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Big Bike Off Road Central TX

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Howdy All,

Made it to Austin, 7 states in 10 days from Southern California. Been poking around the site and found a few spots near Bastrop that seem big bike friendly off-road. I ride a BMW GS Adventure, any regional off road destinations or further out there areas worth riding to would be much appreciated. Would love to meet local riding buddies as well. Hope to see you out there.

Cheers,
Isaac
 

Tourmeister

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Isaac,

Better clarify what you mean by "off-road". Are you talking about trails or just unpaved roads like forest service roads and some county roads?

In Texas, there really isn't much in the way of public land with trails to ride. Most of the trail riding is on private land, with the exception of the Sam Houston NF trails, but you probably don't want to get in there on a GSA unless you ride like Chris Birch :-P There is a lot of sand and roots.

In the greater Austin area, most of the little roads have been getting paved or chip sealed. In most cases you have to get a good ways out to get to any dirt roads. Richard Gibbens ( @Trail Boss ) is the go to guy for adventure riding in Central Texas.

If you head my way, into the Piney Woods of East Texas, there is more dirt and sand. Between Austin and I-45, most of the dirt roads are hard packed gravel. The close you get to I-45, the more you will start seeing some sand. Once you get East of I-45, you start to see a lot more sand, clay, and gravel where they are putting it down on the sand and clay. I am in Huntsville, which is right on I-45 about an hour North of Houston.

Here is a neat site that shows lots of dirt roads. I've added most of the ones within 50 miles of Huntsville as these are roads I ride regularly on my 1200 GS.


Unless it has been raining pretty good, most all of these roads will be big bike friendly. Get a good rain though and even the little bikes will be exciting! :eek2:
 
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Isaac,

Better clarify what you mean by "off-road". Are you talking about trails or just unpaved roads like forest service roads and some county roads?

In Texas, there really isn't much in the way of public land with trails to ride. Most of the trail riding is on private land, with the exception of the Sam Houston NF trails, but you probably don't want to get in there on a GSA unless you ride like Chris Birch :-P There is a lot of sand and roots.

In the greater Austin area, most of the little roads have been getting paved or chip sealed. In most cases you have to get a good ways out to get to any dirt roads. Richard Gibbens ( @Trail Boss ) is the go to guy for adventure riding in Central Texas.

If you head my way, into the Piney Woods of East Texas, there is more dirt and sand. Between Austin and I-45, most of the dirt roads are hard packed gravel. The close you get to I-45, the more you will start seeing some sand. Once you get East of I-45, you start to see a lot more sand, clay, and gravel where they are putting it down on the sand and clay. I am in Huntsville, which is right on I-45 about an hour North of Houston.

Here is a neat site that shows lots of dirt roads. I've added most of the ones within 50 miles of Huntsville as these are roads I ride regularly on my 1200 GS.


Unless it has been raining pretty good, most all of these roads will be big bike friendly. Get a good rain though and even the little bikes will be exciting! :eek2:

Thanks, Scott!

Anything off pavement is typically when you get the most scenic and beautiful roads. I'm no Chris Birch but I do have thousands of miles of off road in the mountains and major parks in California, Oregon, and Washington State. I'm an advanced-level ADV rider. Crazy once you get into Texas how so much of that stops. No BLM land in Texas and very few NF. I'm here for a few months and I'm sure I could find some great stuff in central Texas, the Hill Country is beautiful but admittedly I'm accustomed to having so much in my backyard in Southern California. From Death Valley to Joshua Tree to Mojave to the Sequoias and so much more. That said, sand is still not my favorite on a big bike haha. She's a big girl and just sinks right into that business.

I'll reach out to TrailBoss and see what he has to say as well, thanks for the suggestion. If you find yourself in these parts, hit me up would love to coordinate a ride.

Safe Riding,
Isaac
 

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I like this map but not accurate around Thorndale many more that it shows.
Thanks for posting

Looking at the one in the link, I can see that it is not entirely accurate around Huntsville and surrounding areas either.

I've yet to find any map that was totally accurate. When planning trips, I will consult as many different maps as I can. Getting out there to verify in person is the fun part :-P
 

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Crazy once you get into Texas how so much of that stops. No BLM land in Texas and very few NF.

This is because Texas was its own country before it became a state, so most of the land was already privately owned when it became a state. Many of the Western states where BLM land is so prevalent were territories before they became states and the Feds just assumed ownership of all that land when they became states. Of course many of the NF/NPs came later, but they were still Fed land I think before they became NF/NPs.
 

lawman1841

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This is because Texas was its own country before it became a state, so most of the land was already privately owned when it became a state. Many of the Western states where BLM land is so prevalent were territories before they became states and the Feds just assumed ownership of all that land when they became states. Of course many of the NF/NPs came later, but they were still Fed land I think before they became NF/NPs.
The Republic of Texas had some unique negotiating strengths when becoming a U.S. state. Unlike other states who had to concede their public lands to the U.S. upon gaining statehood, Texas said, "No. We're keeping ours." Most of it was sold by the state in subsequent years, much of it to fund the state's university system. That's my useless bit of trivia for this Tuesday.
 

WFO75080

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I can pretty much stay on dirt/gravel all day out here east and north of Greenville. In the winter months some of the roads are rather tough because of big tractors and the 4 wheel drive folks, and it's sandy as opposed to black gumbo. Tough on anything bigger than a 500.
My plan is to make it to make it to Shreveport on mostly dirt/gravel one day.
 
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Mr2mch

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For day rides from Austin.... The area from there up to Waco between I35 & US281 is prob 99% paved....but lots of fun lil pavement. West of 281 is where the pavement lessens it grip.

From Waco/Gatesville to the west & north... Bosque Mills & Erath are mostly gravel county roads. McLennan is mostly paved while Limestone is gravel

Be sure to pick up a Roads of Texas Atlas or a Benchmark Texas Road & Recreation Atlas to see all the county roads easily when plannin a ride. The Butler Hill Country Map is good too but only covers a smaller area of Texas (but nearby to ya)


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Mr2mch

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Thanks, Scott!

Anything off pavement is typically when you get the most scenic and beautiful roads. I'm no Chris Birch but I do have thousands of miles of off road in the mountains and major parks in California, Oregon, and Washington State. I'm an advanced-level ADV rider. Crazy once you get into Texas how so much of that stops. No BLM land in Texas and very few NF. I'm here for a few months and I'm sure I could find some great stuff in central Texas, the Hill Country is beautiful but admittedly I'm accustomed to having so much in my backyard in Southern California. From Death Valley to Joshua Tree to Mojave to the Sequoias and so much more. That said, sand is still not my favorite on a big bike haha. She's a big girl and just sinks right into that business.

I'll reach out to TrailBoss and see what he has to say as well, thanks for the suggestion. If you find yourself in these parts, hit me up would love to coordinate a ride.

Safe Riding,
Isaac
& be sure to check out the Boss' thread on TWT... the best Hill Country rides


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Oops...I forgot...Takytawk dont like no links

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Why is that? Always work just fine for me. Photos also. I know you've stated problems for them also. Maybe your device?

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