To a developer, 40 acres of unoccupied land is just another place to stuff 320 tract homes, make a tidy profit, and move on. To a wheeler, 40 acres of unoccupied land is an awe-inspiring nirvana of off-road adventure. To Roland Bal, 40 acres of unoccupied land is all it took for him to create Spring Creek Off Road.
Spring Creek Off Road is an off-road park located near Spring, Texas, which is just a few minutes north of Houston. Bal has been running the place for about four years. During this relatively short lifespan, a lot has happened. Bal and a generous team of volunteers have created a trail system that complements the natural terrain of the area, which is hilly, mostly tree- covered, and bordered on one side by Spring Creek. The sum of which is that 40 acres seems much larger. They've also added a competition mud pit, a rockcrawl course, and various other obstacles. They now have a mud-bog racing series, a new King of the Creek competition, a Supertruck Shootout, and rockcrawling competitions. They've even hosted a W.E. Rock event on the property.
We recently went down and spent the day at the park. A monsoon appeared to greet our arrival, leaving everything ultra- mucky and a lot of fun. We had a chance to wheel with scores of great people from the Houston area and beyond, and we got to see a wide variety of Texas rigs in action on their home soil.
It costs $10 per person per day to explore Spring Creek Off Road, and kids under 12 years of age are free. There are no services at the park, but because it is very close to a population center, amenities such as food, lodging, and parts are very close. For more information on Spring Creek Off Road, visit springcreekoffroad.com.
One of the cool features of Spring Creek is the rockcrawling area. This area was built to facilitate a W.E. Rock competition and the surface is comprised of Shotcrete. Here, Rick Milstead lines up to show how it's done in his rig. This machine started life as a '98 Wrangler, but the only stock parts left are the grille and 4 feet of frame. It has a 4.3L V-6, a TH400 trans, an Atlas 3.8 transfer case, 'Mog axles with air-actuated lockers, a three-link front suspension, a triangulated four-link rear suspension, bead-lock wheels, and 49-inch IROKs. He says he loves the "super flexible" suspension, but wishes the rig was a four-seater.
When Jeff Vogel isn't making trails look easy in Texas, he and his heavily modified '87 Toyota 4Runner can be found on the trail in Moab, Clayton, or Hot Springs. His career as a machinist gave him the expertise to create this rig and it features a 350ci engine, a TH350 trans, an NP203/205 transfer case with homemade doubler, a 35-spline ARB'd Dana 60 front axle with hydraulic steering, a Detroit-Locked 14-bolt rear axle, 5.13:1 gears, Pro Turn bead locks, and 44-inch Boggers. The bobbed rig has leaf springs up front and a custom four-link in the rear. Vogel says his favorite mod is the dual transfer-case setup.