• Trail is marked for different level riders
Located next to Dunbar
Historic Lake, Mae Simmons Park is what many might consider switchback
heaven. Parking is located right across the street from the trailhead,
so park, grab your bike and start pedaling. The trail starts out in
a wide open field, and offers a few choices of how to go. I elected
to take the first left, thereby riding the entire length of the trail
clockwise, though you can elect to go straight, thereby bypassing the
open field portion of the trail system and probably knocking at least
1-1.5 miles off the total length. Take the left and you’ll find yourself
winding up and down and around the rolling hills, occasionally ducking
between a few trees here and there, and finding a few opportunities
to get some nice speed. If you choose to go straight from the start,
the trail will turn right and you’ll cross a small wooden bridge, followed
by the signs denoting the color coded arrows for ‘beginner’, ‘sport’,
and ‘expert’ levels.
As you enter the wooded areas you may notice that the sides of the trail can be a bit overgrown in some spots. No big deal really, unless the flora is covered in early morning dew or a little rain. In which case expect to have wet ankles. Other than that, the trail seems either well-maintained or well-ridden, and that’s a good thing.
Mae Simmons is very well laid out, using the terrain to the rider’s advantage. For every climb there’s an even better descent and the design utilizes the land as much as possible; hence, the numerous switchbacks. Just take a look at the satellite image on Google and you will see just how much this trail winds around. It’s great! Another great thing about this trail is the way it accommodates all levels of riders. When a difficult section comes up, the trail splits and the arrows tell you which way to go. Once that particular section is done, the trail returns the rider back to the regular trail – where they may find their not as daring riding partner waiting. The really nice thing is that by electing to take the sport/expert route, you aren’t missing out on much of the ‘regular’ trail in terms of length. The only odd split I noted was towards the very end, where the sport/expert riders are sent one way (towards the trailhead) and the beginner is sent back to the beginning where the little wooden bridge is so they can apparently ride it all over again.
You’ll find yourself riding through and around typical Texas vegetation: prickly pear, Juniper Ashe (Cedar), and other things I can’t seem to name right now. There are sections laced with loose rock, well-packed dirt, a little loose sand in a spot or two, and even a wooden “walkway” that features about a 2 foot drop, all following a quick descending switchback, of course. Immediately following the “walkway” you will find 3 large dirt mounds that you ride in a ‘U’ shape. Fun, fun!
Oh, before I forget, watch out for the prairie dogs!
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Aug 2008)