you count randomly riding the inner trails. Option 1 is great for beginners – follow the dirt road and keep making right turns at any forks in the trail to stay on it. Once you reach some stables/a real road, just turn around. Being just a dirt road with little elevation change, this route can only be rated a 1, but is relaxing and suitable for those not ready for the other sections of Buffalo Springs Lake and provides a couple miles of riding. Option 2 can be done one of two ways. You can elect to ride the dirt road out, and the singletrack back, or make it an out and back of nothing but singletrack. If you choose to take the dirt road, simply follow it like I mentioned above, but when you turn around at the stables look over to the right and you should see glorious singletrack. Take it!
Just like the dirt road, anytime the singletrack splits, make a right, this will keep you on the path seemingly less traveled by ATVs and dirt bikes. About 90% of the time, the singletrack has you up against the cliffs overlooking Buffalo Springs Lake, which may seem a bit unnerving to some. Throughout the ride, there are plenty of opportunities for some ridiculously steep climbs if you are into that, but whenever you are faced with one the trail almost always provides the choice of simply riding around it and heading back to the cliffs. Stick with the singletrack only and you won’t be facing any overly crazy climbs. Of course, the only downside to that is the lack of any really fast downhill runs. Of course, being that close to the cliffs, do you really want to be flying downhill? Of course you do, but you won’t, so deal with it. The only really steep, and therefore fast, descent will come at the very end of the ride. You’ll know you have reached the end when you come to a large patch of black dirt (see photos). Just turn right and hold on! Welcome back to the parking area. Note: this patch of black dirt is also where you will start if you choose to not ride the dirt road. If, after riding the route I just covered you find it to be too short (it’s around 5.5 miles) you can either do it again, or venture into the center of the trail area and hit some of the countless random trails and see what happens. Just be aware that these trails are laced with really steep climbs, much rockier areas and such.
All things considered, Buffalo Springs Lake is definitely worth the $5, with its views of the lake, riding along the cliffs, and interesting cliff formations (like large holes in the ground that opened up to the side of the cliffs) $5 isn’t much; however, with May Simmons Park right up the road and free of charge, it’s a tough call. Actually, it’s not, ride ‘em both!
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Aug 2008)