Advanced/Expert Trail with plenty of "safe" trail for the beginner: watch for other bikers and hikers (the trail is marked as a mountain bike trail). It's challenging and through some of the most beautiful wooded areas of the city, but it can be dangerous and strenuous. There is hard ground, loose sand, ROOTS, single trail to wide, DEEP creeks for fast up and down rides which are dangerous for beginners - do not ride when wet, and bridges that can be washed out after a heavy rain.
From Loop 610 West turn east (toward downtown) to the first light after the railroad underpass. Portions of the park are now on your right and left. Turn right at the light and park along the road or in the lots around the baseball fields. If you're approaching Memorial Park on Memorial Drive from the east, bear left onto the loop road. If you miss this turn, continue to the traffic light and turn left.
Summary: Who is the idiot with the junior high school education that named this trail after one of the most despotic killers in the history of the world? There are 58,000 names on a wall in Washington, D.C. that memorialize the ultimate sacrifice they made defending Vietnam, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees--many in Houston itself- who owe their lives and their freedom to those men and women. Many of their relatives were raped, maimed, or killed by Ho Chi Minh's forces. Please forward my e-mail address to the person responsible for this stupidity. I'd like to have "a word" with him or her. Thanks!
Summary: After seeing some of the reviews by the very humble (sarcasm), apparently pro riders here, I thought I'd throw in my perspective...
First, ignore any older reviews; I used to ride here in the late 80's into the 90's, and it was a very, VERY different place then, and from what I can tell, there have been several major phases of change since... I've ridden there a few times over the past 2 years, and it's even changed over that time. That said, it's still the best MTB playground in SE Texas, so my ratings are from that perspective. It's not Austin (where I live now), and it's certainly not Moab, but keep in mind where you are...
Now, what to expect? The current trails are rated by color, the easiest being the purple outer loop, and the hardest being green, which consists of a single trail that is loosely based on some pieces of the old "Cambodia" trails on the east side of the park (sorry Ho Chi veterans, the best stuff is gone). There used to be a connector trail in the back between the 2 sections called "Laos", but it is no more.
I was there after T-giving '12 and unfortunately what is left of Cambodia (green) is in bad shape; much of it has been cleared out and beaten up, with a lot of debris and felled trees on the trails... not sure what is going on, but it wasn't like that a year ago, so I suspect we'll lose it before much longer.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Anthills, Cypresswood
Summary: Since the 2011 drought these trails are plagued w/ the sinkholes, trees down and fast eroding roots. They have changed from fairly smooth to rough. There are plenty blind turns, oncoming runners, dogs and oncoming MTBr's so you need to be alert and call out "rider" pretty often. There are some sections that were really fun to ride that have become quite risky/dangerous with the erosion taking place. Sometimes you just have to hike your bike over the large trees you'll come up on the trails. The park is in the process of clearing out all of the dead trees at the park and the trails will change with that process. It will be interesting to see how the park will change with the amount of trees they remove. Overall the trail is fun to ride, and takes over an hour to ride everything (Green/Yellow/Orange/Blue/Red/TheTriangle)
Recommended Route: Start at the Green trail (farthest point east) and ride west to the blue/red/yellow/orange, then orange/yellow/red/blue to the triangle, ride that both ways and then head back to the green and ride that west to east.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Anthills, Jack Brooks Park, Double Lake, Huntsville State Park, RHR, Warda
Summary: While in town for work, i ride this as often as possible. This is a good place to go and get in a ride. The crowds are fierce some nights and probably head somewhere else on the weekend. The trails at memorial are intermediate at best, and it seems every roadie with 800$ for a 29'er is there thrashing the trail as fast as humanly possible. I dont advocate making P-paths or wimpy shortcuts around every root/rock/stump/slight trail bump at all and it seems that this is what having races here and having non-mtb'er ride here have done. Its a shame because you cant go for a ride here without almost getting run over or crashed into by some idiot out of control riding 90mph that has to pass you.
The trails themselves are good, mostly flat, with some interesting roots/erosion that has created some technical parts. No real trail features, except an attempt at some dirt jumps on the green trail. The triangle is much hyped and is definitely more difficult, but there are parts that are un-rideable i dont care how good you are. the dh parts of the triangle are worth a ride over there, but are short and semi-dangerous (this coming from a DH'er that has ridden new england all his life).
The trails here dont seem to have much maintence, but are generally in good shape due to the sheer amount of people that ride here. the erosion is really bad in places and some stone/rubble armoring would be a great improvement.
Recommended Route: I park in the lot nearest the arboroteum (not in the arboroteum) and ride along the rugby field, hit the yellow all the way to the purple, turn quick left onto orange all the way back to yellow/red and then hit the blue trail in one direction or another. Then spin over across the picnic area to the green trails and ride out and back. Thats good for an hour or so. And if you dont get run over is a pretty good ride.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Jack Brooks, by far.
Summary: This is a flat, sandy, windy little trail a few miles long. It's basically good for a loop or two just to keep the senses sharp, but there's no challenege here. I put my geared axe in storage and build a SS to get SOME excitement and labor out of riding this park. The best part about it is that it IS a park and you can take your eyes off cars and concrete...the worst is Houston MTB'ers. They have no clue, come down on their dualies with 2.4 inchers, disk brakes and all, ride like mad, never call out around bends, and have zero skills. If you like company, the best competition you get around here is some roady who's got endurance but ends up running into a tree after a while. And they just LOVE to ride after it rains, lol...and then they whine that the park authority wants to kick them out, sigh. Also watch out for the doggy crap and Californains riding this park -- you'll know b/c they have their noses way up in the air. But in closing let me say I appreciate all the people who work on this park and the fact that it's here. I am very thankful.
Recommended Route: Yuh, it's all one trail.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Go to Waco to see a real MTB course. That's why NORBA races there. For those who think the HCM trail is "awesome" or "tough," you hurt no one but yourselves with your vicious lies. It's never too late to repent. Say it with me, Ho Chi Minh, you suck, but we love you anyway, cuz you're all we've got.