The Sam Houston Restaurant Tour

  • Distance

    53 Mi.

    (85 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (499 M)
  • High Point


    (131 M)

Contributed By

Patrick Farnsworth

Patrick Farnsworth

Guest Contributor

Patrick grew up in College Station, Texas and has always had an appreciation for the outdoors. From his time as a boy scout and riding BMX in the 80’s, he sees bikepacking as a natural progression of his childhood. Patrick is also the creator of the Bikes or Death Podcast, and can be found on Instagram @BikesOrDeath.

The Sam Houston Restaurant Tour is a laid back overnighter that explores dirt roads in the Sam Houston National Forest, Texas. The route is based around two local—and comically different—restaurants that provide all the necessary sustenance for the ride: Bullet Grill House and Taqueria Carmelita. Leave your stoves and logistical worries at home, as this 53-mile ride is as relaxed and straightforward as they come.
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Located just 50 miles north of Houston, Texas, Sam Houston National Forest is comprised of over 160,000 acres that intermingle with timber land and privately owned farms. Today, the area is a popular hiking destination, and is home to the 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail, primitive camping opportunities, paddling, and hunting.

Texas may not come to mind as an obvious bikepacking destination. Even though it’s the second largest state, offering over 260,000 square miles of rugged, unique terrain, less than 2% of that land is owned by the government, and BLM land makes up very little of that. The Sam Houston Restaurant Tour aims to provide a quick getaway for those in eastern Texas, following a mix of gravel and paved roads linked together by two eateries along the way. It’s an approachable route for beginners and experienced riders alike, and promises a great night under the stars. This particular route explores the northern region of the National Forest, but for those interested in riding further, try heading west towards Kelly’s Pond and Little Lake Creek Wilderness for more great gravel options.

Route Development: The Sam Houston Restaurant Tour was planned and led by contributor Patrick Farnsworth, a College Station local, who’s explored nearby gravel options extensively. Patrick hopes this route can act as a great introductory route for those residing in Texas, who might not know where to start. Photos and written content by Miles Arbour, who joined Patrick and Keri for the ride.

Local OvernighterThis route is part of the Local Overnighter Project, which was created to expand our growing list of worldwide bikepacking routes—the first and largest of its kind—and create an independent map and catalog of great bikepacking overnighters, curated by you, from your own backyard. Our goal is to have accessible routes from every town and city in the world. Learn More
  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Resources


  • Bullet Grill House and Taqueria Carmelita will provide all of the sustenance you need along the way.
  • Sam Houston National Forest offers plenty of shade due to the dense tree cover, and has the potential to offer cooler conditions to escape some of the mid-summer heat.
  • Texas’ public lands. A unique mix of wilderness, dirt roads, and private ranches.
  • Hunting is permitted within the National Forest. Stay on designated roads and trails and wear blaze orange during hunting season. Go to the TPWD website for the most up-to-date info available. 
  • Summer is hot in Texas. It’s not uncommon to see temperatures well into the 100°s. The route is ideal for riding during the spring or fall; but is rideable all year long.
  • If exploring beyond the route at Kelly’s Pond, a $5 per person / per day permit is required for trail use. There is no fee for the campsite, and reservations aren’t accepted. More info.
  • Pack bug spray as the mosquitos can get bad.
  • Dispersed camping is permitted within Sam Houston National Forest, no permits or passes needed.
  • Four Notch Hunter Camp, just past mile 43, and Big Wood Hunter Camp at mile 0, are pinned on the route map. There are several other camping options just off the route. Go find them!
  • We camped at a ‘secret lake’ just off the route which is not marked on the map. Those with extra time will benefit greatly from exploring a bit.
  • The restaurants on route are worth checking out. Otherwise, there are resupply options in the town of Point Blank.
  • Natural water sources are available at some dispersed camping within the forest. Bring a water purification device.
  • No water spigots or potable water in wilderness areas.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.