Hitting the road for the weekend is always an attractive way to spend your days off, but it can be even more fun if you are riding the dirt roads and trails on a 4-wheeler in Texas. Quad enthusiasts across the state will likely find themselves riding on private property since riding on public land is limited to just a few places.
Texas has hundreds of miles of off-highway vehicle trails on private ATV parks located throughout the state. Most private facilities are open on weekends only, but some may open during the week if your riding group is large enough. Most suggest you "call before you haul" to make sure the facility will be open. Facilities offer trails for all levels of riders, from beginning four-wheelers to advanced Jeepers. Some facilities require riders and passengers to wear helmets, while others require helmets for everyone under age 18. For example, Hidden Falls Adventure Park (hiddenfallsadventurepark.com/) in Marble Falls requires safety helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Some owners offer other activities. For example, Red River ATV (redriveratv.com), located along the Red River at Bonham, has fishing, hiking and swimming available if you get tired of riding your four-wheeler or dirt bike. The private park has miles of trails on 400 acres.
City and State Land
Only one city park in Texas allows four-wheeler riding; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also limits ATV riding to just one park. The City of Bridgeport offers 300 miles of trail riding at its Northwest OHV Park, noting the trails are marked by degree of difficulty. Eisenhower State Park, named for former President Dwight Eisenhower who was born in Texas, is located on Lake Texhoma. It has 10 miles of trails that are beginner level. The state requires vehicles to have special OHV tags.
Though Texas has four national parks, four-wheeler riding is allowed only on the Sam Houston National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service says. The forest has 85 miles of multiple-use trails, which means four-wheeler riders need to be on the lookout for dirt bikes, horses and mountain bikes. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, operated by the National Park Service, offers four-wheeler trails at Blue Creek Bridge and Rosita areas. ATV riding at Blue Creek Bridge is limited in the creek bed only.
Some groups also offer trail riding on land they have bought just for this. One group is the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition, which opened its first OHV park in 2000 at Barnwell Mountain in Gilmer. It has 1,800 acres and 140 miles of trails for motorized off-highway vehicles, and is open most weekends. The group is in the process of developing a second facility at Escondido Draw, which will have trails spread over 3,400 acres.
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