MTB Project Logo

Outer Loop

Difficult
 3.4 (15)

A loop route through the Government Canyon State Natural Area (Backcountry).


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

12.0

Miles

19.2

KM

80%

Singletrack

1,379' 420 m

High

1,031' 314 m

Low

797' 243 m

Up

797' 243 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (1°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Heavy rains will close the trails, and also it is only open Friday through Monday. There could also be flowing/standing water on the trails after heavy rains; typically found on Joe Johnston by the dinosaur tracks.

Overview

The Outer Loop brings together the trails of Joe Johnston, Caroline's Loop, Sendero Balcones (north), Far Reaches Trail and Recharge Trail to take the rider on an 11.8-mile ride around the GCSNA Backcountry.

Need to Know

There are several overlook locations built along the trail. There is a 'rustic' restroom off Joe Johnston if needed.

There are NO WATER POINTS!

If riding in the summer months, ensure you bring plenty of fluids on your person. Along Joe Johnston, if you choose to not take Caroline's Loop, you'll find dinosaur tracks along the trail. There is a restroom on Little Windmill near its intersection with Joe Johnston.

Description

The Outer Loop route can be ridden in either direction. Although clockwise seems to be less challenging as you are going down more the rock shelves than climbing them. It begins on Joe Johnston at the Backcountry Trailhead.

From there, it is either 0.8 miles to go counterclockwise to Recharge Trail or 2.6 miles to Caroline's Loop. Caroline's Loop covers 2.3 miles and reconnects you to Joe Johnston for 0.7 miles before it turns into Sendero Balcones (north).

Caroline's Loop starts to draw you the picture of what to expect on Sendero Balcones (north) in terms of rock gardens and shelves. At the end of the north section of Sendero Balcones, you'll hit the intersection (marked with signs and a stump marker) of Wildcat Canyon, the continuation of Sendero Balcones (south) and Far Reaches Trail.

Turning onto Far Reaches Trail, the rocks become a little less prevalent, but still provide for a technical ride. Towards the end of Far Reaches Trail, it becomes a nice, rolling singletrack that you can open up on as it transitions into Recharge Trail and the end of the ride.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leonard Box

Trail Ratings

  3.4 from 15 votes

#2472

Overall
  3.4 from 15 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
20%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
20%
1 Star
13%
Recommended Route Rankings

#81

in Texas

#2,472

Overall
68 Views Last Month
9,020 Since Jun 28, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
7%
7%
80%
7%

Photos

It's always a good sign when the spring wildflowers choose to conform to your colors.
May 1, 2017 near Helotes, TX
Some nice smooth trails near Joe Johnson
Oct 9, 2019 near Helotes, TX
Nice tree cover on Joe Johnson
Oct 9, 2019 near Helotes, TX
Rocky uphill path going around Caroline's loop
Oct 9, 2019 near Helotes, TX
Riding up Joe Johnson.
Jun 28, 2016 near Helotes, TX
Lots of rocks on the outer loop near sendero balcones
Oct 9, 2019 near Helotes, TX

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2022
Carlos Alvarez
Mar 14, 2022
Dan Erwin
So many rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, sharp rocks, and hard rocks. I added Carolines Loop. 14.6mi — 2h 10m
Mar 13, 2022
Patrick Farrell
Nov 12, 2021
Timothy Mollett
12mi
Aug 28, 2021
Ryan R
12mi — 2h 02m
Jan 17, 2021
Jozsef Terenyi
Solid 2 star. Description needs serious update to warn about how incredibly rocky it is. Equivalent to 1 hour on jackhammer. Beautiful nature though. 13.4mi — 1h 17m
Jan 19, 2020
Chas Semon
Jan 5, 2020
Kenneth Fulton