A gem in East Texas. This professionally-designed trail system connects easily to the network of paved paths through town.
The generally sandy soil here makes tire selection difficult. I recommend the widest tires you can fit on your bike, especially in the front. This twisty trail tries to toss you from your bike as you enter sandy corners with speed in some sections. In midsummer, this trail gets very loose with the dry weather. It actually improves with some soil moisture, but beware of riding after heavy storms this region is prone to experience. You may encounter washouts and newly downed trees. Fire prevention efforts with heavy machinery can also result in temporarily unrideable trails.
introduces one-way flow trails to the region with its clay berms, jumps, and fast sections. The Downhill Loop
offers a taste of constructed obstacles with its elevated sections, drops, a tabletop jump, and a wooden bermed wall ride.
There is a parking lot for this trail system at the Northeast corner of Starr and University Dr., but it's not the only entry point. There is another trailhead on the east side of University Dr. at College, as well as another at the University Apartments. Being close to the University, a lot of the lots require permits. The lot at Starr and University is a safe bet for folks from out of town.
Since this trail system connects to other trails in town, other parking areas away from the university are also options. For variations on this ride, try parking at the E. Main St. entrance to the Lanana Creek Trail
(for more dirt trail) or one of the many access points to the paved portions of the Lanana Creek Trail
At the parking lot, take a short warm-up along some of the paved paths through the gardens. After you cross the large wooden bridge over the creek, hang a left to start the dirt. This portion of Creekside
is mostly easy, but there are some steep whoop-de-doos and a big downed tree with a lot of optional lines. At the end, follow the lollipop counter-clockwise and backtrack.
When you cross the paved path, you'll enter an easier section of Creekside
that serves as an entry to the trail system from the south. It will take you to the lower Traffic Circle where all the other trails connect. For this ride, follow Perimeter
up the hill. This climb isn't too difficult, and near the top you can take a break by riding the obstacles on the Downhill Loop
before resuming your climb to the top of the hill near the water tower (the upper Traffic Circle).
When you get to the top, take a run down Scooby
. You'll appreciate the respite after grinding up the hill. You might want to scope this one out before really pushing it. This trail is downhill-only, but there's no telling how pedestrians will handle it. Some pedestrians follow the directional signs and won't see you coming while others go opposite so they can see you the best they can. They shouldn't be on this trail in the first place, but the land manager is slow to place new signs. Enjoy the bermed sections and the "natural" wall ride.
At the lower Traffic Circle, take Labyrinth
back to the top of the hill. Like Perimeter
, this is a two-way trail. It's very twisty with some fun little obstacles.
Back at the top of the hill, take follow Gateway
to the north. This is a pretty easy trail with some fun sections and tight curves, but shortly after crossing the access road to the water tower, there's a straight section with a lot of loose sand when it's dry.
At the end of Gateway
, you'll have the choice of taking Rocky Road at the top of the hill or Bois d'Arc lower on the hill. Both are two-way trails, but this ride takes you down Rocky Road first. There are a few small rock gardens along this trail, so conserve your momentum and choose your line carefully!
Where Rocky Road and Bois d'Arc merge again, you'll begin Coathanger
, which is pretty fast as you carve your way down the hill, but watch for uphill riders grinding away.
After climbing back up Coathanger
, take Bois d'Arc, which feels very much like a tunnel through dense jungle. Backtrack along Gateway
to the upper Traffic Circle, and take a second run down Scooby
for good measure. Return to the paved path to return to the parking lot.
This property used to have a network of trails on it called the Raider's Trails that were maintained by various random riders in town for many years. In the 2000's, there were many rickety wooden structures built along the pipeline ROW that crosses the eastern portion of the property, increasing liability for the University (the landowner).
The trails were nearly closed entirely in favor of paved garden paths. The garden paths were still built, but on a much more limited basis, because of lobbying from local riders. Dwayne Buratti was hired to consult on the design of a new trail system, and he trained volunteers to build it after he left.
What results are the current SFA Recreational Trails.