McKinney Roughs is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Elgin, TX that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, trail running, and horses. Horses are also able to use this trail.
The trails were very well maintained and clearly marked for the most part. There were a few muddy spots since it had rained a few days prior, but I was generally able to avoid them by walking along the edge of the trail. The trails to and from the river had some elevation climbs, but not too steep. Pine Ridge Trail was fairly narrow in places and the second half went down into the river valley and then back up so there was considerable climbing of stairs created with logs and dirt. Overall the trails were gorgeous with some awesome views. I took my dog and he was able to traverse all the trails that i went on. He came out pretty dirty from the sand and mud, but it was a very dog friendly place. I went on a Friday at 8am and did not see another person on the trail until I was heading back to the parking lot at noon.
Nice views here and there. Trail well kept. Complicated web of trails. I will go back and try some of the other trails soon.
The description of McKinney Roughs should be ignored. There are roughly 17 miles of trail with multiple loops, some inside other loops. Maps are recommended for first timers.
The locator arrow is way off the location of McKinney Roughs. To reach the park take highway 71 southeast toward Bastrop. Go 0.8 miles past the traffic light at Pope Bend and turn left into park entrance.
I visited McKinney Roughs Nature Park on a beautiful January day. Unfortunately, it seemed that many others had the same idea I did! Although, I can't really complain about anyone getting out into nature - I was actually pleasantly surprised at the park's popularity.
Since I'm not a fan of seeing many people on hikes (solitude is a beautiful thing), I decided against departing from the main trailhead and used the Pope Bend trailhead as my starting point. This parking lot was full of horse trailers, horses, and riders. An advantage of this trailhead is that it's off the beaten path and not nearly as popular for hikers on foot.
I took the Yaupon to Coyote Road to Deep Sands to Pecan Bottom to Buckeye to Road Runner, totaling about 2.25 hours. Both myself and my dog thought it was a good distance for a winter hike - it probably would have felt long in any of the summer months, especially the Yaupon stretch.
The trails in this section of the park are pretty boring. They are just wide dirt paths through the woods, nothing special. They also skirt Pope Bend Road and Highway 71. I wasn't looking for any vistas or anything (just wanted to get outdoors with the dog), so "nothing special" was okay with me.
Deep Sandy is a half-mile stretch along the Colorado River. There isn't an nice spot to "put in" or swim the dog, which was a disappointment. Other hikers thought there was a nice riverfront area on the other section of the park on the Cypress and Riverside Trails. I never confirmed.
I passed other hikers about ever 20-30 minutes. I passed horses/riders about ever 30 minutes, as well. All seemed pleasant and dog friendly.
I would do this trail again in the winter months, but have a feeling it's far too popular for my liking in the fall/spring/summer months for my liking. If you aren't a punk who likes the opportunity to let your dog off-leash, you probably won't mind the occasional passersby as much as I do.
In all, an off-season winner.
PS - Definitely give to the "Honor Box," as you can see that your money is being put to good use. Anytime the trail was washed out, clear markings designated the danger zone. The trails were all well-marked and signs legible, understandable, and placed frequently.
PPS - Definitely bring a map. There are so many =small trails it would be difficult to navigate without an idea of where each of the 20+ trails lead.