Monday, April 26, 2021

Carrollton Greenbelt

Hot for more of that Carrollton-area area action, I texted Justin last week to see what he could hook me up with. He lives in Carrollton now, and it seemed like I'd seen that he'd ridden something unrecognizable out there recently.

Indeed, there were new trails at Castle Playground, and of course, there was also the general Carrollton Greenway - a 15ish mile paved loop around the city. Sounded good to me, so I hit that this past Wednesday, I think. I think it was Wednesday. It all runs together sometimes.

Man, it's a freaking hour to Carrollton from my place, and I swear I spent half of it getting through this one interesction close to town. On the upside, the delay gave me pleny of time to notice this interestingly-named subdivision.

Sugar Bush

Whoever got that approved is an absolute legend.

At seeminly infinite length, I finally arrived at the Castle Playground lot...

Castle Playground

...and got changed in the nearby facilities. The guy parked next to me looked like a younger version of Justin, with long hair, rivaling mine. (My hair is pretty long, at the moment.)

"'Bout to hit it eh?"


He gave me the rundown on the local trail, and we talked a bit about Moore's Bridge too. Turns out he was also a mountain biker, and had ridden with Justin yesterday. The smallness of the world consistently amazes me.

I hit the west side trail.

Trail Sign

And as the guy had described, it was like one long pump track. Rolling dip after rolling dip. It was fairly recently cut though, so it was a little rough and hard to keep speed, but it'll be fast and fun soon. A connector out of the north end led to the trails on the east side which were a little less pumpy, but more steadily downhill.

New Trail

Both were lots of fun to ride.

There were various older trails cutting across the new ones, so I explored those for a while too. Some were blazed blue, as if they were intended to be proper trails. There was also this marker post out there.

Turbulence Sign

Which looked really new. Like maybe the new trail on that side was named "Turbulence". But the post was about 10 feet off of the new trail, down one of the old trails, so I couldn't be sure.

When I felt like I'd explored all of that adequately, I hit the Greenbelt itself, counter-clockwise.

Carrollton Greenway Pavement

It was impressively hilly and curvy, and there were many turns. Greenways so often follow old sewer lines or rail beds, and while still nice to ride, can be somewhat featureless. Not so here. The trail passes through all kinds of diverse little green spaces. It was surprsingly fun to ride and there was a lot to see. I did not expect this.

The first park that I passed through after Castle had a bunch of side trails off to the right. I tried to explore them, but kept finding that I was going the wrong way. They all appeared to be downhill-specific, with berms and jumps and drops.


But I couldn't find one that you'd use to climb back up to the top. Maybe you're supposed to ride up the road into the neighborhood? Maybe somewhere else on the Greenbelt, there's a connector over to the top? I didn't have time to figure it out, but maybe I'll go back someday.

Before long, the trail passed Lake Carroll.

Lake Carroll From the North

See, lots of stuff to see out there.

I had to pass through this weird chicane at some point too.

Weird Chicane

I was heading toward it pretty fast, and it wasn't immediately clear what was going on. From the other direction, that piece in the middle kind-of blended in to the rest of it. I'm not really sure how to describe it. It was confusing, and I had to get on the brakes pretty good when I finally realized what I was heading into.

There was also this cool under-bridge thing.

Cool Under-Bridge

Somewhere early on, there was a side loop called the Hobbs Farm Loop where you could see all kinds of wetland.

The pavement itself seemed like it would be more fun on a mountain bike or hybrid than on a road bike.

More Carrollton Greenway Pavement

It was just concrete, as opposed to asphalt. You don't notice the divisions on a fat tire, but I imagine you would on a road tire. Though, maybe not with a 28.

There was this long wooden bridge called Molly's Walk.

Molly's Walk

And a little shoal on Buffalo Creek.

Shoal on Buffalo Creek

The shoal is just below a big chunk of exposed granite, and there are big chunks of rock and concrete on it, I guess to keep people from driving down to it or something.

Rocks and Concrete at Buffalo Creek Shoals

Laura's Park is at mile 0, so I guess that's the official start/finish.

Laura's Park Sign

I'd started almost 180 degrees opposite of that.

There were a couple of detours down sidewalks.


One of them appeared to detour a spot where they were still building the trail. I couldn't tell what the other was detouring, as the trail appeared to go behind some buildings and then emerge back out from behind them later.

There was a spur in there somewhere that led to downtown Carrollton. I followed it, but it really just led to some railroad tracks and kind-of ended there. It might have only been a few blocks from there to downtown, but I didn't know the area, so I didn't pursue it any farther.

I rode through some industrial park (see, very diverse stuff along the route) and someone had removed the E from a frontline workers sign.

Work Her

Aaahhh... "Work her" Clever.

Ought to be on youtube in one of those clever vandalism compilations.

More glourious stuff to see.

Richards Lake

You kind-of cross that lake, if I remember correctly, and I remember it being cooler there than on the rest of the trail.



These cows were really used to people riding by them. When my Dad and I rode the Northeast Texas Trail a while back, it seemed like we spooked every herd of cows we passed.

There was some kind of outdoor classroom on Buffalo Creek and this huge metal buffalo sculpture was just up the hill from it.


When I got back around to the other side of Lake Carroll, the sun was going down, and it was so perfect.

Lake Carroll from the South

I couldn't have arrived at that spot at a more perfect moment.

I mostly rode through a park from there back to the car. There were lots of soccer fields, and lots of guys were playing. I remember thinking "That's their equivalent of what I'm doing" and wondering if any of them thought the same thing seeing me ride by.

Right before crossing the road to the parking lot, I noticed what appeared to be more new trail off to the left, so I followed it. It ran for like a quarter mile before ending at this mini-excavator.

Trail Building

Ha! I guess that's the newest bit of trail there. Not quite finished yet.

Well, as fun as that singeltrack was to ride, it was honestly a bit outshined by the Greenbelt. I really just expected to be cranking out miles. It did not expect it to be interesting and fun. There is so much stuff to see, and the trail itself was so much more fun to ride than you'd imagine. Not quite "road-bike-singletrack" but just a bit short of it.

A guy I work with rides the Alpharetta Greenway quite a bit. I'm definitely going to recommend it to him.

On the way out, I tried to find somewhere to eat, and it looked like there was a Shane's Rib Shack nearby. Awesome. There's not one near me any more and I haven't been to one in a while. It was 8:30 when I got there, but they close at 9. I stood at the counter until 8:36 when a very discouraged-looking guy finally took my order. He assured me that they were still serving, but did not seem happy about it. 23 minutes later I finally got my order. They were set to close 1 minute after that. I could see why it was taking so long though. A steady stream of to-go orders were flowing out the door. It was perpetual. Like while one person was busy picking up their order, another person would walk in. Nothing like having to deal with the last-minute dinner rush. My chicken was delicious though, and overall, it had been a very satisfying day.

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