Recommended Tire Size
~40% smooth gravel
The East Texas Piney Woods is a unique region of Texas that is very sparsely populated with people, but it makes up for that with an abundance of Loblolly Pine Trees. If you want to experience a part of Texas that is unknown to even most locals, this route is for you!
- Remote Texas back roads
- Davy Crockett National Forest and Sam Houston National Forest (less than 3% of TX is public land, so this route utilizes a large part of available public lands)
- Most of the roads are very remote and barely traveled, however there are still plenty of resupply options
- This route has been ridden by 100’s of other bikepackers, so it’s been put to the test time and time again with amazingly positive feedback
The Loblolly Pines of East Texas is a significant region in Texas for a couple of reasons. First, for its iconic Loblollies that are unique to this region of Texas. Also, for two large swaths of public land in the Davy Crockett National Forest and Sam Houston National Forest. With less than 3% of Texas being public land, it is a rare commodity and one that this route tries to capitalize on.
East Texas is an enigma to even most Texans. With no major city centers, tourist attractions, and with it being so far away, it really does feel like a completely different part of Texas. In some ways it’s like looking back in time and getting a sense for how Texas used to be, you know, “back in the good ole days”.
For much of the ride you will be encompassed by Loblolly pines standing 125’ tall on average. They will be so numerous that you will quickly see why it is referred to as the “Texas Pine Curtain” and they will stand so tall that you will feel consumed by the forest. You’ll pop out of the forest into small towns with friendly locals manning the registers and the deli shops, all of them excited and curious about you and what they heck you are doing. The other notable scenery will be the numerous private cattle ranches that are motifs of the quintessential Texas landscape.
The route is 40% paved and 60% unpaved. The unpaved sections can vary greatly depending on weather conditions and local road maintenance. This region has sandy loam soil which, as you can imagine, is sandy when dry and muddy when wet. While there will most likely be some bike pushing, these areas are relatively few and short-lived. Most of the unpaved sections are maintained with gravel and easily rideable. This route takes advantage of county roads, forest roads, farm-to-market, etc. all of which are maintained to some degree. So from a surface perspective the route is very approachable.
- Paved: 40%
- Smooth Gravel: 40%
- Rough Gravel: 10%
- 4×4 Road: 10%* (sand)
- Singletrack: 0%
Need to Know:
- Hunting is permitted within the National Forest. Go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website for the most current information about hunting seasons, regulations, and dispersed camping.
- It’s HOT in Texas. During the summer months, this route will be unapproachable for most and unappealing to just about everyone. Please be mindful of the temperatures and your own abilities before attempting to ride in the Summer.
This route was first introduced as the Slowdown version of the East Texas Showdown and is the route that Patrick Farnsworth first created before creating an entire event around it.
Patrick created the route based on his own personal approach to bikepacking and how he likes to generally plan his trips.
Depending on the rider’s own approach, they may be interested to know:
So riders can really pick their pleasure and find a route that suits them!
To date the routes have seen about 350 riders and with their feedback tweeks have been made in order to make the routes even better.
Patrick Farnsworth created and stewards The Texas Pine Curtain route.
He lives around 1 1/2 hour away from the route. Patrick has 4 years of experience creating the routes, leading rides on, and organizing bikepacking races as a part of his Texas SHOWDOWN series.
Patrick is the host and creator of the Bikes or Death podcast, “At its heart, Bikes or Death is more than just a podcast. Bikes or Death is a lifestyle. It’s the idea that a life without bikes is a life not worth living.”
Patrick has offered to be available to answer questions if you are planning a trip on this route.
Please also get in touch with any updates on route conditions that may be relevant to other riders.
Please submit your questions and comments on the route via the contract form below.
This route traverses the traditional lands of the Tonkawa, Caddo, Alabama, Bidai, Koasati (Coushatta), and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) people.