There are few good reasons to make the trek to Waco, but this one is definitely top on the list. Cameron Park is a network of trails that runs along the river right in the center of Waco. It's heavily wooded and the foliage includes a lot of bamboo for that exotic look.
The trails are well-developed and well-maintained. If you like to climb, you will love Cameron Park. If you hate to climb, you will respect it. The payoff for a lot of the climbing is some phenomenal downhill runs. The trails are designated with green, blue and black markings, just like a ski slope. Someone has obviously spent a lot of time making these trails into some of the best biking in the central Texas area.
Location: Waco, TX, about an hour and a half north of Austin.
Directions: I-35 to Waco Exit University-Parks. Left turn at light(River should be on your right). Pass the Hilton and Suspension Bridge straight thru the stop sign. Continue on University Parks. You enter the park when the road curves to the left.
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Technical Level: Medium to high. The trail system includes a variety of trails of varying levels so it is easy to go there and pick the ones that are right for you. Not heavy on ledges, the Cameron Park trails are mainly marked with difficult climbs and technical obstacles on some of the downhills.
Length: The entire system has probably 20-25 miles of trails.
Trails: Everything from flat running trails to technical downhill drops and steep climbs. The surface tends to be smoother and less rocky than you will find in Austin. This also means that it might not be that hot after a rain, so check first before you make the long trek up to Waco.
Shade: Very Good. The dense foliage will keep you in the shade most of the day. If you overheat it will be from the climbing, not the direct sunlight.
Extras: River to swim in and picnic area
Post Ride Beer: Corona. There is something clear and pure about Cameron Park, it's just you and your bike, so the beer should match that. Nothing complicated - and skip the lime, drink it straight.