Downhill mountain biking is not new to Texans, just new to Texas.
For many years, adventure seekers across the state flocked in the summer months to ski resorts in New Mexico, Colorado, and beyond to test their mettle at extreme downhill mountain biking. Now, adventure seekers don’t have to drive 12 hours or wait for summer to enjoy a downhill experience. They can test their skills year round at Spider Mountain Bike Park.
Spider Mountain, just outside Burnet, Texas on the shores of Lake Buchanan is a sight to behold. A chairlift, imported from Taos, New Mexico, rises 350 vertical feet into the air to provide guests with expansive views of Lake Buchanan. From the top, guests can choose from 11 downhill trails ranging from beginner to expert only that lead back to the bottom of the lift.
The trails include mountain bike features intended to be conquered, from twisty banked berms to 8 foot high wooden bridges. For those familiar with downhill mountain biking, 350 feet may not seem like much. “We work really hard to make those 350 feet count on every single trail,” says Suzy Bauer, General Manager at Spider Mountain. “Each trail here is built to provide the rider with a different experience, from mastering cornering to hitting 18” drops.”
Riders just starting out will begin on Itsy-Bitsy, the easiest trail on the mountain. It begins rather gently with some banked turns and gets more advanced as you progress down the trail. It’s a good idea to watch a few downhill mountain biking videos either at the resort’s website or via YouTube for tips and tricks on handling tight turns. Thankfully, the resort hosts a free beginner’s tips and tricks session every Saturday at 10 am in the Skills Park.
The bike park offers a fleet of full suspension rental bikes, knee pads, elbow pads and helmets for rent for those wanting the full experience. Tickets can be purchased online or at the bike park, though riders can glean significant savings, 40% or more, by buying at least two weeks ahead online at the park’s website.
Founded just two years ago, Spider has grown significantly in a short amount of time, adding multiple trails and a Skills Park. Riders can practice cornering, jumps, drops, and small wooden features before hitting the lift-served trails. For those not into mountain biking, the park offers a scenic chairlift ride with plans to build a robust hiking trail system. Right now, the only hiking down is via a fire road.
Enjoying the hill country, the lake, and Spider Mountain is as easy as booking an affordable cabin at nearby Thunderbird Lodge, located just 500 yards away on the shores of Lake Buchanan. The resort caters to riders, and even boasts the Spider House, a two-bedroom, three bath house right off the lift midway up the mountain. Complete with a pool, marina, and a beach on Lake Buchanan, the resort is the perfect getaway for those seeking an active adventure. The resort offers SUP and kayak rentals for cooling off after a hot ride at Spider Mountain.
Cover photo courtesy Tony Maples
This article is a sponsored collaboration with Spider Mountain Bike Park.