Slaying ‘The Dragon': Goodwater Trail at Lake Georgetown draws adventure-seeking cyclists

The Goodwater Trail around Lake Georgetown is one of two Texas trails with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation. This distinction means a trail is considered technically demanding, physically challenging and set within a landscape that is beautiful to behold. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)
The Goodwater Trail around Lake Georgetown is one of two Texas trails with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation. This distinction means a trail is considered technically demanding, physically challenging and set within a landscape that is beautiful to behold. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)

The Goodwater Trail around Lake Georgetown is one of two Texas trails with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation. This distinction means a trail is considered technically demanding, physically challenging and set within a landscape that is beautiful to behold. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)

Image description
“I wouldn’t recommend very many riders except the most experienced ones to head out there for the full loop, unless they’ve experienced some of the shorter sections of the trail,” Georgetown Cyclewerx owner Paul Littlefield said. “It’s not very beginner friendly.” (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)
Image description
With rugged, limestone terrain, the trail has gained international recognition as a challenging ride. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)
Image description
The Goodwater Trail is a 26.3-mile loop around Lake Georgetown. (Courtesy Paul Littlefield/Georgetown Cyclewerx)
From a bird's-eye view, the 26.3-mile trail that loops around Lake Georgetown appears to be in the shape of a dragon. For cyclists who have tackled the rugged limestone terrain, The Dragon lives up to its name.

“It’s a challenge,” Georgetown Cyclewerx owner Paul Littlefield said. “The trail is known for being one big adventure.”

The Goodwater Trail is one of only two trails in Texas with an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic designation. This distinction means a trail is considered technically demanding, physically challenging and set within a landscape that is beautiful to behold.

“As far as difficulty, it’s on par with trails I’ve ridden all over the [United] States—Colorado, Utah, any of the typically tough places,” Littlefield said.

The IMBA describes the trail as one that offers “sweeping views of the lake as it weaves through cedar stands and cactus-strewn fields of limestone.”


Littlefield said the terrain is “very, very rugged.” While it is relatively flat, he said there are a few steep climbs.

“In a whole loop you don’t get a total elevation gain that’s all that impressive, but you’re going up and down over the rocks the whole time, so it’s super challenging,” he said.

The Mountain Biking Project lists the highest elevation as 911 feet and the lowest point at 802 feet. Cyclists can expect an average grade for climbs and descents of 1% and a maximum of 15%, per The MTB Project’s data.

“I wouldn’t recommend very many riders except the most experienced ones to head out there for the full loop, unless they’ve experienced some of the shorter sections of the trail,” Littlefield said. “It’s not very beginner friendly.”

Littlefield also encourages those who are attempting to master the trail to brush up on bicycle repair knowledge and be prepared to change a flat tire. Cyclists should pack plenty of water and food to replenish calories, especially this time of year, he said.

“At [Georgetown Cyclewerx], we specialize in the rugged gear and the types of bikes that work well for riding out there,” Littlefield said. “We have a lot of local trail knowledge, and advice for the kind of gear that it takes to get around the loop.”

The bicycle shop, located at 3010 Williams Drive, Ste. 118, Georgetown, offers a free T-shirt to cyclists who can offer proof that they completed the entire loop, Littlefield said.

Annually, in November, an event called Dragon Slayer is hosted at the lake, which involves a three-lap challenge with a slightly extended loop, for a total of around 90 miles. Littlefield said it took him nearly 12 hours to “slay The Dragon.”

Over the past 10 years, Littlefield estimates he has completed the loop approximately 20 times.

“We’re into it,” he said. “It’s a big part of what we and all my buddies do.”
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

Retail businesses likely coming to acreage just east of Lake Pflugerville

A 4.7-acre plat of land located on the southeast corner of Weiss Lane and Jesse Bohls Road east of Lake Pflugerville has been rezoned to a retail district.

How healthy are these 5 Central Texas counties?

Williamson County ranked as one of the top counties in Texas and the top county in Central Texas when measuring length and quality of life. Travis County ranked next in the grouping.

The PfISD agreement comes as part of a yearslong initiative by Austin officials aimed at affordable early child care for Austin and Travis County residents. (Adobe Stock)
Austin officials allocate money to help underwrite Pflugerville classroom

Austin City Council on June 3 unanimously voted to send up to $16,000 to Pflugerville ISD to cover startup costs for a new pre-K classroom.

The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement period across Texas roads will start on May 24. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
TxDOT will launch annual ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign Monday, May 24

The campaign comes after a 2020 that saw a 16% increase in deaths of unbuckled motorists.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.