Explore the Adventure at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area

Kind Reader, let me introduce you to the breathtaking Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, nestled in the heart of Eastern Texas. This outdoor playground spans over 1,800 acres and offers a diverse range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From rugged off-road trails to tranquil hiking paths, there is something for everyone here at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area. So, pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and prepare to explore all that this stunning natural wonder has to offer.

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Location and Access

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Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is located in Northeast Texas, about 85 miles east of Dallas, and covers an area of more than 1,800 acres. The entrance is on State Highway 155, north of the city of Gilmer and south of the city of Pittsburg. From the highway, visitors can access the park’s office, camping areas, and trails. The park is open daily, year-round, and permits can be purchased at the park entrance or online. Admission fees vary, with separate fees for camping and trail use. The park is open to all types of vehicles, but certain trails have vehicle size, width, and tire requirements.

Getting There

The park is easily accessible by car and has plenty of parking areas for vehicles and trailers. Visitors can drive to the park entrance, which is located on State Highway 155. From there, visitors can proceed to the park office, camping areas, and trails. The closest major cities are Dallas and Longview, both of which have airports, rental cars, and taxi services. Several highways and interstates serve the area, including Interstate 20, U.S. Highway 271, and State Highways 155 and 300.

Travel Tips

When driving to Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, visitors should be aware of the park’s location and terrain. The park is located in a rural area, and the roads leading to the park may be narrow and winding. Visitors should also be aware of the park’s terrain, which can be rocky and steep in some areas. They should drive cautiously and pay attention to posted speed limits and trail markers. Before heading out, visitors should check their vehicle’s fluids and tire pressure, and ensure they have enough fuel for their trip.

Activities and Amenities

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Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area offers a range of outdoor activities and amenities for visitors of all ages and skill levels. The park’s extensive trail system is its main attraction, providing opportunities for off-road driving, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park also has several camping areas, picnic areas, restrooms, and showers.

Off-Road Driving

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is known for its challenging off-road trails, which range in difficulty from beginner to expert. Visitors can bring their own four-wheel-drive vehicles, ATVs, or motorcycles, or rent one from a local outfitter. The park also offers several guided off-road tours throughout the year, which are led by experienced drivers who know the park’s trails.

Hiking and Mountain Biking

The park has several hiking and mountain biking trails, which offer scenic views of the park’s terrain and wildlife. Trail lengths range from a quarter-mile to over six miles, and difficulties range from easy to strenuous. Visitors should wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and bring water and snacks for longer hikes.

Horseback Riding

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area has over 17 miles of horseback riding trails, which wind through wooded areas and rocky hills. Riders must bring their own horses and have proof of negative Coggins test results. Horse trailers are allowed in the park’s camping areas, and water is available for horses.

Camping and Picnicking

The park has several camping areas, which offer different levels of amenities. Some areas have water and electricity, while others are more primitive. Picnic areas are available throughout the park, and several have barbecue grills and tables. Restrooms and showers are available throughout the park

Location and History

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Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is located in Gilmer, Texas, which is about 93 miles from Dallas. This 1,800-acre off-road park is situated on the eastern edge of the Piney Woods and sits atop a massive quartz sandstone mountain. The park first opened in 2000 and has since become a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area’s Location in Texas

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is situated in the northeastern portion of Texas in Gilmer, about 93 miles east of Dallas. It is located in the eastern edge of the Piney Woods, an area of the state known for densely forested areas of pine trees.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area’s History

The park began its life as a logging site before being transformed into a recreation area. After the logging industry left the area, the site sat unused for many years. In 1999, local businessman David Barnwell began meeting with county officials to propose a new use for the site as an off-road park. After securing funding and support, Barnwell worked for a year to clear the overgrowth on the site and create the infrastructure needed to open the park to the public.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area officially opened to the public in 2000 and has since become a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts from all over the United States and beyond. The park now boasts a variety of trails and obstacle courses suitable for both novice and experienced drivers.

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1 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Location
2 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Size
3 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Activities
4 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Facilities
5 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Rules
6 Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Contact Information

Off-Roading at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area

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If you’re looking for a thrilling off-roading adventure, Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is the perfect destination. With over 1,800 acres of land to explore, BMRA has become a popular spot for off-road enthusiasts in Texas. The recreation area is home to a diverse range of trails that cater to different skill levels, from mild to extreme.

The Trails

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area has over 190 miles of trails, with different elevations and terrains that provide a challenging and exciting adventure for riders. The trails are divided into three groups, colored green, blue, and red, and each represents the level of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The green trails are perfect for those who are new to off-roading and want to take it easy. The blue trails are for intermediate-level riders who want to test their skills, while the red trails are for advanced drivers who are looking for a challenge.

Vehicle Rentals and Camping

If you don’t have an off-road vehicle, you can still experience the thrill of driving on BMRA’s trails by renting one. The recreation area has a range of vehicles available for rent, from ATVs to UTVs. You can even rent a Jeep to tackle the more challenging trails.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area offers camping facilities for those who want to stay overnight. There are over 70 campsites available, with electricity and water hook-ups, picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. There are also restrooms and showers available for campers. You can find more information about camping and reservations on their website.

No Campsite Type Daily Rate Capacity
1 Primitive Tent $12 6 people
2 RV Full Hook-Up $25 8 people
3 RV Water and Electricity $20 8 people
4 RV Electric Only $15 8 people



Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area has over 190 miles of trails to explore and enjoy. The trails are suitable for all skill levels and offer a wide variety of terrain, from easy, winding paths to more challenging, rocky trails. The park also has designated trails for specific activities such as biking, ATV, and hiking. Adventurers can also explore the park’s scenic trails on horseback.


If you’re into mountain biking, the park has more than 30 miles of designated mountain bike trails that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Pros can experience the Five Hills trail, which is a challenging and fun 15-mile loop that is rated blue/black. The trail has various rocky sections, steep climbs, and fast descents.


The park has become one of the popular destinations for ATV enthusiasts all around Texas. Riders can take their four-wheelers out to one of the park’s many off-road trails or make their way to the more challenging and rocky trails. And with so many trails to choose from, riders will never run out of challenges and adventures to embark on.



The park boasts various camping options to suit different preferences. From primitive camping to RV camping, visitors can choose from 30 drive-up sites, 13 walk-in sites, and several large group campsites. These sites have access to hot showers, restrooms, water, picnic tables, and fire rings.

Primitive Camping

Primitive camping is a popular way to enjoy the park’s natural environment. The park offers several walk-in campsites that are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. Those wanting a more rugged experience can opt to camp at one of the three primitive camping areas. Each primitive site has a picnic table, fire ring, and space for several tents. But primitive camping areas don’t have potable water or designated restrooms.

RV Camping

RV enthusiasts can park their RVs and enjoy a full-hookup 30-Amp or 50-Amp parked camping experience. The RV park includes access to laundry facilities, showers, a playground, picnic areas, and a nearby fishing lake.

Guided Tours and Rentals

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If you’re new to off-roading or don’t have your own vehicle, you can still experience the thrill of exploring Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area. Guided tours are available through various outfitters in the area, like Off Road Ruckus and Texas Offroad and Performance. These tours are led by experienced guides who will take you through the park’s various terrain and obstacles, giving you an unforgettable adventure.

Equipment Rentals

Many of the outfitters in the area also offer equipment rentals. Whether you’re in need of a vehicle, ATV, or UTV, these outfitters have you covered. Keep in mind that if you plan on renting equipment, you’ll need to have a driver’s license and be over the age of 18 (or 16 with parental consent).

Important Note

Keep in mind, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and make a reservation with an outfitter to ensure availability. In addition, be sure to ask about pricing and any other requirements they may have.

Natural Wildlife at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area

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If you’re a nature enthusiast and love to experience wildlife, Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area will never disappoint you. This beautiful park is spread over a vast area and has plenty of different types of wildlife to see and enjoy. Barnwell Mountain Wildlife is home to the Eastern Collared Lizards that inhabit large boulders scattered throughout the forest.

Another visitor’s favorite is white-tailed deer. There are a lot of white-tailed deer in the park. You can also spot some coyotes, bobcat, grey fox, gray squirrel, and raccoons in the Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area. Moreover, visitors can watch the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher soaring high in the sky and with their long forked tails. This Recreation Area is an ideal spot for bird lovers and photographers who want to capture the beauty of birds in their natural habitats.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Turtle Monitoring

One essential fact about Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is it is a part of the Northeast Texas Turtle Study. Many visitors and volunteers work throughout the summer to monitor the turtles at the park. The conservation center in the park is dedicated to preserving and protecting turtles and tortoises. If you are interested to participate as a volunteer or learn more about their conservation efforts, you can contact the park’s administration or visit their website.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area Scenic Driving and Wildlife

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is a great place for scenic drives. At the North and South side of the park is a gravel road loop that one can traverse. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of nature while driving and may have the opportunity to see black vultures and hawks around the area.

No Wildbird Scientific Name
1 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
2 Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
3 Hawk Accipitridae sp.

Off-Road Trails

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Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is a heaven for off-road enthusiasts. With over 1900 acres of trails, and 27 miles designated for off-road vehicles, BMRA offers a fun and challenging experience for riders of all levels. The trails are open year-round, and riders can expect rocky climbs, steep drops, and tight turns that will put their skills to the test.

Difficulty Levels

BMRA offers four levels of difficulty in its trails: Green, Blue, Black, and Red. The Green trails are easy and perfect for beginners, while the Blue trails are suited for intermediate riders. Black trails are for advanced riders who want a challenge, and the Red trails are the most difficult and are only recommended for experts.

Trail Types

BMRA has four types of trails: ATV trails, Motorcycle trails, Full-size 4×4 trails, and Rock Crawling trails. ATV and Motorcycle trails are for smaller vehicles, while Full-size 4×4 trails are designed for big trucks and SUVs. The Rock Crawling trails are the most challenging among the four and require technical driving skills.

Camping and Lodging

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BMRA offers camping options for visitors who want to extend their stay and enjoy the trails for more than a day. Visitors can either camp onsite or stay in nearby lodging options.

Onsite Camping

BMRA has two camping areas: South Loop and North Loop. Both camping areas offer basic facilities such as restrooms, shower stations, and picnic tables. There are no hookups for RVs, but there is a dump station available for campers.

Nearby Lodging

For visitors who prefer a more comfortable stay, there are several lodging options near BMRA. The closest town to BMRA is Gilmer, which is about 10 miles away. There are several hotels and motels in Gilmer, as well as bed and breakfasts for visitors who want a more personal touch.

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area

1. What is Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area?

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is a 1,840 acre off-road park located in Gilmer, Texas and is managed by the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition (TMTC).

2. How do I make a reservation?

You can make a reservation online on the TMTC website or by calling their office during regular business hours.

3. What is the cost to visit the park?

The daily cost for off-road vehicles is $25 per person, and $5 for each additional passenger inside the vehicle. Walk-ins are $3 per person. Overnight camping rates are also available.

4. What types of vehicles are allowed in the park?

The park allows ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, side-by-sides, jeeps, trucks, and buggies. Street legal vehicles are also welcome.

5. What are the park hours?

The park is open every day of the year from 8am to 10pm, with the exception of Christmas Day.

6. Is there a height or weight limit for vehicles?

There are no height or weight limits for vehicles in the park.

7. Are pets allowed in the park?

Pets are allowed in the park, but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.

8. Is alcohol allowed in the park?

Alcohol is not allowed in the park. Anyone caught with alcohol will be immediately expelled from the park without a refund.

9. Are there any restrictions on the use of drones in the park?

Drone use is allowed, but pilots must follow all FAA regulations.

10. Are there any first aid facilities in the park?

Yes, there is a first aid station located near the park office.

11. Are there any restrictions on camping?

Campfires and charcoal grills are not allowed, but you may bring a gas grill. There are also designated fire pits for community use. Quiet hours are enforced from 10pm to 7am. Be respectful of others camping around you.

12. Can I ride my ATV or dirt bike on the roads near the park?

No, it is illegal to ride ATVs or dirt bikes on public roads.

13. Is there cell phone reception in the park?

There is spotty cell phone reception in the park, depending on your carrier.

14. Is there a limit to the number of vehicles allowed in the park?

There is no limit to the number of vehicles allowed in the park.

15. Are there any food or drink options in the park?

There are vending machines located near the park office, and several restaurants and grocery stores located in nearby towns.

16. Are there any nearby hotels?

Yes, there are several hotels located within a 30-minute drive of the park.

17. What is the minimum age to ride as a passenger in a vehicle?

Children must be at least 6 years old to ride as a passenger in a vehicle, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

18. Is there a speed limit in the park?

The speed limit is 15 mph in the camping and day use areas, and 25 mph on the trails.

19. Are there any environmental restrictions in the park?

Off-road vehicles are not allowed to cross water crossings or riparian areas in order to protect the local environment.

20. What should I do in case of an emergency?

If you have an emergency, call 911 immediately. It is also recommended that you carry a first aid kit and a basic tool kit with you when you ride.

21. Is there a map of the park available?

Yes, a map of the park is available on the TMTC website and at the park office.

22. Is there a discount for military personnel or veterans?

Yes, military personnel and veterans receive a discount on daily fees with proof of service.

23. Is there a limit to the number of people allowed in a vehicle?

No, there is no limit to the number of people allowed in a vehicle.

24. Are there any private trails available for rent?

No, all trails in the park are open to the public.

25. Are there any restrictions on the use of firearms in the park?

Firearms are not allowed in the park, unless you have a concealed carry permit and it is within your person all times. Shooting of any kind is strictly prohibited.

For those looking for a recreational getaway, Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area offers a variety of outdoor activities including ATV riding, camping, and hiking.

Hope to See You Soon, Kind Reader!

We hope that this brief introduction to Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area has piqued your interest and that you consider visiting this beautiful place soon. There’s so much to explore and experience here, from off-road trails to fishing spots, campgrounds, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just starting to experience the great outdoors, Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area is a great destination for anyone who loves natural beauty and outdoor activities. So, pack up your gear, grab your friends and family, and head on over to this amazing spot. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

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