The Goodwater Trail is a 26-mile loop around Lake Georgetown (near Austin) traversing approximately 5 miles of doubletrack, 2.5 miles of park road and 19 miles of rocky singletrack. The trail is easy to follow and features mileage markers. This ride offers sweeping views of the lake as it weaves through cedar stands and cactus-strewn fields of limestone, passing waterfalls, natural springs and historic ruins. The hills are minimal but the trail is very technical in spots, with tire-shredding rock gardens and plenty of challenge. The route travels through five parks, three of which have water and camping available, and all of which have convenient trailheads, making this Epic supremely easy to access.
The Goodwater Trail is the second-longest public contiguous singletrack loop open to mountain biking in Texas, surpassed only by the state's other IMBA Epic in Big Bend Ranch State Park.
This trail would not have been possible without the tireless work of the Austin Ridge Riders (ARR), who are responsible for connecting this loop trail, and a national-level Memorandum of Understand between IMBA and the Army Corps of Engineers. For more information, visit the ARR website.
Ride options: This trail allows point-to-point rides of 4-11 miles without having to commit to the entire 26 miles. Those with less technical experience are encouraged to try an exploratory, out-and-back ride before tackling the whole thing. Access to potable water at various points is critical during the bulk of the year when temperatures are above 80 degrees. You can get water at the guard house at Jim Hogg, the host camp at Russell Park (please let the hosts know you are there), a pump at Tejas Camp and potentially at Cedar Breaks. At each park, you can jump in the lake to cool off.
Ride time: 3-4.5 hours
History: There are several markers along the trail that highlight the history of the area, including information about the early settlers and native American burn middens. In several places, the trail runs through old rock walls that were used as cattle fences years ago.
Town access: The Goodwater Trail connects to the San Gabriel River Trail, a 6.6-mile combination of crushed stone, concrete and city streets that connect the lake to San Gabriel Park in the city of Georgetown, where you can find many restaurants and bars for your post ride celebration.