$8 per adult/day use
see map above
• Hot showers
• Small dock on Turkey Tank
• The Bike ER (bikes sales and rentals)
• Bike wash
• Texas Longhorn beef available for purchase (weekends feature burgers for sale)
Note: call as early as 6 a.m. for trail info, it's ok!
• Trails are one way with pink
ribbons on your left.
• Hours of operation:
7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sunday - Thursday
7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday
If you haven’t set foot
on Bluff Creek Ranch, you have no idea what you are missing. If you
have, but not in the last few months, you need to get back out there
and check out the new route following Gas Pass!
As you pull into Bluff Creek Ranch, follow the ranch road back to the Nolan home in order to sign-in and pick up a map of the trail, and then get ready for some of the best singletrack thrills offered by the Lone Star State.
Starting out along the ranch road, you’ll quickly realize that BCR is designed for speed as you encircle Deer Park Tank. Moments after, you’ll dip into 30 Aker Woods and soon find yourself winding past the pines, over the roots and wanting to push as much speed as you can into and out of the turns. Indy Loop provides plenty of opportunity for all of that, as well, with its long straight-aways (ok, not quite straight) running up and down the length of 30 Aker Woods. A word of caution, however; this is a mountain bike ranch, which means technical features abound, so do not ride faster than your ability. Indy Loop (along with the subsequent sections: Twin Pines, Spaghetti Bends, and Sidewinder), although fast, features everything you would expect and hope for in this part of Texas: quick dips, quicker climbs, roots all over and a few loose, sandy sections to make sure you are paying attention. All of this equals big fun right out the gate. One point of interest you will quickly catch on to is the desire to minimize erosion and maximize the amount of time the trail is open for riding. This is evident in the frequent use of wood structures (e.g., bridges, platforms, reinforcements) and other suitable materials over areas most likely to fall victim to the effects of erosion, be it from water or knobby tires. It’s this type of interest in preserving the land that will keep BCR around for a long while.
As you regretfully leave 30 Aker Woods behind (until your next lap), you will have an opportunity to run with the bulls as you blaze down Cattle Chute. Reality is, the bulls are probably not even going to so much as give you a wink, but that’s ok. Cattle Chute is practically one long, straight shot designed to get you to the best parts of BCR as soon as possible (that’s my theory, anyhow) and the quiet trip around Merdack Tank and along the Back Forty is perhaps the calm before the storm…the storm better known as Gas Pass. It’s at this point that BCR begins to fully assert its place at the top of the list of Texas’ best mountain bike trails.
Even if you have never been within 100 miles of BCR, you have probably heard of Gas Pass…and with good reason: Gas Pass is the crown jewel of Bluff Creek Ranch. As you approach you take heed to the sign telling you to enter slowly, scoot back on the seat and have those brakes ready. The descent is nearly 45 degrees, narrow, leaves little if any room for error on both sides. It’s great! The recent reroute of Gas Pass has you quickly hugging the bluff as you round the corner and runs you through a series of singletrack rollers and a view of the upcoming trail down below (a.k.a. Phew View). As it turns and descends the rollers become more pronounced as you feel that you just have to pedal faster.
As you fly into Hay Meadow and enjoy the short-lived break, be prepared for the climb that awaits you. The secret to BCR are the frequent descents, but few climbs. These few climbs, however, are in your face and make you earn every bit of descending you have done or will do. One such climb you will find right before Mule Trace. Steady and steep, but remember: what goes up, must come down. Reach the climb, make the turn and you are rewarded with yet another rapid descent that leads in to a pair of hard packed, banked turns. Translation: more speed, of course. Shortly thereafter you will find yourself approaching the impressive Pay Dirt Bridge, a wood bridge spanning the width of the wide ravine below. It, too, is an increase in elevation, yet is lined in order to assist with traction. How thoughtful! Don’t relax just yet, though, for the Palisades await you.
The Palisades are perhaps BCR’s most demanding ascent, spanning at least 100+ yards of steady singletrack climbing. Don’t be fooled, however, what looks like the top of the climb is simply a slight shift to the left, followed by its other half. With that said, it’s essential to gain momentum in the downhills leading up to this. What follows shortly after the Palisades is an impressive display of woodwork known as The Hay Stacks, allowing you to cross above the cuts in the terrain. As you come out of the woods you will come to the section know as BMX, a series of jumps and banked turns that let you catch a little air on your way to Roller Coaster, a quick section laced with roots for your riding pleasure.
Coming out from Roller Coaster is the Launch Pad, a wood ramp designed to jettison you right into Turkey Tank; perfect for those hot Texas summers. We recommend you follow the trail around Turkey Tank for now, however, to the Bidet and on through the Barn and back to the house for an Authentic Longhorn Burger with all the trimmings! As Texas’ first true mountain bike ranch, there is little doubt that Bluff Creek Ranch is arguably still the best!
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Mar 2009)