Fredericksburg > Kerrville > Fredericksburg
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Riding from Fredericksburg to Kerrville and back, this route combines spectacular remote scenery with one of the steepest ascents in the Fredericksburg vicinity. Traversing the urban grid of Kerrville, we find the trip along Town Creek surprisingly tranquil.
After escaping suburban Fredericksburg, venture along placid county roads while climbing gingerly out of the Pedernales river valley. This south-bound leg of the route visits exceptional roads not often enjoyed by even local cyclists. A big descent then drops you into the environs of greater Kerrville, where you pass by the headquarters of the James Avery jewelry empire.
Consider a stop for lunch in Kerrville, or tour the town by bicycle. This "inner-city" section of the route rolls first along a placid creek and then bisects residential neighborhoods. Perhaps not typical Hill Country cycling, but surprisingly stress-free for city riding.
Leaving Kerrville the route parallels I-10 but riders barely know it and favorable scenery continues. Meanwhile, a sneaky climb, Tower Peak, lies in wait here.
Crossing under I-10 and returning northward, riders face the diabolically steep Guadernales Ledge. After vanquishing it, however, riders descend for most of the distance back to Fredericksburg.
This route begins at the Marktplatz in downtown Fredericksburg, Texas. Find this main town square located on the North side of Main Street (also HWY 290/HWY 87) at the intersection of S. TX16. (North of this intersection, S. TX16 becomes N. Adams St.)
When groups meet here, generally they form up at the facility's northeast corner, where W. Austin St. intersects N. Adams St., which is not too far from the restrooms and off busy Main St. (Infrequently these restrooms may be closed for festival setup; find alternatives two blocks southeast at Fredericksburg's Visitor's Center).
Depart the Marktplatz travelling west on Austin St. Turn left on Crocket, cross Main St., then ride down the hill and turn right on Creek St. Although we dispatch this section rather hastily, know that suburban Fredericksburg offers plenty of interesting scenery. Follow the map and directions to RR 2093/Tivydale Rd.
Although not an overly facilitating cycling artery, Tivydale Rd. leads to highly desirable routes, and most motorists here score well on sharing the road with cyclists. While lightly travelled, generally, vehicular traffic moves quickly here. Also, you ride a modest road shoulder. Ride single file and be mindful of vehicles approaching from the rear. Be courteous and yield room to pass. The route returns to a more relaxed complexion after you turn left onto Morris-Tivydale Rd.
Generous land-holdings dot this section of the county, providing a feeling of romantic vastness that we find increasingly hard to come by. The route travels along Morris-Tivydale Rd. and then turns right on Morris Ranch Rd. Veer left on White Oak Rd. while continuing to enjoy great scenery and benign grades. Further along, the route unceremoniously picks up Zenner-Ahrens Rd. Be sure to look closely for this one because where Zenner-Ahrens intersects it, White Oak Rd. deflects off to the west while Zenner-Ahrens Rd. carries on straight ahead (south). At one point along this section of the route the road passes through a small homestead compound, almost as if the road were placed after the buildings. Ignoring the basketball hoop, we defy you to place the decade using visual cues while riding through this spot. (No peeking at your ergo-shift levers or clipless pedals!)
Having cautiously stayed on course, look forward to the first notable climb of the day, the Zenner-Berg. Not terribly difficult, the profile looks worse than the hill actually challenges.
Soon after the Zenner-Berg you reach something of a platau, offering a few more miles of great riding. The route then descends mildly. The road changes names along here but the route remains obvious, just stay on the same stretch. You transfer to Rocky Ridge Ranch Rd. and then McCoulloh. Enjoy the free ride but try to curb your enthusiasm as the slope and your speed both increase. Soon after the steepest section of the descent, usually at about the point of terminal velocity, you will hope to notice the stop sign and busy T-intersection you now approach rapidly. Brake aggressively and come to a complete stop. You now stand aside swiftly- and heavily-travelled Harper Rd.
Turn left at Harper Rd., minding the somewhat blind view to the right. It might be a good idea to talk about the approaching traffic situation with your pack mates, so slower riders do not get caught out. One for all and all for one here.
Having dispatched this notable intersection, an ample shoulder, great road surface (as of this writing) and a rapid descent reward you. This section of Old Harper Rd. passes in front of the James Avery Jewelry company headquarters, which features a visitors' center.
Soon the route crosses I-10. After which, watch on the left for the turn at Old Harper Rd. You will turn across busy traffic so again mind yourself and your pack. Soon after turning left you turn right on Town Creek Rd. We find the scenery along this road surprisingly satisfying, despite the residential neighborhoods flanking it.
Town Creek Rd. doglegs left and becomes Shreiner St. Here you are in the heart of the residential section of this route. We recommend you turn right at Francisco Lemos St. and then left on Jefferson St., for the most bike-friendly route across town. (By the way, if you carry on straight on Francisco Lemos St. for two blocks, turn right on Water St. and then look out on your left, you will find the Kerrville bike shop). Those sticking to the route will ride eastward on Jefferson, crossing TX16 and carrying on to Tivy St., where you turn left. A little more residential riding, and a modest hill take you to the intersection of Tivy St. and TX534. Be careful at this intersection because of difficulty gauging traffic cresting the hill on your right. We actually turn right onto TX534, ride the short distance to the crest, and then cross with a clear view both ways.
Across TX534, Tivy St. becomes FM1341. This rolling, winding road would be more cycling friendly with a somewhat wider shoulder. As it is, we advise single-file riding and courteous efforts to wave vehicles by. Light traffic is the norm, however, and the scenery is great. Yet, you might take a break from the sightseeing as you climb Tower Peak, a genuine hill that only the strongest vanquish without wincing. Enjoy the post-peak descent and focus again on the scenery; some pretty roadside streams lie in close proximity as you meander along.
Soon after TX534 crosses under I-10, watch carefully for Hassenwinkle Rd. (also Center Point Rd) on the left. At this writing, no roadsign marks the road. The turn sits about one quarter mile past the I-10 overpass. If you find you pass a road on your left, climb a very mellow rise, and the road (TX534) turns to the right (south), you missed Hassenwinkle/Center Point Rd. Go back.
Upon finding the road, which heads north, now begins the trek out of the Guadalupe River Valley. The road winds and rolls along, innocently enough, for several miles. Soon, after a cattlegaurd, a dip, and a flat, the menacing face of the Guadernales Ledge appears on the immediate horizon. Grab your lowest gear, put on your climbing face, and get to work. This may be the shearest climb in the vicinity. This convex climb mellows gradually near the top and melts into a gentle incline. Not long after this point you reach the highest point on your trek from Kerrville back to Fredericksburg.
Especially with a southerly wind, Center Point Rd. delights cyclists travelling in this direction. Little traffic and a roller coaster profile combine into one terrific cycling byway. You face a few short uphill sections, but for the most part you descend for many miles.
After a short, sharp descent and a modest flat, Center Point Rd. T's into River Rd. Turn right and roll alongside the river for a mile or two. Watch for the gravel-strewn, cattle guard-equipped right turn just before the road turns left and dips over a water crossing. If you hit TX16, you went too far by a very short distance. Go back and cross that cattle gaurd.
After completing the stealthy turn, staying on River Rd., ride for a few miles and watch for Boos Lane on the left. Turn left here and ride down the hill but drag your brakes because the road becomes a low water crossing, which presents many potential problems. The road may be littered with gravel, or sand, or it may be washed out completely. (If not passable, return to TX16 and ride the shoulder back to town). Don't fret, most of the time we find this road entirely passable and not worth mentioning, but in the past this crossing has washed out after heavy rains. Once across the low water crossing, Boos Lane carries you back to greater Fredericksburg.
Turn right at TX16 and enjoy the wide shoulder (and four lanes of fast traffic) for just a long mile or two. We recommend abandoning the traffic by turning right at Live Oak St.and following it to Lincoln St., where you turn left. With the benefit of a stoplight, Lincoln Street carries you across Main St. to Austin St. Turn left here and finish up at the Marktplatz, which lies just a few blocks ahead.