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  1. #1
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    First Time to Barton Creek Greenbelt - Advice Please!

    Hi,
    I got my first full suspension bike last week and so far have only been able to ride once (Terry Hershey Park - Houston). On Friday I plan on biking at Barton Creek, but i have never ridden there and am perplexed by where to drop in and where the good trails are!

    I would love to find some of the back trails I have heard about but after scouring the forum I'm still not quite sure where they are, where to drop into the trail system, or even where to look for them. From google earth I see trails to the north and west of the end of the Hill of Life. Are these some of the good backtrails? Where should I park? How do I get the most excitement out of my ride?

    Thanks for any advice!!

  2. #2
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    Not from Austin but...

    this is what I know. Go to Zilker Park and find Barton Springs. If you're looking at the pool follow the parking lot to your left and in the back of it there is a barton creek trailhead. I've ridden out from here about 5-6 miles and turned around, not sure how long the trail is but it's pretty fun FS should be good here because it's super rocky with a few ups and down but no major climbs that I recall. As for back trails I don't know about those but I imagine there might be some cool spurs off of the main trail. Watch out for runners and hikers w/dogs. For more info on this and tons of other trails check out the "Mountain bike Texas" website, they have a ton of good places to ride listed in the whole state, Wear helmet, bring water, a snack, have fun. Keep riding your bike! Hope this helps. Peace.

  3. #3
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    oops

    follow the parking lot to your right not your left.

  4. #4
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    Dont start at zilker. Thats what ive been doing for the past year and i finally began dropping in at the hill of life and its been grand. Park in the neighborhood and then youll just have to poke around the hill, youll find em. Pm me if you need details

  5. #5
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    I have actually been to Zilker Park before so know how to find that trailhead, thank you though!

    alexhusby12 seems to understand what I am looking for, the backtrails devoid of pedestrians and more exciting than the main trail.

    I think parking near the Hill of Life is what ill do. I'm up for exploring, riding 7 miles from Zilker to begin exploring seems a little tedious though. I plan on fully exploring the park in the upcoming months but with my limited time on Friday I would like to get straight to the trails iv heard so much about.

    I can't wait to ride here. Perhaps I will post up a gps map and some pictures on Sunday.

  6. #6
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    Duplicate post. How do i delete this? haha

  7. #7
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    Best advice for the GB is to find someone to ride with who knows the trails. I've ridden out there 30+ times, and still end up on new trails I haven't seen. If you just go exploring, you will get lost--the place is a maze of trails. Post up on bikemojo.com in the VooDoo forum, as it is Austin based and people post up about GB rides nearly everyday.

  8. #8
    Spring! Spring! Spring!
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    Contact "Austin Bike" - either here or on BikeMojo - if he's in-country he's usually hitting the BCGB on the weekend. Good dude. Likes beer.

    Addendum:

    - dropping in at TacoDeli off Barton Skyway gives you a bit of warmup while heading upstream before hitting the juicy stuff, a great ending to cap off the ride with, and a natural place to recover and refuel at after you park the bike

    - dropping in at the Hwy 360 parking area gives you ready access up n down stream to lots of good trail

    - heading upstream from 360, keep you eye out for side trails and explore

    - pack more water than you think you need

    ;^)
    Last edited by bear; 02-09-2011 at 05:14 PM.

  9. #9
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    as it turns out, the best ways to learn about BCGB are:
    A. find someone who knows the trails and follow them around.
    B. go in alone, get lost, get stung by bees, climb pointless rocky trails, get stuck in a mosquito-infested creek and ride your bike through BB-deep water to escape.

    I chose the latter.

    the first part of my ride was fun. I can clear most of the techy stuff on my SS rigid bike. then I got to this:


    is the this famous Hill of Life?

    then I got to this hill, which required that I shoulder my bike to climb up the rocks. I don't think this was ever meant to be ridden. it was hard enough to scramble up on all fours.

    [/URL]

    I realized my mistake but kept going. I reached the top of the hill with a tree fort and what appeared to be a zip line across the creek.



    I ended up near the water treatment plant and had to hike my bike back down to the creek. I could not find a trail out of there, so i just pedaled across the creek. soggy socks for the rest of the ride!



    the ride back from here was fairly easy. I still had a hard time discerning the good trails from the dead ends. at one point I was stung by a bee, then reached a dead end. I had to go back past a bee nest in the ground and got stung a second time. fortunately it was only 2 stings and not 200.

    I will figure it out eventually.

  10. #10
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    the worst part about exploring the BCBG is trying to explore a side trail only to find out that it craps out after 1/2 mile.

    ive been riding out there for the 2 years ive lived in Austin adn when I ride alone, I still get onto crap trails and get lost. i try to ride with someone who knows their way better than me most of the time

  11. #11
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    You guys need a guide. And nobody ever PMs me. Out there all the time.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  12. #12
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    I'm not brave enough to ride out there alone. Plus I get pissed off when I get lost. Only ridden it once, wouldn't mind trying it again.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post

    the first part of my ride was fun. I can clear most of the techy stuff on my SS rigid bike. then I got to this:


    is the this famous Hill of Life?

    then I got to this hill, which required that I shoulder my bike to climb up the rocks. I don't think this was ever meant to be ridden. it was hard enough to scramble up on all fours.
    I know someone who used to do hill repeats on the Hill of Life and know a guy who can easily climb it on a single speed. I can clear it, though I require gears and prefer suspension. Those ledges is what riding in Austin is all about. If you were at the bottom and rode a trail to the left, you'd come to a trail heading uphill parallel to the HOL. That one is some fun singletrack and can lead you places.

    And like Austin Bike stated, send him a PM to get a guided ride. He knows and rides with plenty of people who know those trails well.

    D

  14. #14
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    I'll be heading down Oct 23-27 for a wedding. Hoping to have all day thursday and possibly some of Friday to ride. Going to be staying near UT campus. I was considering renting from University Cycles but they only rent Giant Revels, not exactly my idea of "fun", so I think I'll be renting from the Bicycle Sport Shop and going with a Trek Stache 7. Not sure if my wife will ride or not, she's in the wedding and may be pre-occupied with other goings-on.

    austin_bike, I've checked out your site and will probably be dropping you a PM sometime closer to the trip.

    Planning on hitting the Green Belt.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  15. #15
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    I will be around Thursday and Friday, heading to Barcelona on Saturday.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  16. #16
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    dang, I should have read this earlier. I just got home. beaten, bruised, cut, scraped, and sore. got really lost again. I really wish there were SOME sort of basic signs out there. there are so many dead end trails and trails that empty out into neighborhoods, lead you into hobo encampments, or severe, technical, double-black diamond trails with no warning.

    Hill of Life handed my ass to me again. I got hung up on a ledge, tried to hop off the bike, caught my short (really nice bibs) on the nose of my saddle, and ripped them.

    one of my co-workers has offered to show me around but we have yet to find a way to make our schedules coincide to do that.

  17. #17
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    There isn't anyone that rents Fat Bikes in Austin, is there? I'd also consider a Krampus.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  18. #18
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    Not aware of anyone renting them
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  19. #19
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    First Time to Barton Creek Greenbelt - Advice Please!

    It's been a while but I was in Bicycle Sport Shop on Lamar and a guy was returning a Surly fat bike that he said he rented.

  20. #20
    Austin, Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    as it turns out, the best ways to learn about BCGB are:
    A. find someone who knows the trails and follow them around.
    B. go in alone, get lost, get stung by bees, climb pointless rocky trails, get stuck in a mosquito-infested creek and ride your bike through BB-deep water to escape.

    I chose the latter.

    the first part of my ride was fun. I can clear most of the techy stuff on my SS rigid bike. then I got to this:


    is the this famous Hill of Life?

    then I got to this hill, which required that I shoulder my bike to climb up the rocks. I don't think this was ever meant to be ridden. it was hard enough to scramble up on all fours.

    [/URL]

    I realized my mistake but kept going. I reached the top of the hill with a tree fort and what appeared to be a zip line across the creek.



    I ended up near the water treatment plant and had to hike my bike back down to the creek. I could not find a trail out of there, so i just pedaled across the creek. soggy socks for the rest of the ride!



    the ride back from here was fairly easy. I still had a hard time discerning the good trails from the dead ends. at one point I was stung by a bee, then reached a dead end. I had to go back past a bee nest in the ground and got stung a second time. fortunately it was only 2 stings and not 200.

    I will figure it out eventually.
    THIS...

    Oh my God, I can't stand the Greenbelt...and it's obviously my own fault. I've been there twice alone. The first time I didn't know of this site, the second time I did and knew who AustinBike was. Dumb. First of all, I can't stand trails that have tons of people hiking on it. Walnut Creek is about as crowded as I get and for some reason seems better to me as far as people to bike count.
    This description sounds exactly like my first time there. You have to include holding your bike with one hand, while shimmying across a 6" ledge over a 30 ft drop by holding on to a chain. I met some dudes who looked like they were straight out of Mad Max with all the armor on, and were surprised that I was not enjoying it. They asked how many times I had crossed the river bed and I told them twice...they told me I should have crossed it seven times by that point; I was in hiking-over-boulder areas.

    Still...I have been told many, many times that the Greenbelt is the jewel of the city, so one of these days I am going to try to catch AustinBike while he is in town and go. Just hard to get me away from Reimer's, Pace, Muleshoe, or even Rocky Hill where you don't see hiker's, and might see another rider every 20-30 minutes or so. One of these days...I tell ya'....

    As an aside, I LOVE hiking the trail from Barton Springs Pool to the Hill of Life with my wife. We really enjoy it. Park a car at each end.

  21. #21
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    All this talk is making me want to start leading weekend ride. The GB has some great stuff, I hate to see it get such a bad rap.

  22. #22
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    it terrified me after my first ride there. if you are feeling adventurous and want to go alone, you just have to be willing to get lost, bring lots of water, and hike a lot. that's part of the fun for me, although it does not sound like it the way I describe it sometimes. it's a different kind of challenge than just a difficult trail. it's like solving a puzzle or navigating a maze. or you can have a blast without all the headache of getting lost if you go with a guide. lots of groups ride there and lots of people will show you around.

    I do wish there was a little more trail signage and fewer dead-end trails. it's just such a huge trail system that I don't think anyone wants to take on that kind of project and no one wants to sanitize the trail. that s**t doesn't fly in ATX.

  23. #23
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    LOL...Sorry Papa, I know there are hordes of MB'ers out there who love the GB. The section that I have ridden is between Barton Pool and The Hill of Life. I have friends who have ridden dozens of miles away from this area. If I ride Walnut Creek it is usually at about 8 in the morning, and I may see maybe 10 hikers/dog walkers in 11 miles. I can see 10 on the GB in the first minute, which is a huge turn off to me. That's one reason the other trails appeal to me so much more. Like I said in my earlier post, one of these days I will get out with someone in the know and check it out. In the meantime, all those who love the GB...ride on and enjoy!!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokehouse4444 View Post
    LOL...Sorry Papa, I know there are hordes of MB'ers out there who love the GB. The section that I have ridden is between Barton Pool and The Hill of Life. I have friends who have ridden dozens of miles away from this area. If I ride Walnut Creek it is usually at about 8 in the morning, and I may see maybe 10 hikers/dog walkers in 11 miles. I can see 10 on the GB in the first minute, which is a huge turn off to me. That's one reason the other trails appeal to me so much more. Like I said in my earlier post, one of these days I will get out with someone in the know and check it out. In the meantime, all those who love the GB...ride on and enjoy!!!
    I will ride the back trails of the BCGB on a perfect Saturday morning and see maybe 5-10 hikers/bikers the entire time Im out there. once you get on the main trail, yea, theres a ton of people. but the back trails, theres hardly anyone.

  25. #25
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    I usually put in at Zilker and ride to the HOL, sometimes farther, and I won't see more then 10 people usually. Maybe your just hitting it at rush hour. I also recently put a nice bell on my bike and you couldn't pay me to take that thing off. So helpful on any multi use trail.

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