Rolling through the hills along Denton Creek to Grapevine Lake is the area’s hidden gem for mountain bikers and hikers — Knob Hills.
For the past seven years, T.J. Lupinacci has served as the trail steward for the Knob Hills trails, which draw a crowd of thrillseekers and recreation enthusiasts.
“My favorite part of being involved is seeing a lot of smiling faces on the trail and knowing you played a part in a lot of good times for a lot of people,” Lupinacci said. “It is very rewarding.”
Knob Hills is managed by the Dallas Off Road Biking Association (DORBA) on U.S. Army Corp of Engineers land.
The “medium difficulty” trail is 13.1 miles long.
“When we finished the trail on Aug. 1, 2017, I thought a half marathon was a good length of trail to stop at,” Lupinacci said. “We could have easily doubled that, but it was important to me to keep the beauty and harmony of the outdoors. We did not want a maze of trails destroying the beauty of the outdoors.”
The winding trails have several climbs but do not have the elevation of some of the other trails in the region.
“I tried to incorporate a lot of variety into it,” Lupinacci said. “You can only work with the land you’re given though and unfortunately there’s not much elevation for climbing. We did a great job with what we were given. It will certainly test you.”
The Dallas Off-Road Biking Association (DORBA) maintains approximately 30 bike trails throughout North Texas.
The organization relies on volunteers to keep the trails clean and safe. DORBA holds public work days multiple times per year to perform maintenance. DORBA provides the equipment.
“We usually have three public work days a year — spring, summer and one in the fall,” said T.J Lupinacci, Knob Hills Trail Steward. “We put notices on our Facebook page. They usually last 4 to 5 hours.”
After rains or during wet conditions, Knob Hills trails will close.
It’s vitally important for bikers and hikers to refrain from using muddy trails.
“We close the trail when wet because it destroys the trail,” said T.J Lupinacci Knob Hills Trail Steward. “It creates ruts that hold water. People try to avoid the mud by walking around it and widen the trail. It creates more ruts and destroys the vegetation the wildlife need.”
Parts of the Knob Hills trail are classified as Environmentally Sensitive Protected Area.
On weekends along with bikers, it’s not unusual to see a group of runners on the Knob Hills trails.
Many are members of the Denton Area Running Club (DARC).
DARC holds several running events, trail and road races, throughout the year and a weekly social run at Oak Street Drafthouse in Denton.
DARC has held multiple trail races at Knob Hills and this year’s is slated for Sept. 30, with registration now open at dentonarearunningclub.org/knob-hills.
Before getting on the trail, make sure your bike is in good working order and you have the proper tools to make any repairs.
There is no water on the trail, so make sure you have adequate water, especially in the hot Texas summers.
You should bring your cell phone in case of an emergency. You should also let someone know how long you plan to be on the trail and check in with them when leaving.