You’ve likely come to this page because you’re either thinking about trying mountain biking, have just begun mountain biking, or want to help someone get started mountain biking. There are many fantastic options for trail riding in the greater North Texas area. In fact, there are so many trails available—at every skill level from super-easy to extremely-dangerous—that determining where to ride as a beginner can be confusing.
Guess what? You’ve come to the right place! One of our goals here at NTX Trails is to help new riders get started riding in a fun and safe way by pointing you toward area trails that are best-suited for your skills and experience. As your confidence and abilities grow, you can revisit this guide to determine the next set of trails to ride close to home.
Classifying Trail Difficulty
Almost all trails in North Texas—if not most of the world—use IMBA’s Trail Difficulty Rating System to inform users in general terms what they might expect to find on any given trail. In short, IMBA’s rating system is as follows:
- Easiest (white circle)
- Easy—Beginner (green circle)
- More Difficult—Intermediate (blue square)
- Very Difficult—Advanced (black diamond)
- Extremely Difficult—Expert (double-black diamond)
While we think IMBA’s system is great—and something with which you should familiarize yourself—for the purposes of this Progression Guide let us introduce a similar system that offers greater refinement to help you better discern where you should (and should not) attempt to ride.
Choosing The Best Trail for Your Skill Level
Most people will begin with trails with few features and not much elevation change—typically referred to as a green trail. Sections of certain trails will have these characteristics, but there are few trails that have ALL of those characteristics in common. Therefore, we think it’s wise to borrow the Class I, II, III, IV, and V System from the Whitewater Rafting world.
As stated above, we’re well aware that green, blue, and black are used on many trails, and you’ll find those rating used throughout this site. However, we believe the I-V Classification gives more nuance as you begin choosing trails that best fit your current skill set.
The following Progression Guide uses the I-V Classification System to rank North Texas trails so you can find a trail near you that suits your skill and confidence level. We encourage you to check back often as new and existing trails are added to our rating system, and as trails are re-evaluated due to specific changes.
NOTE: While not listed or discussed here, Greenways, or White (Easiest) trails, would obviously be categorized as Class 0 trails. The Greenway trails listed here on NTX Trails may be paved or non-paved surfaces, so conditions may vary.
Be sure to pay attention to which loops or segments of the trail listed below fall within each class.
A flat trail that has some features, but always has a bypass for those features. Greenways (trails typically rated as “white”) are not included in this class.
- Chisenhall Bike Trails
- Corinth Community Trail: All segments
- Coyote Loop in Burleson (not in Frisco)
- Frisco Northwest Community: Ranger Loop only
- Goat Island Preserve
- Katie Jackson Park: All but the dirt jumps
- L.B. Houston: All loops
- Lost Creek Reservoir
- River Legacy: Everything except EKG, AED, and Funtown
- Rowlett Creek Preserve: Loops 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
A mostly flat trail that has some undulations, including a couple challenging climbs. The technical features are still minimal and almost always have a bypass. This is for fitter riders who feel comfortable on Class I trails.
- Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
- Big Cedar Wilderness: I Can and Dragonfly loops
- Erwin Park
- Frisco Northwest Community: All other loops besides Ranger
- Harry Moss
- River Legacy: Fun Town
- Rowlett Creek Preserve: Loops 1a, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12
- Sister Grove
- Squabble Creek
- Windmill Hill Preserve
These trails both have some more climbing and some technical riding that necessitates some skill and experience. If you can comfortably do these trails, then you can start considering going out of town on trips to places like Phil’s World (Cortez, CO), Iron Mountain (Arkadelphia, AR), some Oklahoma trails, and Bentonville, AR.
- Barber Hills
- Big Cedar: All remaining loops
- Binkley Park
- Boulder Park: Blue bypasses and everything else
- Cedar Hill State Park
- Faulkner Park
- Isle du Bois State Park: loops A, B, C
- Johnson Branch State Park: (everything but the red loop)
- Knob Hills
- Lindsey Park
- Northshore East Side: Loops 1 through 4
- Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
- Possum Kingdom: Park at D&D Loop road. Everything east of D&D and west of the Hamilton trailhead—not the two-way segment between D&D and the Hamilton trailhead.
- River Legacy: EKG & AED
- Rowlett Creek Preserve: Loops 7, 13, and 14
- Tyler State Park: Loop B
- Wichita Falls Wee-Chi-Tah Trail
This is some of the toughest stuff in North Texas. Whether it’s prolonged climbs that include technical riding, or just prolonged rock gardens, these will test your fitness AND skill. However, these challenges have enough “easy” sections between them to give your legs and lungs a rest for the next challenge. If you can do these comfortably, you can start considering trips out of town to places like Albuquerque, NM, Moab, UT (The Whole Enchilada), the Ouachita Mountains, AR, and a many more Oklahoma trails.
- Boulder Park: Red bypasses
- Dinosaur Valley State Park
- Isle du Bois: Loops D and E. Loop D is a Class 4.5—especially if you include the optional “expert” sections—and E is a Class IV.
- Johnson Branch State Park: Red loop
- Northshore West Side: Loop 5 is a Class 3.5. Loops 6 & 7E definitely belong in this category. Loop 7W is a class 4.5.
- Possum Kingdom: The two-way segment between D&D and the Hamilton trailhead.
- Tyler State Park: Loops A, C, and D
- Waco Cameron Park
This is seriously the toughest, gnarliest stuff you can find anywhere in North Texas. The technical riding and climbing is usually continuous. Bring your walking shoes, because even if you’ve got amazing talent and fitness, these trails will humble you! If you just love this stuff, you should go take trips to places like Angel Fire/Taos, NM, Bentonville, AR (for their DH stuff), Moab, UT, and lots of Colorado riding.