Pace Bend is a Travis County park located about 30 minutes west of Austin on Lake Travis.The park occupies 1368 acres on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Pedernales River with the lake. The perimeter of the park has quite a few campgrounds(some with running water) and boat ramps, but most visitors never venture into the interior of the peninsula. Located within is 12-13 miles of hiking, biking,and equestrian trails.
The original network of trails is mostly an ad-hoc network of old ranch roads, powerline right-of-ways, etc. However, in 2009, the Austin Ridge Riders began expanding the network with 6 miles of IMBA-approved singletrack.The new singletrack is sort of a "greatest hits" of Hill Country mountain biking. It has challenging rock gardens, technical creek drops, lots of off-camber stuff, a few BMX-style humps, some ledge work, and plenty of tree dodging. Some of the creek drops and a long rock garden in the SE loop, as well as some ledge work in the NW loop, are black diamond obstacles which intermediate level riders will find tricky. In general, it will require advanced skill to clean the whole course. Most of it is solid blue(intermediate), however. As with other IMBA-approved trails, whenever Pace Bend supplies a challenging obstacle, it provides plenty of smooth trail for recovery. Thus, beginners will be able to make sufficient progress on the trail, even though they will likely have to walk most of the technical sections. The obstacles, in general, are similar to the more difficult obstacles found along the Barton Creek Greenbelt and its side trails, but their frequency and flow is reminiscent of Reimer's Ranch.
The design and construction of the new trail has been incredibly meticulous. The Ridge Riders have followed the IMBA guidelines for trail placement and slope to help prevent erosion and encourage drainage, and thus these trails tend to dry out much more quickly than others in the area, even though they are largely tree-covered.
From the park entrance, take the first right (Grisham Trail) and follow Grisham Trail 2miles to the trailhead parking lot, which is on the left-hand side of the road(it is clearly marked with a sign.) From the trailhead parking lot, do not ride up the hill on the main trail. Instead, look for a singletrack that cuts out of the parking lot and follows alongside the road back toward the park entrance.Follow this singletrack along the road until it veers right onto an old ranch road. Follow the ranch road for about 0.2 miles until it bends left, then another 0.15 miles until it bends right. At this right-hand bend is an open field at the left of the road, and that's where the SE loop starts. As of this writing, the trail entrance to the SE loop was still not well defined. The SE loop runs for about 3 miles, crossing over an old ranch road and a powerline cut before rejoining the old trail network.
At this point, all I can suggest is to follow the GPS track or ride with someone who knows the trail network. The trail network of Pace Bend is similar to that of Walnut Creek, in that there are about a million paths to get to where you're going. As of this writing, there are temporary signs marking the TMBRA raceloop, and this was the only way I was able to find my way to the NW loop of the new singletrack. Hopefully, new signage will eventually be installed to mark the MTB loop.
Head out 71 to Pace Bend Park
AAR and Lief have done a great job on the trails at this park! You have your smooth and fast track,you have rocky parts and your ups and downs. When you are finished you can jump into the lake to cool off before heading back home.
Now that the new singletrack has been broken in and the new signage is in place, I feel confident in saying that this trail is among the top 10 in the state. Definitely worth going out of your way to ride.
I visited Austin for 2 days and I wanted to get in a good ride. I picked this trail based on the past reviews and it was just what I was looking for. A lot of variety, with great flow. Some technical areas, just enough to keep you on your game, but not so much to disrupt the flow. I walked though a couple rock garden areas, but will go for them the next time. Trails are well marked, just follow the arrows with the gold dots and you will find your way around the 10+ mile loop.
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