$4 per person 13 and older/day use (annual pass available for $70)
Fawn Trail (16 miles) | Buck Lake Trail (6 miles)
• Restrooms w/ showers
• Walk-in campsites w/ picnic tables and fire rings
• Campsites w/ water and electricity
• Dump station
• Picnic and day-use area near the river
• Contact Park Headquarters regarding periodic trail closings
South Llano River State
Park is surprisingly a decent place to ride and one you probably never
thought about. Sure, it has around 22 miles of multi-use trails, but
when you look around the internet, South Llano River is probably the
last place you will find listed as far as where to ride. That’s too
bad, though, because even though the trails are 99% doubletrack, they
aren’t like most Hill Country trails as far as rocks are concerned.
Yeah, South Llano River has rocks, but for the most part the majority
of them are confined to low lying areas, such as water crossings.
Perhaps the best place to park is behind the park headquarters. From this trailhead to Fawn Trail you begin on the only bit of singletrack there is and you also get to save the long, fast descent for your finale, provided you choose to go right when you reach the windmill [see map], of course. Speaking of ups and downs, Fawn Trail does feature a few steep climbs and descents, but for the most part is fairly level. Actually, very little is truly level as it always feels like you are gaining or losing elevation. Since I mentioned the map, it’s also worth noting that the blinds and stands marked on the map are of benefit when you are trying to orient yourself.
Trying to figure out the best way to hit every trail along Fawn Trail can be rather difficult if you are trying to avoid backtracking and riding sections more than once, so I can’t really help you there. I can, however, recommend that you avoid the perimeter sections on the south and south west sides [left and upper left on the map] and the section containing the hill on the east side [bottom of map] as they are fairly rough to ride. The best sections are the inner trails as they seemed to be more worn than the perimeter trails. I can’t speak for the western trails [top half of map] as the weather was looking bad so I had started to head back. It was a good call, too, considering the sky opened up a moment after I reached the trailhead. Quick note: between Markers 8 & 9 is a little above ground bathroom.
Although Fawn Trail lies within the Walter Buck WMA and is periodically closed, Buck Lake Trail does not. Buck Lake Trail is 4.1 miles of doubletrack if you ride every bit of it, and has multiple trailheads to choose from. The nice thing is that it runs along the banks of the South Llano River and its blue waters and, of course, encircles Buck Lake. The trail is almost completely hidden from the sun, but that also means it takes longer to dry out than Fawn Trail if it has rained recently. The trail itself is rather level the entire ride, with one hill that is a whole 30 ft in length. In other words, if you or someone you are with is just getting on a mountain bike for the first time, this is the place to play.
Whichever trail you decide to ride, if not both, rest assured it will be a good ride. Singletrack might be king to a mountain biker, but the doubletrack is quite decent at South Llano River State Park. Add to that the available camping and toobs to float down the river available at park headquarters and you have yourself a weekend of fun!
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Aug 2009)