Thumper got its name from the thumping that your heart will be doing after you are done. Up. Down. Repeat. A lot. This is a technical trail that was built by people who must like to inflict pain on others. While it is a relatively short trail, it is very difficult in many spots, similar to "rattlesnake" or "Ed's Bowl" on the greenbelt. Lots of switchbacks help riders ascend and descend through the trail. A favorite seems to be the steep switchback, sharp turn at the top, followed by a 12" ledge about 3 feet later. If this trail doesn't get your heart going, nothing will.
Charles Coker (Hammerhead Bikes) worked with the HOA of the neighborhood to establish this unique oppurtunity. This is a "nature" trail, the people in the neighborhood have a great hiking trail and in return, we have access to a great place to ride.
Charles worked with Mark Henneke (Walnut Creek and Reimers) and the Hammerhead Bikes team captain, Wes Heyslip to create the trail.
Location: North Austin, off of Yaupon drive.
Directions: Go to BikeMojo and ask someone to take you there if you have never been there.
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL RIDERS: This is a neighborhood that has allowed a trail to be built, and they could pull access at any time (anyone remember cheese grater?) It is imperative that you not park or congregate along Yaupon or near the neighbors. Nothing will get access pulled quicker than a bunch of sweaty mountain bikers drinking beer on the street after a ride. You should find somewhere outside the neighborhood to park. The upside - with only 3-4 miles of trail, you get in some extra mileage on your way to and from the park. It's rideable from both the Bull Creek Greenbelt and St. Edward's park.
Technical Level: High. This is NOT a trail for beginners. Not only is it a challenging trail with some pretty hairy lines to ride, but the traffic is very light. If you mess up it could be a few days before someone stumbles across you.
Length: 6-7 miles, but there is some pretty significant vertical change, so it feels like a lot more. A strong rider takes about an hour and 15 minutes or so to do a loop.
Trails: Lots of off-camber dirt trails, pretty narrow and steep in amny places. Rocky terrain everywhere. Watch out for cactus. Because the trail has low traffic, there are still lots of obstacles that haven't been ridden down. Watch out for deer, there were tons of them when I rode, at least 50 different ones.
Shade: Very Good. Probably 90%+ shaded.
Post Ride Beer: Please don't drink in the neighborhood; an ice cold Stella Artois hit the spot when I got back home. You could also park at BB Rover's on Jollyville - it tacks on some extra mileage for you and there are plenty of beers available at the end of your ride.