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Mr_Christopher 09-17-08 09:06 AM

Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway - been there?
This is a 20 mile trail of mostly crushed granite and some pavement. it runs from Weatherford to Mineral Wells. the shots and info are from the Trails From Rails website.

I could do 20 miles but I'm not sure if I'm ready to do the 20 miles back making it a 40 mile round trip, but I'm wanting to work my way up to that. Has anyone riden this trails or have experience with riding on crushed granite? Sounds like stuff you would NOT want to fall on :-) I suppose most people wouldn't want to fall on ANY surface though.

StephenH 09-17-08 11:28 AM

I don't think it's an issue falling because you're not going to ride 25 mph on the stuff. I've ridden on a couple of trails that had finely-crushed limestone, which is what the map shows. it'll slow you down a bit, but not bad. I think the far end of that trail is in town, so you could have someone meet you there and run you back out if need be. I'm not sure if people use road bikes on it or not. There's similar trail up by Denton, same surface.

I recall someone mentioning that, due to it being an old railroad track, it wasn't steep anywhere, but did have some looooong sections at very slight grades that could get old.

I'll try it eventually, but haven't yet. There's some good camping at the park; I've stayed there on several occasions. If you're out there, be sure to visit the climbing area (Penitentiary Hollow, I think it is) just for a look around.

(Looking at the map again, if you start at the state park, you're in the middle of the trail, so it's out-and-back on one end, then the other, to make the full 40 miles.)

Mr_Christopher 09-17-08 12:15 PM

Thanks Stephen. I hope to check this trail out in the next couple of months. I'll report my findings of course.


edit: Here is a map of the trail.

c_m_shooter 09-17-08 03:17 PM

It is a really easy ride. If you start at Weatherford, you will hit the highest point on the trail about 5 miles out. The next 15 are slighly down hill and running over 20mph is pretty easy. The trip back will be a little slower, it is never steep, but you will be constantly pedaling. Don't worry about the surface, I've rode it on my fixed gear with 28's and thought that was the perfect bike for that trail.

If you are worried about the distance, this is the perfect place to build up your miles. Just plan on making a day of it, and give yourself plenty of time to eat and shop in Mineral Wells before you head back.

Mr_Christopher 09-17-08 03:22 PM

Thanks CM, I'm thinking this is a job for the 26" tire bike!


Doohickie 09-17-08 03:42 PM

Maybe we could make it a group event? I haven't ridden it either. I live in Fort Worth; Weatherford is only about a half hour away.

Creakyknees 09-17-08 06:50 PM

I've done in on a standard road bike. No prob at all, just watch for occasional deep patches.

But. There's far better riding on the roads in the area. Weatherford is at the hub of one of the best road riding areas in all of Texas. Get a good map and hit the backroads.

StephenH 09-17-08 07:46 PM

I was sure I posted another reply here, and I don't see it- anyway, I'm game for a group ride on a Saturday, but I would normally average about 14 mph on this kind of thing, either up or down hill.

Doohickie 09-17-08 10:03 PM

This Saturday? Probably not a good idea for me... I'm in Orlando on business right now and I get back into town on Friday. I doubt an all-day bike ride on Saturday will sit will with Mrs. Doohickie. I don't know about a 14 mph pace, but I don't worry too much about speed, I just kinda push the pedals around and when I get there, I get there. I figure anything over 10 mph is just dandy.

StephenH 09-17-08 10:28 PM

I didn't mean this Saturday, but some indefinite time in the future. I've got a unicycle ride this Saturday. :)

Doohickie 09-18-08 10:00 AM

Yeah, then we can probably set something up. I tend to fill up my weekends in October and November though, you never know.

Mr_Christopher 09-18-08 11:40 AM

Weekdays are better for me as my kids eat up most of my weekend activity. I am certain I'm going to do this within the next month or so. I'll post a message when I do to see if anyone wants to join me.


Doohickie 09-18-08 09:29 PM

I actually get every other Friday off. Tomorrow is one, but I'll be traveling back from a business trip. Maybe Oct 3 or 17?

c_m_shooter 09-18-08 10:36 PM

I have fridays off and would be up for a ride any of them. If we go too early, I will have to have ya'll wake me up. I will be sleeping in my car at the trailhead, cause I get off work at 4:00am.

Big_e 09-19-08 03:31 PM

Bring a camera, lots of deer on the roads and brown eagles on the trail. Last year, I rode a walmart mongoose and was sitting on a bench by the restrooms. Three large brown eagles jumped out of a tree above me. Two flew off easy enough, but the last one swooped towards me and I think I almost screamed. It flapped it's wings and flew off after the others. I got on my bike and kept riding, that was the closest I ever got to an eagle.

Doohickie 09-19-08 08:13 PM

If you want to start early, that's cool. I don't know if I can get that at 4:00 am, but maybe 7:00 or so I can make it... maybe even a little earlier. I just found out today that my responsibilities at work are changing, so I can't guarantee that I will actually get my off-Fridays off. Let's play it by ear and see what happens on Oct 3.

StephenH 10-16-08 10:29 PM

I'm thinking this Saturday, Oct. 18th, I'm gonna hit the Swap Meet in Hurst, then head on out to Weatherford and ride this thing, starting from the east end.

tcs 10-17-08 11:54 AM

Originally Posted by Creakyknees (Post 7491779)
There's far better riding on the roads in the area. Weatherford is at the hub of one of the best road riding areas in all of Texas.


I rode one way on the trail and back on the paved country roads that parallel it. The trail was ok, but the road ride (traffic: two cars total) was more interesting, scenic and fun. I'm happy to leave this trail to the equestrians and hikers.


Doohickie 10-17-08 12:00 PM

I have other plans for Saturday, so I guess not. I think I will be riding in the Turkey Roll in Denton on Nov. 22 if anyone else is interested. I think they have something like 21, 37 & 71 mile routes; I'll probably do the 37.

StephenH 10-18-08 04:48 PM

Been there, done that!

Well, I made it out to Lake Mineral Wells Trailway today. I started at the Weatherford end, rode to the Mineral Wells end, and back. Total distance- 40 miles, total time, about 3:50.

The trail is graveled with fine gravel for most of its length. The last couple of miles in Mineral Wells are paved, but the paving there isn't that much better than gravel. There are ups and downs. They're gradual but long. There were places where i could coast along at 15-16 mph for a half mile or more (had a tailwind part of the way, too), but then coming back up those places, I was cranking along at 11 and 12 mph. But it was all doable.

Why to ride this trail: Because it's there. Ride it just to ride it, not to get from point A to point B. I've hiked a lot of hiking trails. You can hike faster on a road, but it's not as much fun. That's the way this is. If you just want to get 40 miles in, go some other way. If you just want to get from point A to point B the most expeditious way, this is probably not it. But if you want to get out and see a trail that you're never going to see any other way, just do it. I had great fun and enjoyed the outing.

This is near the start of the trail.

One of the first bridges I came to. Not obvious, but the bridges are the old railroad bridges with modern decking and railings on them. This was Dry Creek, which had water in it.

Pure Texas- cows and oil wells.

Continuing down the trail.

I caught up with this lady on a long downhill, where I was mostly coasting, and she was pedaling. There are times when gravity and flab work in your favor. Not often, but sometimes.

Being an old railroad grade, there are places where cuts and fills were made to keep the line more level.

The farther west you go, the more prickly pears you see. I like prickly pears.

Part of the way, you parallel a road. If you're going to ride on the roads part of the time, you need a good map with you, because the road names aren't marked at the trail crossings. To stay on the trail, you don't need any map, it's obvious.

More prickly pears. Some of them had fruit, some didn't.

These particular cacti were by an old building foundation. I would guess some kind of building associated with the railroad, as it was not over 30 feet from the line.

StephenH 10-18-08 04:49 PM

This is the spur trail that goes into Lake Mineral Wells State Park. I think it said 2/3 mile to the trailhead there. I went straight, though. If you have a chance, go into the park and see Penitentiary Hollow, which is just a neat area.

This is the bridge over Hwy 180.

Here, the trail is going on into Mineral Wells. You pass all kinds of fast food places within riding distance from the trail, plus a Walmart, Autozone, etc. Everything but a bike store. Part of this is kind of like riding down an alley.

The old Crazy Water hotel, landmark of Mineral Wells.

Reached the end of the trail, and started back now. The old Depot is now law offices. There's a preserved caboose and this re-constructed watering tank for steam locomotives there at the end of the trail (along with a pavillion, rest rooms, parking lot, etc.)

I tried a self-portrait on the way back. I didn't see any helmet rule, so I wore the straw hat I bought for the Texas Time Trials. I saw two other people with straw hats, including the lady in the previous picture.

Cactuses and rocks on the way back.

Hill coming up. I got a little workout going back.

This marker was at the 4 mile mark (there are mile posts each mile on the trail, by the way). I was glad to see it going back, when I took this. Meant only 4 more miles and they were mostly downhill!

Lessee...other miscellaneous notes- there is a restroom or pit toilet or portapotty every 5 miles. There was water at the Garner trailhead (drinking fountain didn't work, but the faucet did). There's a convenience store in Garner also, which is at the half-way point.

c_m_shooter 10-18-08 05:28 PM

You should have climbed that hill on the spur that you skipped. It doesn't look like much until you're actually in the switchbacks, but it can be a lung buster. Coming down is a blast if you are comfortable drifting through the gravel covered switchbacks.

StephenH 10-18-08 08:03 PM

I thought about it, but didn't want to be too pooped when I got to that long uphill part. I assume that part of the trail wasn't ever a railroad, so it didn't get leveled out like the rest.

I had been out at Lake Mineral Wells State Park before, and drove past the trailhead, but just assumed the trailway itself came through there- didn't realize it was a separate branch trail.

There was a group of boy scouts getting ready to leave the east trailhead when I left. I didn't see them on the way back, and their trailer was still there, so I assume they must have rode into the park on that spur while I was farther west. There was also a group of cub scouts, but I imagine they turned around at that 4 mile mark or prior.

I passed that one lady- she was on a mountain bike, wearing a hat. About 200 or 300 yards in front of her was a guy on a mountain bike wearing a similar hat- so I assumed they were together. Evidently not. When I was about 2 miles from the starting point, I passed that guy again. He was riding back, and had flats on both wheels. He must have found him some cactuses or something.

I saw a few people walking, not too many cyclists, ddin't see any horses, and not much horse poo on the trail. Pretty quiet out there, really, except for the quiet crunching of balloon tires on gravel. :)

And whoever said they took the road back....they were just "taking the road less graveled."

Rammer 10-18-08 08:29 PM

Thanks for the photos and travelogue, Stephen. You may enjoy checking out Chaparral Rail Trail that starts in downtown Farmersville, if you haven't already. It is similarly paved near downtown, but quickly turns to gravel and from the vegetation growth it is clearly a road much less traveled.

Doohickie 10-18-08 08:39 PM

Yes, great writeup. I ended up doing about the same mileage, but did it around town as part of a group ride that was a Breakfast Ride to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

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