Video: First Impressions of the Year Round Lift Access at Spider Mountain in Texas

Feb 7, 2019
by Pinkbike Originals  



Texas may currently be known for cowboys, barbecue, and the World's largest peanut, but it can now add year round lift access mountain biking to that list thanks to the Spider Mountain Bike Park. Located just outside of Burnet, Spider Mountain currently has five trails that range from beginner to advanced with plenty of expansion to come. Back in January, Pinkbike's Jason Lucas headed south to ride the trails and share his thoughts on the bike park.

This marks the first entry to our new First Impressions series where we showcase different trail centers and bike parks to give you the lowdown on what each destination has to offer.








Spider Mountain Bike Park




MENTIONS: @pinkbikeoriginals / @jasonlucas




139 Comments

  • + 44
 Thanks for visiting our bike park. We had a great time ripping laps with you and the GG crew. Hope to see you guys next winter during the polar vortex.
  • + 2
 Looks like a lot of fun. A good mix of flow and rough. Nice work!
Now someone go move that death rock at 1:48! I guarantee someone is going to plow right into that thing before the season is over.
  • + 1
 Cant wait for this to be worth the trip from WA!
  • + 2
 Great job @TeamTrailParty! Looks like you folks really made the best out of the available elevation drop with some really fun trails. Next time I'm in TX I will definitly come check it out.
  • + 1
 @PinkStatus: my thoughts exactly!
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: At least it's already shaped like a Tombstone!
  • + 3
 Check out TeamTrailParty opening day video. youtu.be/DzH2WBoN7hA
  • + 36
 I rode with Jason at Spider Mountain. Can Confirm trails are fun! if they are able to deliver on everything they have planned this will be an incredible place to visit. I loved Texas, and I plan to return!
  • + 22
 When it gets 100F+ with blazing sun in the summer months, that lift will be a godsend instead of having to pedal back up the hill.
  • + 13
 Has anyone ever ridden out at Flat Rock Ranch? Super cool place. Not a whole lot of vertical, but pretty fun trails to ride. There was a gazebo with the trail map and a bike stand. Love that place. If you are close to Austin... go check it out Smile
  • + 1
 Yep, flat rock ranch is proper Texas riding.. it will be interesting how this lift access plays out.
  • + 1
 You should see that place now. Its not little. Its still awesome.
  • + 0
 Yeah its awesome and $10 dollars a day. Can get 30 good trail miles with nice downhills and a few enduro stages that are as long as the runs at spider mountain.
  • + 16
 Whoever came up with these trail names must been on that sticky icky.
  • + 4
 Big ups Natedawg
  • + 12
 We actually named Sticky Icky/(Black Sabbath- It was a Black Trail mostly built on a string of Sundays over the summer)
Stinger was named Rotor Smoke- because its a pretty ridiculous grade that one of the park owners wanted to be built. The park directors wanted the names to fit in a different category. The locals will always call them the OG names and it should get rather confusing when people ask what trails they should ride first.
  • + 2
 @TeamTrailParty: Hope to see J, Urb and the boys this weekend for some party laps.
  • + 2
 I know what you're thinking - Illegal! - Illegal! - but the value of purple sticky punch goes way beyond just tokin' it.
  • + 2
 @TeamTrailParty: Any drops or wooden features on Sticky Icky?
  • + 5
 @alu-uzzi-2016: You mean Black sabbath? Kidding . No wooden features. A lot of big boulder lines, large catch berms and steep off camber sections. The wood features and jump lines are supposed to be built un the second phase of trail construction.
  • + 9
 the last trail, just from riding it on my ipad...seemed like it will be awesome after a few winters of erosion set it. this is probly not imba approved...and that suits me just fine. more fallline trails! the kind that just keep getting more " unrideable" & "hazardous".
  • + 10
 This +100. It seems there is an epidemic where no one wants to build a trail steeper than 7%. It's not the trail builders fault, its IMBA's shitty standards that neuter trail building. Arkansas take notes.
  • + 4
 @ibishreddin: Bentonville was super disappointing for exactly this reason. Granted, there isnt a ton of elevation to play with
  • + 6
 IMBA doesn't want you to hit your brakes hard enough to skid.
  • + 2
 Rode these trails yesterday and as always the camera affect did not show how steep they really are. Im not that great of a rider was was basically falling and sliding into the catch berms. Man this place an absolute blast the flow trails are super fast the the blacks are a real challenge. So many complaints on here and negative comments but riding the trails I had a smile on my face the entire day!. Also Seth's Bike Hacks was there and got to ride with him...cant wait to see what he has to say about the trails, he was super stoked while riding, despite the cold Smile
  • + 10
 wwhhawt in tarnation's, that looks like a rootin'-hootin' Texas good time
  • + 7
 Looks awesome for such a small elevation change! (starts thinking about the hills around home more)
  • + 5
 Such good trails! The Spider Mountain trail crew has done terrific work making each one of these trails a complete blast from top to bottom. And when you're done it's a quick lift back up to the top.
  • + 6
 I grew up in an area that was really flat, a lot like this area and this has got me thinking of the hills back home. Maybe more potential there than I always thought. Wow!
  • + 12
 Hey, Highland is pretty tiny and it's getting pretty famous
  • + 13
 @j-t-g: Getting? The place is legendary.
  • + 2
 @j-t-g: getting? Where you been lol
  • + 1
 @chriskneeland: Yeah Highland is my favorite park on the east coast! So sick
  • + 2
 @skisean140: personally not a big fan of highland. Literally almost died there, and not enough gnar to shred.
  • + 1
 @TheSlayer99: So you don't like Highland because you don't know how to ride a bike? Makes sense.
  • + 2
 @TheSlayer99: Agreed, It's just flow with massive berms. Sure you have a few rough ones, but some of that is over eroded and beaten to death. Great jump park if you like that. Not a place you really go to DH. Sugarbush for the win.
  • + 2
 @neimbc: You're not going to find drops and jumps anywhere else the size of Highlands. If you're looking for raw DH, it's not the place.
  • + 3
 @chriskneeland: I can ride a bike, I happened to be hauling ass into the last drop on cats paw and got bucked and went straight into the tree on the right after falling off the drop and was impaled. I also happen to prefer the raw trails like they have at thunder and killington, as well as racing, so I'd rather spend my park days shredding the double blacks at thunder and racing rather than hitting the same few flow trails all day. There really isnt any need for you to be a dick about my preferences in bike parks and my reasoning why.

As it happens to be, thunder is building a new insane jump line, and killington has a huge variety of stuff and I'm really hoping to get up for my first time there this season so they have something for everyone unlike highland.
  • + 1
 @TheSlayer99: Thunder is the best bike park on the east coast. hopefully the upgrade the lift
  • - 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Yes it is indeed. The lift is alright though unless you're talking about speed. Do you really want to be on a lift with more than 2 other people though?
  • + 1
 @chriskneeland: Plattekill, has drops everywhere - all natural and they're big. You're right, it's a bike park, mostly man made with those features. Place to go if you like that.
  • + 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Depends what you like. Have you been to them all? Better than the speed and length
and tech mix at Sugarbush? The natural tech of Attitash? The steepness and natural drops of Plattekill? Not a single drop at Thunder. Not big enough and the trails are too groomed/machined or they're not steep. (Schist is an erosional tight nightmare - not fun. And you spend more time on their lift, than you do on the trail - same with Highland. Old Killington was fun - they kind of over groomed it now - the trend to put more beginners up. Also depends if you're on a DH bike or Enduro.
  • + 1
 @neimbc: schist and Too easy were amazing. I didn't make attitash and mt snow while i was up north. There's a few drops there. theres enough flow, big jumps, and enough gnar at thunder to satisfy

Killington is overrated - i heard black magic is something else though. i rode parts blind in a enduro up there.
  • + 2
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Sugarbush is by far the best in New England - a lot of folks say Thunder or Highland, perhaps because they are not DH'ers and ride enduro's and love those type of trails. To each his own. Black Magic is just another steroid BMX road - If you rode one GL jump trail, they're all the same . Never been to WV, riding. Now that's a hilly place. Snoswhoe must be awesome. Ride safe.
  • + 1
 @TheSlayer99: Holy shit! That was you? Funny story...My buddy was the first guy to come upon you after you crashed. He told me the story while we were in the lift line about how the bar was stuck in your leg and how much blood you were losing. We were next to get on the lift and all of a sudden I was being woken up by the lift crew because I passed out from how graphic the story was. Glad you were able to recover. Holy shit that was a story.
  • + 3
 what a super assest for this part of texas ! the builders (volunteers) did a great job of keepin some rough edges on that first trail.( IOW, it doesnt look like martha stewart supervised the design) and this place has done alot with only 351' of vertical.
  • + 3
 Those look like good trails. I like the idea of a series on pinkbike showing impressions of new bike spots. I like seeing how other new trails are constructed and ride. I’m working on the first trails of a massive new park in BC that will be on here soon I’m sure
  • + 1
 We'll be showcasing both new and established trail networks in this series. Keep us in the loop on your build so we can come check it out.
  • + 8
 JASON LUCAS
  • + 6
 Oh, to be able to ride dirt year round...
  • + 5
 In case anyone was curious Spider Mountain sits on Buchanan Lake about 1hr west of Austin and 3hrs south of Forth Worth.
  • + 1
 Dammit why'd I ever sell my big bike?!?! After 24 yrs in PNW this old fool just moved back to my home state of TX & Super stoked about this place!!! going to tomorrow! WISH ME & MY OLD BONES GOOD LUCK on my 130mm travel Plus rig...
  • + 5
 This is worth the trip just to go boozing in Austin as well
  • + 1
 Lived in the lone star state for my final years in the Army and the trails are really fun their. Problem is once you really start getting going they flatten out. I lived in hill country near Austin and there is a lot of good places to ride but the thrill of the descent never lasted too long. Still, great state, great people, great food and beer.
  • + 2
 Curious to see how the double black holds up to lift traffic...looks like maybe a few sections are direct fall line - but like a lot of our local stuff perhaps it’s naturally armored by rock.
  • + 19
 Doesn't matter. Keep it steep. Imba can suck one
  • + 2
 Found the IMBA guy.
  • + 2
 @skelldify: just a novice trail builder stating curiosity is all. Is there a better resource than IMBA to turn my attention?
  • + 2
 That is amazing the local bikers are helping make it happen. It is a great feeling riding something you helped build ????????!!! And the best part is seeing someone else rip it up, on your hard work????????
  • + 2
 @TeamTrailParty organized the volunteer effort and they were there on opening day cheering the crowd on. I helped build one of the trails and have to say it was awesome to see riders enjoying the park!
  • + 0
 Am I the only person who looks forward to climbs to help build up a thirst for apres ride beers?
I mean it's only a 100m climb and you're probably not going to be using a dh bike for these runs.


Looks like a great use of small land and some defunct ski lifts, hope the venture works out well!
  • + 4
 You aren't alone; I love a good climb and 100M isnt' horrendus, but like a poster above said, when it is over 100 degrees you'll be waiting in line...
  • + 1
 Same here. Good use of a recovery day though!
  • - 5
flag woofer2609 (Feb 7, 2019 at 12:57) (Below Threshold)
 @Poulsbojohnny: Horrendous? It's 100 goddam meters! What the hell? If people can't handle it, take up something like curling instead. It's "Mountain" biking!
I thought us PB'ers had a little more mettle.

"Damn kids, get off my lawn!"
  • + 3
 It sounds like you've never ridden in this kind of heat. Come take a couple of laps when it is over 42c and tell me I'm a wimp for riding the lift....
  • + 1
 @MrMentallo:
It's regularly 40+ in the Kootenays in the summer.
I ride in the mornings sometimes but am just as happy to ride in the afternoon, and I was just saying it sure is nice to sweat off your bag, get an endorphin rush, be able to pound a few beers, eat a wheelbarrow of great food, and mellow out in post exercise bliss sitting in a lake.
And then sleep like a log.
I like being able to wipe salt crystals off my face, sweat in my eyes is OK.
I'd never call anyone a wimp for taking the lift. Paying $50 for such a small ascent just doesn't seem like good value to me. If I lived there.....maybe.
To each their own.
As I said, I wish the venture well!
  • + 3
 Gotta free pass that I'm gonna cash in on Sunday...gonna be good times for sure!
  • + 3
 So, was the chairlift built for bikes or another purpose, and how much did it cost ?
  • + 3
 I'm actually really interested in this also. Highland used to be a ski resort- so the chair makes sense. But there is no skiing in Texas. I wonder how it got there.
  • + 2
 Built specifically for this purpose. Not sure about cost
  • + 4
 @zzzogas413: purchased used from Taos. Heard somewhere that it was 1 million before installation but I may be confusing it with Magic’s new quad
  • + 9
 The main purpose of the lift was for the bike park, but there are many other summer mountain activities planned for the park. There have been mentions of Alpine slides, Ziplines, and various ideas about gravity water structures (lol, slides). Add all these amenities to the resort sitting on a huge lake in a major wakeboard market and you have a recipe for a great weekend. Not counting the fact that there will not be another park like this within 6 hours of Central Texas.
  • + 5
 @TeamTrailParty: Used to live in Austin way back in the early 90s. Got into MTB there. I think you've got the right idea - between Austin and San Antonio, you've got a huge metro area to pull from, and having MTB and wake boarding all in close proximity (and throwing in some other stuff like ziplines) should keep the families coming. Not a huge amount of vert in the Hill Country, but it looks like you guys are making the most of it. In a way, it's brilliant, because one lift will allow access to all of your terrain, and quick laps keep people happy. Seems like a good return on your capital. Good luck with the project - I've got friends still in Austin, and whenever they come visit here in the PNW, they're always talking about how neat it would be to have more riding close to home.
  • + 6
 @TeamTrailParty: Nice to see more positive comments on this endeavor vs. the last article. There's alot of potential to make the bike park and associated amenities a significant draw for the local area. Get the groms excited about bike park riding as that is key for future development/investment. If all goes well, then this would likely mean more bike park funds will make it to Pajarito, Sipapu, Durango, and maybe (unlikely) even to Flagstaff ski areas since they are all owned by the same organization that owns this hill.

I would suspect that just like Hogan did for Angel Fire, there will be an uphill trail for those who want to pay a fee to ride the trails but not the lift(perhaps a no lift use ticket)?
  • + 1
 @kwcpinkbike: I believe they do offer that as an option.
  • + 1
 @kwcpinkbike: did not know you can ride up angel fire. not sure I would want to. Talk about a workout @ that elevation
  • + 1
 JOSH: MUCHO THANKS FOR THE GREAT POST & AWESOME VIDEO BUT YOU TALKING BOUT BC MADE ME MISSING WHISTLER & PLACES LIKE N VAN & SQUEAMISH BIG TIME, RIDE ON
  • + 3
 Is that the carbon Guerrilla Gravity? Ride impressions?
  • + 1
 The bike in the video is not the new GG. Go check out this video for thoughts on the frame www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqa2oG5Uhys
  • + 4
 Jason was riding one of our alloy The Smash test mules. Same geometry and fit as a Size 4 Revved frame but welded up to test fitment for taller riders prior to cutting carbon molds.
  • + 8
 @GuerrillaGravity: Cheers for the bike, boys! Still recovering from the BBQ meat sweats up here.
  • + 3
 @jasonlucas: Haha... Not a successful trip to Texas unless you leave with the meat sweats.
  • + 1
 @jasonlucas: The meat sweats hit me hard on the plane ride home. You will be happy to know I had to Download some 21 Savage after my enlightening ride home from the Mexican place.
  • + 2
 Double Black? Are they for real? I must ride 10 to the power of 32 black trails then. ???
  • + 5
 The camera flattens it out quite a lot. I've ridden those trails, and it's much steeper than it appears on the video.
  • + 1
 You have to remember that US double black is equivalent to black in the alpes, red is proline in the US ( resorts not traitors). US blue, black, double black, red as apposed to Europe blue, red, black, double black.
  • + 1
 that is a fresh trail, give it a season of riders and weather and those edges will become pretty bad. but i would only call it a black
  • + 1
 @m-t-g: I know what you mean about the camera flattening images, however, in my videos it still looks mega steep. Not bragging, just saying. Different worlds is all. Cheers
  • + 1
 texas double black. unfortunately, a double black in s. idaho is a blue in denver.
  • + 2
 People need to see the trails in West Texas, El Paso has the best riding during the winter!! Roughrider Canyon check it out!
  • + 1
 i live in texas and can be at a proper resort by the time i drive to el paso, but perhaps I will check that out next winter trip out towards big bend
  • + 2
 Damn I wish this was there when I lived down in Austin. That looks awesome!
  • + 3
 Fifty dolla lift ticket for what ?
  • + 3
 yeeeeee haw. headin out there this weekend with the boys see yall there
  • + 2
 Pics from the opening race here
www.spider-mountain.dangerfoot.com
  • + 2
 Anyone ride FR512 Park at Rocky Hill Ranch or Roughrider Canyon?
  • + 3
 I am sooo happy
  • + 1
 Trails were a blast to ride on Sunday! Top notch park with a great crew to back it up! Thanks dudes!
  • + 1
 @jasonlucas Congrat's on joining the PinkBike team! Good video and review on the shortest bike park runs in the US Wink
  • + 1
 Looking good. a little clean up and alot more trails id say this place will be pretty sweet.
  • + 1
 A 24hr DH race would be fun here.
  • + 1
 reminds me of Sky Mountain in Snowmass, CO
  • + 1
 YEEEEAAAAHHHHHH JASON LOVE THAT GUY
  • + 1
 That's what she said! (Find the spotWink Nice work budday!
  • + 1
 Thanks, more review like this!
  • + 1
 Looks fun. Year round bike park would be amazing.
  • + 1
 Good work Trey from Snowshoe! Looks sweet, can't wait to rally.
  • + 1
 Come to Florida! Specifically alafia state park!
  • + 1
 There are some hot as hell places to ride , but Alafia in July/ August /September is on a whole different level. There aint nothing like that swamp humidity!
  • + 1
 Stinger looks like a lot of fun
  • + 1
 Build it and they will come.
  • - 1
 Is it just me, or does it look as though this bike park is situated inside of a mining/deforestation site?
  • + 14
 That's just Texas, also they are busy getting all the infrastructure installed. it is still very much a worksite and that's why it looks the way it does.
  • - 10
flag j-t-g (Feb 7, 2019 at 8:31) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah well your entire city looks like an industrial site!
  • + 9
 @j-t-g: easy killer. Meant no offence by the comment, but leave it to the internet trolls and keyboard heroes to jump on any opportunity to insult someone. Was just an observation. Thanks, @EnduroBro for clarifying.
  • + 7
 Basically, when you eliminate all the trash trees, any part of the TX hill country with elevation is going to look denuded. 200 years ago it was all grassland because of the frequent fires, but now the ash juniper covers everything.
  • + 3
 There's a section in Colorado Bend State Park (not far from Spider Mountain) that is regularly burned so you can see what the land should look like. It's really nice!
  • + 3
 @andrewlombardo: Yeah man, it's all good. I noticed hill country part of TX changes mile by mile. some areas are black sticky dirt, some areas feel like concrete covered in marbles, then you run into giant slabby limestone rocks. just 10-15 min drive from one another. pretty cool country! There are also a lot of cattle and animal impact can destroy large sections of land. you never know what you are getting
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