If you’re looking for a well-organized and maintained environment to ride your dirt bike, ATV, or Jeep in Texas, look no further than the Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area. The park is an all-in-one riding and camping center to suit outdoor enthusiasts and ensure that you have a fantastic time on the trails.
What does Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area offer for off-roading, and what should you expect from spending a few days here riding your OHV? Here’s a complete review and guide to the BMRA to help you prepare for your trip.
Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area – Basic Info
The park opened in 2000 and welcomes dirt bikes, UTV, and OHVs on 1,850 acres altogether. It’s situated just northeast of Gilmer, TX, easy to access from State Highway 155 North. You’ll be able to spot a brown sign pointing you to the turn on the left; then, you’ll be on the right track.
The park office is open Thursdays from 12pm to 10pm and then most of the day on Fridays and Saturdays (8am-midnight). You’ll need to stick to these times to enter the park. Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area officially closes on Sunday at 6pm on regular weekends (different times apply for extended holiday weekends when special events are also on).
You can stay at the park for a few days in a row, but it’s important to book in advance. They have six cabins and five bunkhouses on-site, but there is also an electric RV campground with 18 sites and a premium RV campground featuring 8 sites with higher amp rating on the connections.
If you stay overnight, remember that you cannot enter the park after midnight, so plan to be within the park grounds before that.
Finally, the park also has primitive camping spots you can use if you don’t need the RV sites or more built-up options.
Barnwell Mountain Trails
Riding at Barnwell Mountain is great fun, thanks to the well-maintained trails separated for motorcycles and other vehicles.
The motorcycle loop has 27 miles ranging from easy to hard, marked clearly and easy to follow. There’s a scenic Adventure Trail for ATVs and dirt bikes that covers 16 miles, starting from the same place as the motorcycle loop.
Many organizations have recognized the trails for their quality, thanks to the association of the park with the Texas Motorized Trail Coalition. The park is a property of the coalition and one of its largest projects funded from a grant process through the Recreational Trails Program. Along with the high-quality Barnwell Mountain cabins, another distinctive feature of this park are the unobtrusive trail markings that ensure the feel of nature immersion is kept on the trails. These signs have now become favorites of other facilities, too.
Surroundings: Gilmer and Beyond
Once you’re done riding the trails at Barnwell Mountain Park, you can also enjoy some local tourism in Gilmer, a historic city and economic center of Upshur County. Once a leading trade center in Texas before the Civil War, Gilmer was also an educational center, home to a Male Institute and a Female Institute of the Methodist Church.
The city is now home to the nationally famous Yamboree, a historical museum, the Cherokee Rose Festival, art, antiques, and crafts shopping.
Reviews of Barnwell Mountain Park
Considering the superb facilities, friendly welcoming staff, and first-class trails, Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area is an excellent all-around off-roading destination. It is very well-known for dirt biking in east Texas, thanks to the single track, which doesn’t hold the rain and allows bikers to keep riding through all seasons.
The cabins and overall accommodation are exceptionally clean and good-quality, while the off-roading trails allow all types of riders to enjoy themselves to the maximum.
The only thing to be aware of is that there are several events, and this can cause reservations to be missed sometimes. This is why many visitors advise that you always call in advance to double-check if some events might not be advertised online.
Extend Your Trip: Nearby Off-Road Parks
East Texas is not short of other off-road parks where you can extend your trip to the state. Here are a few picks near Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area.
Rabbit Creek Offroad Park
Muddy off-road fun awaits at Rabbit Creek Offroad, just under 2 hours drive from Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area. They are open every day, and visitors can ride for a $10 daily pass. This is an ATV park primarily but also accessible to 4-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. Trails can be pretty tricky, so be prepared for some level of difficulty. Find out more, including how to contact them, on their Facebook page.
High Lifter Proving Grounds
Located in Shreveport, LA, 14 miles southwest of High Lifter and about 80 miles from Barnwell Mountain, this off-road park is a top destination for ATV enthusiasts from East Texas, Northern Louisiana, and Southern Arkansas. It offers lots of muddy rides, challenging conditions, and easier, more accessible rides for beginners. At the cost of $20 per person, you can ride here over the weekends as a non-member. You can also get a membership and have access to the park every day of the year.
Alligator Run Offroad Park
The largest offroad park in Texas welcomes you 12 miles south of Longview in Easton, TX. Open all year, the trails here combine wetlands with dry areas offering a mix of everything you could want to ride. In addition, there’s incredible scenery, lots of exciting events and camping facilities, including free primitive camping spots. Showers and other amenities are also available.
This is an extremely popular place, so be prepared to mix with lots of other ATV and UTV riders and have an excellent time.
Off-Road Riding at Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area and Beyond
If you’re looking for a great off-roading park for a weekend in East Texas, Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area packs a great punch when it comes to fun trails with different difficulty levels and a friendly welcome. It’s a great destination year-round and a good stop if you’re touring around Texas looking for off-roading adventures or if you’re local and just want to ride the trail occasionally. Enjoy the great trails, and don’t forget to check out their events to plan some bigger days out, rodeos, etc.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.