Chaparral Rail Trail


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Chaparral Rail Trail Facts

States: Texas
Counties: Collin, Delta, Fannin, Hunt
Length: 35.2 miles
Trail end points: Historic Onion Shed at S. Main Street (Farmersville) and Crawford Street (Pecan Gap)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032398

Chaparral Rail Trail Description

Chaparral Rail Trail, connecting four counties northeast of Dallas, has been developing since it was first envisioned in 1995. The 35-mile route is the westernmost leg of the regional Northeast Texas Trail system, which will one day span more than 130 miles and 19 communities.

The rail-trail begins in Farmersville, where its first 2.5 miles are paved. The trailhead is located a block from downtown at the Onion Shed, a restored building from the 1930s that was once used as a loading dock for the onion industry.

When the pavement ends, expect crushed-stone, dirt, and gravel surfaces. Outside the city, the route feels remote and forested.

The trail continues through the communities of Merit, Celeste, Ladonia, and Wolfe City with several miles between each. Though these are small towns, most have a grocery store and restaurants that make helpful and much-needed stopping points to rest and refuel.

The trail peters out at Crawford Street on the outskirts of Pecan Gap. From there, trail becomes overgrown and nearly impassable, though travelers can drive about 30 miles northeast, to the city of Paris, to pick up two more sections of the Northeast Texas Trail, both fully paved. Trail de Paris begins just a couple of blocks from Paris’ Main Street and heads east, connecting directly with the Reno Rail-Trail, which continues through Reno to Blossom. Together, they encompass 11 miles of trail.

In Avery, about 40 miles east of Reno by car, another section of the trail, the DeKalb Trace, can be traveled by bicycle, horseback, or on foot all the way to New Boston, a distance of 22 miles.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the trail's western end at the historical Onion Shed (151 S. Main Street) and at the J.W. Spain Athletic Complex (400 Merit Street).

Chaparral Rail Trail Reviews

nice trail

Biked about 11 miles, starting in Farmersville. Other than a few muddy spots, it’s a good ride. Progresses from asphalt, to different types of gravel to trail. Spring seems like the perfect time to go. I would not recommend this trail during the summer, or on any other type of bike, other than a mountain or hybrid. The park in Farmersville desperately needs a restroom.

Not good for bikes (maybe mountain)

We 'tried' to do this trail today on our ebikes. They are folders with small tires and no suspension, and this is a rough trail. We parked and put in at Wolfe City. We only rode 3.7 miles round-trip because it was exhausting. There was overgrown grass, a large hole in the pathway heading north from Wolfe City, and just a general unkempt trail. It might be okay for mountain bikes, but for any other sort of bike, it would be difficult. Too bad they haven't received funding to pave or at least smooth out this 35 mile trail.

Ice Storm

Just a heads up. The trail at least in Northern Hunt County experienced a severe ice storm and there are trees down on the trail. The areas behind my property look pretty bad from the roadways. I could not find a number to contact them to notify them about it.

Ladonia to Pecan Gap

The surface appears to be in good shape but the overgrowth makes this portion of the trail unusable for hiking, biking and equestrian. Bushes and trees enclose portions of the trail, it is barely passable and where there is grass, it is very tall. By far the worst part are the spiders and spider webs, they are EVERYWHERE. I stopped every quarter mile to wipe them off, they were unavoidable. I exited the trail at CR 3675, three miles into the ride from Ladonia. Had one flat tire from the thick spiked vine that were also ever-present on the trail.


Landowner Along Trail.

Since the gates were put in and surface upgraded there has been an increase in bike and hiking traffic. One group consisted of a Veteran and his sons and friends and I was able to provide them water for their canteens. They were going to camp along the trail and I began thinking that I could develop a camping spot next to the trail if there was interest. I am about halfway between Merit and Celeste, Texas. PLEASE PLEASE take your trash and any other you find as that's my biggest complaint. Most people are very considerate and I do appreciate it.

Good mountain bike excursion

Rode mountain bike from Farmersville to Ladonia; thru Celeste was a very good ride, just a few wet spots but trail has been maintained recently, in very good shape. Celeste to Wolfe City, lots of standing water for long stretches (walked most of these), overgrown in places and can be pretty rough riding. The four railroad trestles are not for the faint of heart, some have wide tree branches instead of railroad ties and there are gaps that could swallow a bike if you went sideways, do not ride across these. Several wash-outs in the area. No rain in previous 9 days so water problems will be there until the summer. Had 3 flat tires. Wolfe City to Ladonia has many wet spots and is somewhat overgrown but is almost as nice as the trail from Merit to Celeste. Except for the Celeste to Wolfe City stretch, this would be a five star.

Very disappointing

Started in Farmersville and did the 2 1/2 miles to the crushed stone to the northeast. Frankly even that 2 1/2 mile was a real problem for us. My wife and I are 65+ with health issues that make riding recumbent trikes necessary.
The first issue is with the bollards that are used at each intersection with the crossing streets and roads. While I understand the need for them, they really should be spaced differently. Put the middle bollard a little to one side. That way, cars and other motorized vehicles are still blocked, but we can still get thru. We had some of these that we had about an inch on either side of our wheels requiring us to virtually stop to get thru. At one road, it was just easier to hit the grass and go around, as I saw several bikers doing.
The other issue is the bridge at about the 2 mile mark. The bridge is significantly above the height of the road. There is no gradual incline to the bridge. It's a very short incline with a very severe bump at the top. We barely cleared our frames getting over it.
Finally, the other issue is just the condition of the trail. The concrete sections are in pretty good shape, the asphalt sections are not. Then there is the issue with all of the horse droppings.
Since there are so few trails for non motorized vehicles in this area, we thought we would try this trail out. Frankly, this is the worst trail we've dealt with so far.

Nicely improved

I took a troop on a hike from Farmersville to Celeste on October 3. The section from Farmersville to Merit is, as mentioned in many reviews below, in excellent shape. From Merit to Celeste is vastly improved from work done over the summer of 2020. There are still large rocks in the gravel, and there are still areas that will probably pose a problem after a rain, but the underbrush has been cleared significantly and the road graded. One critique—the brush has been cut back so much that there is far less shade from Merit to Celeste than from Farmersville to Merit.

very nice bike ride.

Great improvement from Merrit. Very clean and well maintained. Very nice shade.

Muddy Ride

The first 2.5 miles are paved out of Farmersville. The next 2.5 miles is crushed rock. It was great for the first 5 miles. I was hoping to do the entire 35 miles but I hit the great Texas Peanut butter soil (TX Clay). After riding through the first section and cleaning the mud off the bike I hit another section. I bailed the trail and went for a pleasant 36 mile ride on the farm roads. Riding the shoulder of 78 is pretty sketchy and I would t recommend it.

A pleasant ride

The five miles from the Onion shed in Farmersville to around the junction with FM 2194 is wide, well maintained and easy riding for most any bicycle. After that is it gravelly and very overgrown and more suitable for a mountain bike . The route is very scenic and quiet with a lot of butterflies, cardinals and horses visible in the fields but few people or cars at the crossings.

Bland HS to Farmersville

My kids go to Bland. I live 10 minutes from this trail and run it often. It would be perfect if we could resolve 2 issues: Dogs. Lots of them. Every time I go. I’ve been chased multiple times.
From Bland to Farmersville is great, but the “crushed rock” in the opposite direction from the school is not even walkable, much less a running surface. I hope we continue to see improvements to this trail. It’s almost a gem, but could be better.

Rough terrain-not just “crushed rock”

I wanted to write to let you know about my experience this weekend. I selected the October Fest Trail Run Marathon about 5 months ago because it was on a Saturday, it was rated a 1 for “non technical terrain that was fast”, the description on the Ultra Expeditions site stated “crushed rock that was an easy out and back course.” This was going to be my 1st marathon at 46 years young. I was so excited! I booked a great room at a local airb&b site and recruited a friend to come and run the half. Everything was great until about mile 7. What I endured the next 7 miles out and 7 miles back was anything but “fast” and “crushed rock”. I literally had to walk most of the 14 miles. I rolled my ankle 10 times while walking. The path contained golf ball size rocks and had several ruts along the way. I shed a few tears out of frustration along the way. This was not how my dream of completing a marathon was supposed to play out. My back was in agonizing pain throughout. Please change your description and please show accurate pics of the boulders along the trail. If I had known the reality of the course I most certainly would not have signed up for the beating my body took. Thank you for your consideration.

First Time on the Trail...

My kids and I did most of the first part of the trail today. We had planned to go from Farmersville to Merit and back, but 4 miles into it, we turned back because of dogs-for which we were not prepared. I recommend taking a can of mace for dogs-which one will certainly run into as one gets into more remote farming areas with dogs running lose. This is truly a wonderful trail and project--one of the best things government has done in a long time. My dream would be to go from Farmersville to New Boston, camping along the trail. For now (until retirement), I will have to be satisfied with doing day-hikes along certain legs of the trail.

Definitely an experience. Needs A LOT of work!!

I started off in Pecan Gap with every intention of riding from there to Farmersville. First off we had to take a road around the initial entry as it was not rideable. We picked up the trail after about half a mile and began our ride. The trail looks like it had not been maintained in quite some time and was very much a pain navigating it. Made it all the way to Wolfe City before I could no longer take the poor trail and the beating I was taking from the over growth. This would be a great trail if it was maintained better. Definitely a lot different the the Mineral Wells to Weatherford trail.

osborn 2 ride

I did a eightteen mile loop from Farmersville past Merit this past week. I am from Wilmington De and do a tone of trails in the North East. The people of Farmersville should be very proud of the five miles that has been paved or fine limestone. The next four miles got rough and not knowing the area I did a U turn. I did get to meet a guy how is on the Board for the NETT trail will go from Farmersville to New Boston about 130 miles and will be one of the top 50 trials in the USA. Back in town I had a BBQ beef Sandwich at Jordan's and it was one of the very best, the French Fries are the best. The trail head in Farmersville is very nice and the Town has done one great job on both the trail and trail head.

Okay though Mile 17

Seems that this trail has fully dried out now. Pretty clear through mile ~17 or so, but a bit overgrown after that.

Dont know what folks expect from gravel roads, but this one is easily rideable on hybrid or cyclocross > 10mph the whole way. Maybe even roadbike if your skills are good.

Paved for the first ~2.5 mi, packed cinders until ~5mi, gravel after that. Some of the longer rail bridges are a bit technical (to ride) and could use repair, but none seem unsafe.

GREAT Potential, but...

Left Farmersville at the trailhead, It was at first concrete, which gave way to asphalt, then back to concrete, to packed sand, and then to tooth-loosening gravel. Much of the trail is washed out, no doubt due to the heavy precip we've had all through May and June. I wouldn't want to even attempt this trail beyond the packed sand part on anything less than a FAT bike. Also, in much of the trail it is obvious that cars or trucks have been driving the trail, leaving ruts behind.

Finally at around mile 8 or so ran into a very large pool of standing water covering the trail, so had to turn around and head back.

This will be a fabulous trail if whomever is in charge ever decides to actually maintain it. Right now it is pretty much in shambles once you leave the paved portions.

Muddy but fun ride

We set off for the trail Wednesday March 13 not knowing the trail conditions after quite a bit of rain and little sunshine over the last several weeks. We started out in Farmersville and rode to Celeste. The first first five or so miles were great, paved then gravel. Lots of mud after that, we were up for adventure so we pushed forward mud and all. Bikes gears got gummed up pretty good, we were even washing them in the puddles so they would keep moving. I hope to go back after a few weeks of sunshine to see what the rest of the trail has to offer. I wish this trail was closer to home.

GREAT Ride Trail

Walked some of this trail to check it out. I've been looking for a good trail to ride my horses up to Caddo. And though this trail doesn't dump there it will take me most of the way. Looks promising.

In a land were URBAN sprawl is everywhere it's nice to see trails like this to ride on. I keep having to move further and further out because URBAN sprawl chomps up farm lands and then the people that move from the city to live a better life in a country setting want to drag the city with them. So trails like these are paramount to those of us who like to get out into nature and have the ability to hike, bike, horseback ride long distances with out being near busy road ways.

This is the fourth of fifth rail to trail I've ridden/hiked/ biked on and I only have this to say for those that want perfect paved trails to ride on. Stick to the city unless you have a mountain bike. Most Rails to Trails are not perfectly paved or graveled. Though they are kept up well.

Promising Trail

I live in Farmersville near the southern trailhead and ride this trail often with my daughter. It's a nice trail and I've seen it improve over the years. One drawback is the fact that horses are allowed on it. I have nothing against them nor would I try to deny recreational use of the trail to their riders, but they are tearing up the crushed granite section of the trail. It used the be nice and smooth but now it is pock marked with hoof prints and is quite rough in spots. If this keeps up it will be hard to ride with anything but a mountain bike, much like when it was just a gravel trail left over from when the train tracks and railroad ties were removed. It would be a shame to let that happen to this fun trail.

Recent Improvements

Groups have been working to improve the Southern Part of this Trail from the trailhead in Farmersville to the southern city limits in Pecan Gap. There is more work to be done, but this 37 mile section of the trail is now open.

The first 5 miles are paved with asphalt, concrete, or decomposed granite, and bridges are decked. No railings are in place.

The rest of the 37 miles vary, with most sections double track, some vegetation issues, and many open, un-decked trestles. WALK YOUR BIKE ACROSS UNDECKED BRIDGES! Caution is advised, but I have cycled the entire way on a hybrid bike. Most of the trimming has been of woody stock with hand trimmers. Carry clippers and help out along the way as the mood strikes you. Also, remember, grass grows daily.

The fido listed in one of the reviews at the 3 mile mark was my black and tan beagle mix, and he is now dead. He was always friendly, and I always knew he was there. Now, I miss him.


Thanks to some of the wonderful volunteers from North East Texas Trails association we were able to get the Wolfe City, Hunt County parts of the trail from CR 4901 to CR 3905(cemetery road) passable again. We walked in with large clippers and chain saws. The area of the trail from hwy34 to CR4901 is still not passable but we are headed in the right direction.

Needs attention badly

It's green and beautiful but impassable in several areas, it's been a challenge to ride down from hwy 34 in Wolfe city to Ladonia for months now we've been taking a beating from over grown brush and tree limbs to low but now it's impassable with the large trees that have fallen. Sadly people have been dumping their unwanted furniture ie refrigerators, couches, and old beds on the areas that they can access with vehicles. This part of the trail desperately needs help.

Walk it, run it, or ride it

I run this from Farmersville (Onion Shed) to FM2194.

2.5 miles are paved. 1.5 miles were recently developed with a really nice finely crushed amber rock of some sort. The final mile is gravel and a bit rougher.

Overall, very well maintained. I've had "dog problems" at the 2.5 mile point so I'm always super cautious there. But, I really do love running this route. Out and back I can get a ten mile run in pretty easy.

Exercise extreme caution at all CR and FM crossings because the traffic pays no attention to the warnings and yields.

Farmersville to Merit Cemetery

Trailhead starts at S Main Street and Orion Alley (although Googlemaps calls it Hill St) in downtown Farmersville. Note this parking lot is currently under construction. Alternatively, park at the J.W. Spain Athletic complex and head Northeast on the trail; bypassing only a short (paved) section of the trail. Trail quickly turns rural after J.W. Spain. Like another poster, we met a dog at ~mile 3 and was not sure if he was friendly. Landowner may or may not be aware Fido is out there. Trail runs close to Merit Cemetery where there is room to park East of 36 off CR1108. Alternatively, the trail also goes behind Bland High school in Merit if you're looking for an end point (or starting point) in Merit. Will be attempting this section of the trail again soon. Quiet and fast double track MBT which is also clearly used for horses and hiking.

12/18/12 Wolfe City to Ladonia leg

The wife and I rode from Wolfe City to Ladonia and back. Total mileage was right at 17 miles including riding around Ladonia just a bit. The first 1.5-2 miles east of Wolfe City was fairly overgrown and slow, including a couple of dismounts to crawl under some fallen trees. The trail then opened up and was mostly open, clean and fast all the way to Ladonia. It is apparent that several land owners use the trail for access to their property, which keeps the trail clean and smooth. There were even several miles that had obviously been mowed. Overall this is still cross country mountain biking and I recommend riding nothing less than a true mountian bike. More to come.

Farmersville Rail trail Chaparral

I rode a good portion of the trail on 10-20-2012 My Chaparral Trail Tour did not go well. Original plan was to ride from Carrollton TX and stay at Lovonia Park on Lake Lavon. Trailer broke so i drove to the park $12.00 paid for two($24.00) because of check out time. great park for camping quite. The following is a listing of the ride. I have pictures(facebook) of every mile going north for 15 to Celeste till i turned back.i rode a Diamondback overdrive with a 2.1 hybrid commuter tire. Will put on my knobies next time. to try to go further north.
1. New Trailer broke my bike axle before I left
2. Repaired bike and drove to Lavonia Park Camping.
3. Rode 25 Miles on Chaparral Trail on ruff as hell gravel roads and sketchy bridges.
4. Attacked by dog at mile 2 on the way to Farmersville
5. Attacked by dog at mile 12 on the trail
6. Frame and rack broke at mile 25 Merit Texas
7. Had to call wife to pick me up.
8. Great weather to ride was able to get in 55 miles total
9. Rode a spooky trail and would do again
10. Learn from my mistakes and try it again

Celeste to Wolf City part of the trail

My wife and I did an out and back from Celeste to Wolf City on 11-30-12. I forgot to reset my computer, but it is around 7.5-8 miles each way. There were a few areas of heavy gravel and several areas of heavy overgrowth. We also cleared a few downed trees along the way. For the most part a very rideable trail. A reasonable pace should be around 8 MPH. You could likely average 10 MPH with a little effort. There are three old RR trestles/bridges that do not have any improvements. We rode across one and walked the others. Overall a good experience and I now have enough confidence in the trail for us to drop a car at Wolf City, drive to Farmersville and do a one way ride from F-Ville to WC. More to come in the future.

11/25/12 Farmersville to Merit

Took my first ride on the trail today from the trail head in Farmersville to Merit. The ride was enjoyable and refreshing. Please tell me that the gravel/dirt trails will not be covered with concrete. This is a gem for our area if the natural state can be managed for those seeking outdoor adventure. My compliments to those with the foresight to develop this old railway into a wonderful opportunity for exercise and adventure. My brother-in-law and I are planning to ride from Farmersville to Paris in the near future with welcome stops for chicken fried and pancakes.

11-08-12, 8 miles out and back from Farmersville

My wife and I rode from Frmersville out to CR1104 and back this morning. Total trip was 16.4 miles. This was our first time on Chaparral trail and it was awesome. The fall colors are great at this time. We averaged just over 9 MPH at a leisurely pace. I think 10-12 MPH average could be very possible. It was very windy today which was not felt much on the trail. The trail is in nice shape. The first 2-2.5 miles is paved then it turned to doubletrack. There were a few rough areas but mostly it was moderately packed and very rideable. There was a huge pile of decomposed granite and parked tractors at one area, where it was apparent they had been working on the trail. We are planning on doing about 22ish miles one way from Farmersville to Wolfe City soon. I'll give an update on that ride.

Reply to fourhufffamily

I realize this is a "review" site and not a "forum", but want to reply to fourhufffamily. Hopefully, you will see this reply tonight and are available to be in Greenville at 1:00 on Friday, 27-April; Landon Winery.
Hope to see you there.

Landowner who has 2000' of trail frontage

I have property that is along the trail. There was a ditch dug that kept motor vehicles and such from having access. Hikers and bikers could get by the ditch. Here recently a crew came through and filled the ditch in and now the poachers and tresspassers are bad. My question is who is responsible for policing the trail.

Farmersville-Ladonia, Overnight MTB Trip

At approximately 31 miles of rough gravel terrain, Farmersville to Ladonia represents a good length for an out and back, overnight MTB trip. A riding buddy and I tackled this trip on September 24/25, and enjoyed a generally positive adventure. Highlights included seeing small-town Texas up close (Farmersville, Meritt, Celeste, Wolfe City, and Ladonia), and a strong sense of pioneering, given the relatively overgrown state of much of the trail. Our overnight stay in Ladonia revealed an unexpected gem of a town, with two good restaurants, a great rustic lodge, and even a visit from the Mayor!

During the planning stages, the first question was where to stay in Ladonia. A Google search turned up no nearby hotels, but I came across Rick Barrett ( and his Ladonia Lodge thru a Yahoo users group. This 6-bedroom lodge is located at the edge of "Downtown" Ladonia, and was absolutely perfect for our needs.

The internet also revealed the presence of two restaurants in Ladonia, but I could not have hoped for the quality we experienced. Dinner on Saturday night was at Fat Boy's BBQ ( We arrived a little beat, but were revived by great ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, as well as the unique treat of fried corn-on-the-cob. But get there early---Fat Boy's closes at 5pm on Saturdays. Breakfast on Sunday was at Gloria's Kitchen, clearly a local institution. Even Ladonia Mayor Jan Cooper showed up---and she had heard a few intrepid cyclists were in town.

Other posters are all too correct----some sections of the trail are woefully unkempt and overgrown. The worst sections were rideable, but barely. And yes, there are clearly man-made obstacles---trenches and mounds that deter use and basic maintenance. However, the locals to whom we spoke along the way were very friendly and enthusiastic, and some (including Mr. Barrett) even pledged to push their localities to improve the upkeep. Bottom line: The more we use the Chaparral Trail, the better it will get!

Farmersville to Merit

Today, June 15th, I mountain biked the first 6 miles from Farmersville out through Merit. Trail was pretty open, though narrowed in a few places by vegetation (cedar trees and low hanging elm tree branches and scrub weeds towards Merit). In Merit, the trailhead there looks like a scrapyard but I had no trouble passing through. Talked to some locals sitting out on their porch in Merit, and they were not real happy about the land owners towards Celeste that have made issue of the right-of-way (earthen barricades and such) and were disappointed that the bridge over a major creek/minor river had be removed (not sure where because I returned to Farmersville). Seems like the locals that I talked to like the trail and the folks that use it.

I ran into a couple of spots of trash on the trail including a plastic gas can broken to bits and a couple of car seats. But all in all, things are getting better, it would seem, in policing the trash out there.

One interesting bit was that although it was very windy out (20mph gusts from the south), the trail itself was still and I didn't have to fight the wind coming or going. I would think that would also mean that in the heat of the day in summer, you can forget a breeze to cool you.

I find it interesting that the Federal Government has paid $1.4M for access for trail right-of-way. I expect that anyone who gets harassed on this right-of-way should report it to not only to local law enforcement, but also Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The fact that the Feds have paid for right-of-way means that violation of that agreement is a Federal matter. And impeding a traveler is no less than a violation of civil rights, in my mind (United States v. Wheeler in 1920). That said, there is a bit of a wild feel to this area, and if ever confronted; smile, FULL five finger wave, and have a copy of the settlement to hand them if they'll take it.

Farmersville to Ladonia.

Hiked the roughtly 31 mile section from Farmersville to Ladonia a few months ago. My older comments covering the first 7.5 miles east of Farmersville and the section between Ben Franklin and Roxton are at the bottom.

Picking up where I left off at the 7.5 mile mark I encountered a 75-yard long ankle-deep watery mess. I encountered a few more of these usually where the trail crossed a road. I was told by some neighbors of the trail that when the railroad was removed the ballast was sold. In the process of removing the rock some of the earth was scraped away. (These wet areas would likely be dry in summer.) This occured mainly at road crossings since these areas were easier to access.

The trail was hikeable. There were occasional areas of undergrowth but nothing inconvenient. There were some areas that felt pretty wild (the area where the trail crosses the Sulphur river comes to mind).

Passing through the little towns was nice since we were carrying little more than fluids and cash. We were able to time lunch and dinner well and eat in Celeste (convenience store) and Wolfe City (good Mexican food on the town square) respectively. (Ladonia has a store that sells very cold water, mixed with barley and hops, etc.)

No doubt that people continue to use the right of way to dump trash. We encountered the requisite old refrigerator, bags of garbage, etc. In one section just east of Wolfe City we found 5 dead cows that had been dragged (rope or wire still attached to the feet).

There were ATV's and motorcycles but no hikers or bikers.

Just west of Ladonia the trail/road intersections appear to have trenches dug across them. Passage is possible by foot or walking a bike.

Lastly, I found the following link ( that might be helpful in educating everyone on legal issues concerning the right of way.

Hiked the first 7.5 miles from Farmersville out through Merit to its junction with what google maps calls Mud Road. Trail open though narrowed in a few places by vegetation (specifically poison ivy). In Merit, the trailhead there looks like a scrapyard but we had little trouble passing through.

In March 2008, I mountain biked the section of the trail between Roxton and Ben Franklin. Numerous times I encountered barbed-wire fences, no trespassing signs, giant round haybale storage, etc. Near Ben Franklin the trail was blocked with a gate and cattle occupied the area. In the case of the fences and the gates I was able to lift the bike over and continue. I did not see anyone along the route. The condition of the trail was worse than the description above, much more vegetation in sections that made it uncomfortable but still rideable.


On Friday, November 13, 2009 I drove out to the Chaparral Trail. It was, to say the least, sad. The first 2.5 miles are paved and then it becomes progressively more overgrown. It looks like the only maintenance has been an occasional mowing. Finally, at mile 7 I had to abandon the trail, there was water across the trail which I could not ford or go around. I did pick up the trail again about a mile later, I rode on some county roads, but the same thing happened again within a half mile.

The water on the trail is one thing but the very poor condition of the trail is too bad. I rode this trail in November and can only imagine how bad the flora and fauna is during the spring and summer.

If you still want to ride this trail the GPS numbers sre: 33 09.721 and 096 21.590.

The Great Chaparral Trail Event

This event was held March 7 2009 to correspond with the local event in downtown Farmersville. This was a Geocaching event called a CITO. (Cache-in-Trash-Out) we picked up trash along the two miles or so of concrete trail running north out of Farmersville. It was a great success and the trail looked great. The newspaper wrote a great article about the event an Geocaching and the Chamber of Commerce donated a booth space for our group.
Prior to the event I mapped the trail from Farmersville to Wolf City. Marking cross roads with GPS coordinates. The following link will take you to the now archived page for the event on
Just recently the Geocaches now extent all the way to Ladonia so I haven't mapped that far North as of yet. We hope to hold another event next spring. Many of us continue to enjoy and promote the trail.

The towns along the way offer nice rest stops. Farmersville is a great place to eat and plan your hiking, biking or caching trip, Celeste has a quick shop right off the trail and Wolf City has a cafe with great food down town.

Link to maps and other information about the Chaparral Trail

D. Sheppard
South West Arlington Geocachers. (S.W.A.G.)

Trail conditions update.

Hiked the first 7.5 miles from Farmersville out through Merit to its junction with what google maps calls Mud Road. Trail open though narrowed in a few places by vegetation (specifically poison ivy). In Merit, the trailhead there looks like a scrapyard but we had little trouble passing through.

In March 2008, I mountain biked the section of the trail between Roxton and Ben Franklin. Numerous times I encountered barbed-wire fences, no trespassing signs, giant round haybale storage, etc. Near Ben Franklin the trail was blocked with a gate and cattle occupied the area. In the case of the fences and the gates I was able to lift the bike over and continue. I did not see anyone along the route. The condition of the trail was worse than the description above, much more vegetation in sections that made it uncomfortable but still rideable.

Understanding the meaning of right of way.

I have recently taken advantage of the Chaparral Trail between Merit and Celeste to do some Geocaching and trail riding on my bicycle. I ran into a problem similar to one mentioned below encountered in Delta County on a section between Geocaching waypoints GC19A7N and GC11N9E. At a couple of points along the trail were posted No Trespassing signs clearly in the path of the right of way. On my return trip from Celeste to Merit, I was advised by another group of Geocachers that they were confronted by one of the "landowners" and given instruction as to the routing to take to avoid both him and the adjacent "landowner". Further, the group was advised that the second "landowner" was inclined to take pot shots at persons using the right of way.
This and the description of the trails leading to cattle gates in Delta County begs questions regarding the posession of right of way once a rail line is abandoned. What exactly happens to right of way once it is vacated? Does it remain right of way indefinitely, or does the adjacent landowner have a right to fence it off and restrict access? Perhaps a more interesting way to put it is, does a landowner have a right to post a No Trespassing notice on a street or a road running adjacent to his property? I suspect that right of way remains right of way regardless of whether or not an adjacent landowner desires it.
I did notice a small section of the trail less than 2 miles south of Celeste ran adjacent to dirt roads ending in cattle gates with no signage prohibiting access. Apparently, that landowner has had no problem with those of us who use the trail in the way it is intended.
Aside from the problem mentioned, the trail is quite usable. There are some points where the locals will use their ATVs, but, placement of appropriate barriers and signage would eliminate the problem.

Paving trails

I have some concern with the practice of paving the trail with concrete. While concrete makes for a nice surface for walkers, wheelchairs, and casual bikers, it is a lousy surface for hikers, dirt bikers, and horses. Miles of hard surface is hard on the legs of both hikers and horses, and dirt bikers get their fill of pavement in the cities and towns.

The concrete pavement also creates a weather issue. For every square foot of concrete, each inch of rain adds .62 gallons of water runoff. That might not seem like much, but it means a one mile concrete pathway just four feet wide creates 13,165 gallons for each inch of rain. During the recent 3+ inch rains that added up to about 40,000 gallons of additional water along the side of the paved trail. That is a lot of additional mud and a lot of additional erosion to deal with.

A better choice than concrete is rubber crumb matting. Using rubber crumb mats speeds placement of the paved surface. Less heavy equipment is required to place it, which preserves the natural state of the trails. Both load hauling and surface preparation equipment can travel on the pavement, building ahead and leaving the unpaved section undisturbed. The trail is available immeadiately after the paving is complete - no "curing" delays. Because the rubber crumb creates a porous surface, there is less runoff. As a "softer" surface, it provides an excellent surface for everyone but the dirt bikers. Yet the reduced runoff allows the dirt bikers to make greater use of the unpaved areas with less impact. If the rubber crumb mat is placed on top of the surface, it becomes a terrain following trail that can be enjoyed by almost everyone. The rubber crumb mat also provides a use for old tires with less production pollution than concrete, and adds green jobs to the area.

Trail shows progress

Just found mention of this trail in a cycling forum where the poster was wondering about progress on the trail.

My wife and I drove out to Farmersville and got there too late for riding more than one hour.
We went out 3.5 miles before having to turn back due to the hour.
We were definitely able to see that the path, though rustic after the first paved 2.5 miles, was clear as far as we could see.

I was riding a Mountain bike with Commuter slick-high pressure tires and they did ok...but, I'll be switching to off road tires next time for added traction.

The Horse rider that we talked to on the way said that it decent at least as far as Merit.
I'll drive to Merit and continue on when I have my next day off, weather permitting.
I'll report my findings and post photo's

Delta County

I scouted recently the sections that run through Pecan Gap and Ben Franklin in Delta County. At least two sections (a mile or so each) are essentially gravel roads that end at a gate with cattle on the other side. It appears this land is owned/operated by private individuals. I am trying to clarify and will publish the answer.

Confused & Disappointed

"Friends who have said they have ridden this trail on horseback must not have done so lately. Trying it out for the first time yesterday, I encountered a ""no equestrian use"" sign no more than a couple of miles north of Farmersville. Ignoring the sign, I determined that this is probably due to the two bridges without side rails. Beyond that stretch there were no signs at all, clearing the way for horses (we presumed); however, not but another couple of miles we ran into two man-made baracades constructed of brush. Becoming uncomfortable about whether we were welcome to ride this trail, we turned back. Unless we learn that things have improved and been opened up to horses, we will not be returning."

They are all right

"Yes, the city of Farmersville has done a commendable job maintaining the trail head and the first couple of miles. Yes, there is a incredible amount of trash along the trail, mostly north of Merit. Yes, the trail is overgrown and very primitive, with the exception of 2-3 miles out of Farmersville.

My friend and I did this ride on Saturday. Based on the posted description we expected the trail to be open for 12-15 miles. Here is what we found: Concrete or asphalt for the first 2 miles. Then conditions got very primitive very quickly. Trail surface was coarse grave and quite overgrown. At about 4.5 miles there were two brush and earth barricades that were intended to keep all but the most determined from proceeding. North of SH 36 there was an incredible amount of trash - old stoves and washing machines, toilets, furniture - even a fiberglass hot tub! We encountered only one other person along the trail, a guy on a four-wheeler. The only other evidence of use were the tire tracks of vehicles that used the trail as a dump. 8.5 miles was the end of the line. That is where the trail intersects with CR 1101. Not even the most experienced and determined mountain biker would have attempted to keep going.

This trail has great potential. What an incredible ride it would be if the entire length from Farmersville to Paris was open and maintained. However, I do not anticipate a return trip anytime soon.

Rails of Trails fan

"The person that identified the trail as a ""dump"" must have been dreaming.
The trail is actually a nice quiet trail in which myself & many Farmersville residents enjoy walking, jogging or biking. My house is along the trail and I have never seen old mattresses, trash & have definitely not smelled strong odors.

Kudos to the City of Farmersville and other city entities who have worked really hard in making the Rails to Trails an attraction to Farmersville. "

Chaparral Trail Extension

"Loved the new 5,000 foot concrete extension to the trail."

Post Trail Review

New pictures are great. Love it.

Farmersville Improvements

"The City of Farmersville has made significant improvements to the trail head and first mile of the trail. It is paved, landscaped, lined with streetlights.... And the historic Onion Shed where it begins has been totally restored.
We hold a monthly Farmers & Fleas Market at the Onion Shed on the first Saturday of each month, from 9 am - 4pm--just another reason to come visit!

Quaint ride through the town dump

"Having grown up in the north Texas area, I was really looking forward to checking out this trail on a recent visit back to the area. In reality, a ride through the town dump is what I got.

This could be a really great ride, assuming one can overlook the discarded mattresses, sofas, building materials and assorted trash that has been dumped along the right of way. And when it warmed up during the day, a fragrant odor from the moldy mattresses overpowers one's sense of smell.

This is a real shame as this could be a great trail. I just hope the people of Farmersville are proud of themselves. Dont Mess With Texas huh? No need to -- they already will do it for you themselves."

Overgrown & abandoned

My husband and I tried to ride our bikes but a mile out of Farmersville we encountered an abandoned car in the middle of the trail! We then tried to ride the trail at Merit and it was too overgrown and strewn with trash. We had really wanted to use this trail.

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