Spider Mountain Bike Park, where a ski lift carries cyclists to the top of a hill so they can focus on the ride down, has added two new trails to its network of twisty routes.
One, dubbed Tarantula, features a 115-foot stretch of boardwalk that’s elevated 7 feet off the ground. There’s also a wooden wall ride (painted like a huge Texas flag), bridges and ramps, so riders can fly through the air as they rumble down the 900-foot trail.
“Tarantula is designed for both those who are new to mountain biking and those who live and breathe it,” says Deseree Hernandez, director of operations. “Beginners can roll through to have fun or go expert-style and show off their freeride skills.”
Recluse, the second new trail, isn’t quite as daunting. The rolling, 300-foot route rides like a pump track between the existing Viper’s Den and Itsy-Bitsy trails.
All the trails at the park are marked green for beginner, blue for intermediate and black for expert, just like trails at a snow ski resort.
“Our concept was to make Recluse a light blue trail,” Hernandez said. “It’s a great way for riders to progress from Itsy-Bitsy, our easiest trail, to a blue run with more challenges. But it’s also super fun for more experienced riders.”
To celebrate the new trails, the park will host a party this Saturday, Aug. 3, complete with a ribbon cutting, a train of riders coming down both trails, competitions and an evening party. Activities start at 10 a.m., with the Texas State Whip-Off Championship at 11 a.m. and the Wall Ride Competition at 1 p.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. and a post-race party starts at 7 p.m.
When I visited the park last February, the day after it opened, I loaded my bike onto a ski lift that once whisked skiers up Al’s Run at Taos Ski Resort in New Mexico and bombed down Itsy-Bitsy alongside the park’s crazy-like-an-over-grown-kid mastermind, James Coleman.
Coleman grew up in Austin and dreamed of owning ski resorts, which he now does. He lives in Durango, where he’s the managing partner of a company that owns Purgatory Resort, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, Pajarito Mountain, Hesperus Ski Area, Nordic Valley Ski Resort, and Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation, Purgatory Snowcat Adventures.
Spider Mountain is the only lift-served mountain bike park in Texas, and the only year-round park of its type in the United States.
Want an idea of what it feels like to ride the new Tarantula trail? Watch this video from Spider Mountain:
Spider Mountain is at 200 Greenwood Hills Trail near Burnet, about 60 miles northwest of Austin. Park hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, plus holidays and spring break. Day passes are $50 for adults ($45 youth or senior; free ages 10 and under). To ride the lift without a bike, pay $20 round-trip adult or $15 youth or senior. For more information go to spidermountain.com.Want to stay overnight? Thunderbird Lodge, a no-frills hotel and marina, is located next door.