$5 per person 13 and older/day use (annual pass available for $70)
Coyote Run Nature Trail
| Fossil Ridge Trail | Spillway Hiking Trail
Whispering Meadow Trail | White-tail Hollow Trail
• Restrooms with hot showers
(all campsites provide a picnic table and grill, along with a campfire ring)
• Screened shelters
• Back-in campsites with utilities and shelters
• Dining hall and kitchen
When you arrive at Cleburne
State Park park at the trailhead right past the bathrooms on your left.
Shortly after hitting the trail you will come to a split and you will
be facing a quarry sign, go ahead and make a left which will have you
riding the trails counterclockwise. Sure, you can go clockwise, but
then you will have to read this review backwards.
The initial section, Camp Creek Loop, features a few steep, though short descents that I recommend you watch your speed on. Many of these fast descents like to throw in a switchback or sharp turn at the bottom. One nice thing about the climbs and descents, you don’t seem to climb much in order to enjoy the quick drops in elevation. Another noteworthy feature of this section is the numerous log crossings. Mostly made up of nice, packed singletrack, there are some rather rocky sections along Camp Creek Loop, so beginners beware.
A really welcomed feature of Cleburne’s trails is that 95% of them are in the shade. This, of course doesn’t change when you find yourself crossing the park road and dropping down along the Spillway Hiking Trail. If you have anyone that isn’t ready for the technical sections of Camp Creek Loop, this is a great place to start since its right down the road from the trailhead. The Spillway Hiking Trail on this side of the actual spillway combined with the White-tail Hollow Trail offers up the best singletrack you will find at Cleburne and is what makes Cleburne a must-ride if you are in the area. Nice, packed singletrack is the norm from this point on until you cross the actual spillway, so get ready to smile. The trail is fast, winding and laced with the occasional log crossing. Oh, and some spots are a bit tight, so watch those handlebars. You’ll eventually come out to the spillway and find yourself riding along side of it until you come to a 4-way intersection. If you make a right you’ll continue along the Spillway Hiking Trail (the not so fun part of it).
If you take my advice, ignore the choices and just go straight at the 4-way and continue following the spillway until the trail dips in the trees. Welcome to White-tail Hollow Trail. Almost nothing but pure singletrack with great grip, more twists than you can count, and more tight squeezes through the trees. This winding singletrack has ‘S’ curves and ‘SS’ curves (is there such a thing?) all over the place. As long as you are capable at staying upright at a very slow speed while navigating turns between trees, you’ll be good. At one point you will find yourself at a split overlooking the actual spillway. At this point, take the trail leading back in to the trees, don’t’ go up along the spillway or you will be heading uphill (make it a downhill by saving it for the return trip). At another point you may end up at the park road again. If you do, turn right, following alongside the road, and you’ll see the trail drop down towards the lake. Don’t take the rocky section where the trail splits, just follow the long stretch of singletrack that puts you up against the lake. Remember that uphill at the actual spillway? Get ready to go down it, on your way back to the 4-way intersection.
Personally, I say just keep riding along White-tail Hollow Trail, but if you wish to hit the entire trail and complete your trip around Cedar Lake, go ahead and cross the spillway at the 4-way intersection. Across the spillway the trail now seems to split three ways. Don’t worry; they all come out to the same trail/road where you will then turn left. As you continue along you’ll hit a few splits in the trail. No worry, they all come back together, though the first one is a ridiculous climb regardless of which way you go. Perhaps that’s their way of welcoming you to Coyote Run Nature Trail, a rather rocky stretch of trail whose climbs and descents are at about a 1:1 Ratio.
After the rocks of Coyote Run Nature Trail, you’ll come to Whispering Meadow Trail, a relaxing stretch of singletrack that is nice and smooth. If you end up like I did, though, you’ll pop out of the woods around campsites 24-31 (“Keyhole” on the map), just ride along the road to the right and you’ll see the trail pick back up. Enjoy it while you can, Fossil Ridge Trail is next.
Fossil Ridge Trail is well-named as there are in fact fossils here and there along the trail if you look closely. The bad news, however? Fossils are found in rocks, which mean that the trail is going to be quite rocky from this point on, with only the occasional shot of hard packed singletrack. Fossil Ridge Trail does provide some long fast descents, mind you, though they are very rocky which make things seem a little out of your control if you don’t watch your speed. Besides being a little unstable, the other bad part about the descents is that they rapidly transition into equally long, steep climbs. You’ll have to contend with 3 or 4 of these quick downs, slow ups until you reach the final descent. At the bottom of which it appears as if you are about to come out to the road again, but you will see the trail cut to the right. Once you make that descent it’s nice, smooth singletrack all the way back to the quarry sign, back to the trailhead.
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Nov 2008)