“This ride is what locals call the "Outer Loop," covering the perimeter of Cedar Lake.”
— keith radons
Lots to explore via the many trails around the lake. Plenty of wildlife can be seen, including wild hogs, deer and fox, to name a few.
Trails will close after rains. Call before you visit.
This trail system is located in Cleburne State Park, surrounding the naturally spring-fed Cedar Lake. Although this ride is just a little over 5 miles with only a couple hundred feet of elevation gain, it will work you. You'll encounter many different types of terrain, including fast-rolling, hard-pack singletrack, loose (ball-bearing) limestone rock, baby-head sized up to solid embedded slabs of rock that are fairly grippy. The scenic overlook area on the limestone bluffs at the top of the spillway climb offer great lake views. This ride has more exposure than the other trails, as well as seasonal creek crossings and very rugged (eroded) climbs and descents! Some hike-a-bike sections may be in order, but offer plenty of challenge for fitness and handling skills to be improved on!
Need to Know
There is a $5 fee for park admittance. There is RV camping, screened shelters for rental, a day use beach area, a new covered pier for fishing and a boat ramp. Hiking, kayaking, and a playground. Lots to see and do! Make sure to fill your Camelback in the summer!
This ride has no mandatory directionality, however this description is for a counter-clockwise direction.There are no signs marking trail names but there are color-coded markers. Pick up a detailed map at the ranger station.
Starting at the first restrooms and main trailhead parking area upon entrance to the park, you'll see a clear patch of singletrack threading between two big cedar trees. Take this trail and follow the painted bike lane that crosses the park road and starts you onto the dirt singletrack, Spillway Trail
. You'll wind around on this mostly smooth trail for roughly 1/4 of a mile. The trail will drop onto a limestone shelf which you'll need to cross the creek and start up the other side. The continuing trail splits, but both sections will come to a doubletrack park service road. Go left following along the doubletrack road another 1/4 mile and that will bring you to the Spillway climb.
This is a steep, loose, and ledgy technical climb. My hat's off to you if you can clean it! At the top is a scenic overlook of the lake below. Catch a breeze and your breath if you need. The trail continues roughly 1/4 mile to a split at the fence line. Take a left here and speed down a rocky chute then quickly back up a huge slab of rock. Shortly after reaching the top of this climb, the trail turns into the Coyote Run Nature Trail
From this point on you'll mostly follow the park fence line. Be ready for quick shifting as there are a lot of ups followed by downs for the next mile or so until you reach the end of the Coyote Run Nature Trail
. The trail "Y's." Going left takes you to the Coyote Run Nature Trail
parking area, continue turning right at the cedars and this begins the Fossil Ridge Trail
You'll begin a slight climb up loose limestone to a nice flat stretch of dirt singletrack through a grassy meadow. The trail dives back into the trees and you are back into a series of ups and downs over a variety of rocky and hard packed terrain for roughly the next 1-1/4 miles. You'll cross West Fork Camp Creek which, depending on the season, may or may not be full. Coming out the other side of the creek you'll follow a nice flat stretch of dirt singletrack before coming to a decent-sized, loose rocky limestone climb. At the top of this climb, the trail continues slightly upwards with a mix of dirt and scattered embedded rock past the park water tower.
Now the real big roller coaster ups and downs start. The next mile is filled with long technical rocky descents and ascents. Ledgy stair-step rock slabs, loose baby-heads and water drainage's keep you on your toes and your lungs burning. These are mostly straight fall-lines that erosion has been hammering away at over the years. Finally, after about 5/8 of a mile you come down the last downhill roller heading towards the park road. A quick right turn just before the road takes you onto a sweet dirt singletrack. After another 1/2 mile, the trail splits and here you can opt out at the parking area by going left. But continuing forward the Camp Creek Loop
can serve as a cool down, offering a mile of relatively flat, easy singletrack winding through the oaks and cedars, finally bringing you back to the parking area.
History & Background
Earthen dam and 3-tier spillway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.