Dallas hiking is a must-do, whatever residents of this urban city will tell you. Making the most of the numerous parks, natural preserves, and quiet areas close to Downtown requires spending time in the city’s green spaces. Do you want to know the top 5 Hiking trails in Dallas? Continue reading.
These Dallas trails provide a peaceful respite from the usual tourist hotspots and exhibit the beautiful vistas central Texas has to offer, in contrast to city life, which is all about gleaming shopping malls, art museums, and bustling bars and restaurants.
After all, there is a thriving and widespread hiking community in North Texas. The pathways here for hiking have a lot in common. Each one of them includes hiking on terrain other than concrete. The majority are long enough for you to exercise.
Notable natural characteristics exist. All convey a sense of seclusion and tranquility. All are within a 30-minute drive of Dallas’ downtown. All you need is a sense of adventure, some planning, and a decent pair of walking shoes to explore beyond the Katy Trail and discover Dallas’ undiscovered beauty. Wildflowers, magnificent tall trees, blossoming bushes, clear streams running through limestone, and a profusion of birds can be seen in every season.
1. Hiking in Dallas: A Guide to 20 Amazing Hiking Trails in Dallas
Dallas is not typically thought of as a city that attracts serious hikers. You might be shocked to learn that the Big D is full of stunning parks and woodland hiking routes that locals and visitors can enjoy. In Dallas, several hiking trails are truly hidden gems because they are located both in the suburbs and in the heart of the city, right in plain sight.
It’s worthwhile to go using a few thoughts of caution before we go to the trails. Some of the trails have poor signage and upkeep. There are highly active groups that develop and maintain trails in the Dogwood Canyon, Spring Creek Forest Preserve, and Cedar Ridge Preserve. The pathways on those hikes are better designed and more lucid.
However, the majority of these trails have little to no signage. On that subject, a brief reminder to the city: while we continue to ponder spending millions of dollars on trails across Dallas, the city would do well to take into account the astronomical return on investment possible by simply erecting some low-cost signage.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the top hiking trails in Dallas, ranging from short, leisurely hikes to strenuous, lengthy treks, abundant animals, different types of trees, and wetlands.
1.1. Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
Visitors can explore more than nine miles of natural surface pathways at Cedar Ridge Preserve, originally the Dallas Nature Center. The Audubon Association and the Metropolis of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department collaborated to create this vast environment, which spans more than 600 acres. The pathways and the habitat are properly conserved because of this relationship.
Make sure to take the if this is your first-time visiting Cedar Ridge. A 5-mile guided nature trip will introduce you to the local flora. These trails are a special treat because they have some of the only hills in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Due to the elevation, you can not only take in some lovely views but also add a little more exercise.
Furthermore, to all of this, the Nature Center also has a couple of streams, picnic spaces, and butterfly gardens for you to enjoy. In any case, Dallas’ Cedar Ridge Nature Center is one of the best places to go trekking.
1.2. Katy Trail
Turtle Creek and Oak Lawn are two of Dallas’ trendiest Downtown districts, and Katy Trail is conveniently located right in between the two! This out-and-back hike is like Goldilocks. It provides a nice balance of city vistas and lush landscapes, with the added benefit of beautiful wildflowers in the spring, and it’s neither too short nor too long.
It’s ideal for all kinds of activities, including afternoon dog walks, morning jogs, and family strolls. Tourists will like this location’s proximity to well-known restaurants and other attractions, while locals adore it for its shade and broad, paved pathways. But even good things can be flawed. This urban climb can be extremely popular due to its all-encompassing nature, especially at night.
1.3. Trinity River Audubon Center
Wetland habitats like the Trinity River Audubon Center draw countless birds all year long. There are a few dirt trails that you can explore in addition to the paved trails that make up the majority of the hiking in this area. Of course, boardwalks are available for your enjoyment since it is a wetland area.
The Trinity River Audubon Center is the nearest and best route for discovering more of the Trinity River, regardless of which trail you select.
On your walk, there’s a decent chance you’ll see some wildlife, like white-tailed deer or local bird species. Families with young children will like this trail because there isn’t much elevation gain, and the out-and-back trip only takes a little over an hour.
1.4. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Outer Loop Trail
The Oak Cliff Nature Preserves are built for mountain biking trails. This indicates that there are numerous turns and twists, which can be a little challenging for hikers. Due to this, we advise visiting the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve and doing the outer loop route.
You can explore the 8 miles of trails while visiting the preserve but be mindful of what’s going on as mountain bikers like to fly through them. Traveling south on I-35, take the exit for W. Illinois Ave going west to reach Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. The trailhead can then be reached by turning left onto Pierce Street.
1.5. White Rock Lake Trail
White Rock Lake Trail is a nearly 10-mile loop that is around White Rock Creek and is close to the Dallas Arboretum. If you feel like investigating the area more, there are various pathways to choose from. The vast majority of the network’s trails are paved and generally level. This location is also quite dog-friendly, although, for the comfort of other park visitors, they ask that you keep your pets on a leash.
Don’t disregard this trail because it is a paved trail on our list. The looping White Rock Lake Trail circles White Rock Creek for about ten miles. Thanks to the water views, this is the ideal location to enjoy a stroll through the heart of Dallas.
The dog-friendly trails just enhance how much fun this place is. It is ideal for a lengthy walk or run all year long because there are numerous water fountains along the way!
1.6. Katie Jackson Park
Katie Jackson Park is a well-liked location in Dallas for hiking. When you visit Katie Jackson Park, which is close to downtown Dallas, you’ll think you’ve fled into a serene wilderness.
Take note when entering the trail that walkers are to do clockwise, and bikers are to go counterclockwise. This is very important to follow so that you stay safe on the forested hiking trails Once on the trail itself, there are a few different options available. Just be mindful of your surroundings as bikers frequent this area frequently!
To prevent accidents on the trail, signage will direct walkers to move clockwise and cyclists to move counterclockwise. There is also a dog park nearby in case your four-legged friends still have some energy to work off!
1.7. McCommas Bluff Preserve
A lock and dam system that was never finished is present in this location close to the Trinity River Audubon Center. From the trailhead, there are numerous paths lined with trees and small creeks. It is a pleasant, simple trail that is primarily paved.
We advise parking in the residential neighborhoods next to the preserve because of the lesser security there and storing any valuables in the trunk. With a little canyon and chalk banks along the route, the climb is fairly picturesque. This is a fantastic day trip destination and is highly dog-friendly!
1.8. Boulder Park Trail
The 4.1-mile Boulder Park route is a well-kept route including a brook, river, woodlands, and even a few rough sections. However, take caution when crossing the creek because it might be slippery.
The Boulder Park Trail has two loops: a red loop and a blue loop. The most challenging loop track is red, while blue is simple and great for families and novice hikers. Although there are birds and small animals in the area, you should also be cautious of the snakes that call it home.
If you opt to walk, make sure to go against the flow so you can notice approaching bikers. This woodland area is only 20 minutes from the city center and is popular year-round, although the ideal months to go are March through October.
1.9. Piedmont Ridge Trail
This small out-and-back trail still manages to feel remote despite being only 15 minutes from Downtown. You probably won’t encounter many other adventurers while exploring this area.
Even better, with its surrounding forest, a few rough climbs, and a tiny brook, this is one of Dallas’ most picturesque hiking locations. In the spring, keep a look out for local birds and wildflowers, which are frequently covered in butterflies.
There are a few downsides, however. Road noise can be heard on the route, and it might be challenging to identify the trailhead, according to visitors. However, after about a mile, there is a narrow path to your right, and there is a great spot to get some views. The Trinity River bridges near Downtown Dallas are hardly visible.
1.10. Goat Island Preserve
Goat Island Preserve is a lovely place with muddy pathways, hiking, walking, and mountain biking routes, birdwatching chances, fishing spots, and expansive woodland views. It is located close to Wilmer, Texas. Make sure to keep your pets on a leash if you’re planning a fun hiking day with them.
The second-big preserve in the county is this one. For future generations to continue to enjoy the views and nature when hiking in Dallas, there is a significant effort being made to entirely encircle the Trinity River in public open space.
There are around 8 miles of trails inside the preserve proper, however, the main woodland track is only about 3 miles long in both directions. If you’re bringing a pet buddy, it’s really helpful that there is also paved parking!
1.11. Cedar Brake Trail via Cattail Pond Trail
Dallas is known for being flat, but this gorgeous loop in Cedar Hill State Park has several climbs that will make you sweat! It is more suitable for intermediate skill levels due to the harder terrain and several ups and downs, although there are many benches along the route where you may rest.
The low spots pass by a peaceful lake and a ton of dense foliage that turns especially beautiful in the fall, while the high ones provide expansive views. Despite being only 20 minutes from the city center, there aren’t many people here, especially if you go when it’s not busy, like evenings.
1.12. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Trail
The beautiful Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Trail is a classic option for hikes near Dallas. To find it, you have to venture to one of the city’s most bustling suburbs–Plano, Texas–about 30-45 minutes from Downtown.
The loop itself follows a smooth, paved trail, but there are many side treks and dirt paths along the way if you want to venture out. In the nature preserve, bikers can explore well-maintained bike trails. For inexperienced walkers, the trail can be a little challenging, but it’s a wonderful site to see the springtime splendor of wildflowers in native prairie.
The 200-acre park features a bottomland forest with gigantic elm and oak trees and provides beautiful views of the surroundings. You can quickly reach the loop in the bottomland forest where Indian Creek’s tributary is located.
1.13. Gateway Park West Loop
In a technical sense, this one deviates slightly from Dallas hiking. Fort Worth has hiking going on! This nearby city is full of sights to see, including some breathtaking hikes. While more experienced mountain bikers will enjoy the jumps, walls, see-saws, and other features, this shady, straightforward loop is ideal for hikers.
Beginners are welcome to participate as well! Simply avoid the more difficult sections if you are new to mountain biking. Regardless of the mode of transportation you select, you’ll enjoy views of the river and perhaps even a secret waterfall!
The fields that are next to the trail are covered in wildflowers in the spring. These routes are also excellent for seeing animals. Spend some time walking the specified paved trail to McCommas Bluff. You can finally reach the Trinity River Audubon and Lemmon Lake if you keep traveling over the dirt horse trails after passing a few natural springs.
1.14. Texas Buckeye Trail
Thanks to the lovely buckeye trees that bloom here in late March, Texas Buckeye Trail in Dallas is one of our favorite springtime trails. The route starts close to the little pavilion and outdoor seating area at 7000 Bexar Street.
Once you see the two dirt trails, continue on the paved trail. Following the dirt paths will lead you to the stunning buckeye trees. Hopefully, they will be in bloom when you visit! In the spring, Master Naturalists guide treks to the buckeyes and assist with trail upkeep.
1.15. Eisenhower State Park
Eisenhower State Park can be found on the shoreline of Lake Texoma a little more than an hour from Dallas. Believe us when we say the drive is worthwhile. The park’s more than 460 acres of land offer some fantastic hiking along the waterfront. If you own an ATV vehicle, Eisenhower State Park also has ATV trails, so come here!
Both the two on-site fishing piers and the shoreline are available for fishing. You can borrow fishing rods, reels, tackle boxes, and other supplies from the park if you need them. The state park allows camping as well. They provide pull-through RV sites, screened shelters, and tent campsites.
1.16. Cleburne State Park
Cleburne State Park is located about 1.5 hours southwest of Dallas’s central business district. The park features a fantastic system of paths that are appropriate for hikers of all skill levels. Make sure to stop by Cedar Lake and see the bridge over Camp Creek while you are there.
You can spend the afternoon swimming or fishing at Cedar Lake. Additionally, they have a fishing pier on the lake, and the best part is that they will lend you their equipment to use while you’re there! The 116-acre lake also offers no-wake boating. If you don’t have a boat, the park offers rentals for single, double, and paddle boards.
Not only is camping permitted here, but every campsite in Cleburne State Park also has electricity and water. During your visit, you can also reserve a screened shelter or cabin. We adore going to Cleburne State Park in the spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Large fields bursting with Texas bluebonnets are a common sight.
1.17. Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Lake Mineral Wells State Park, which is close to Dallas, is another of our favorite state parks. A fantastic day outdoors in North Central Texas may be had at Lake Mineral Wells State Park, which is about 1.5 hours west of Dallas and far past Fort Worth.
This state park has a sizable hiking community. That can probably be attributed to the park’s abundance of activities, including its fantastic lake, over ten miles of trails, and rock climbing.
There are so many outdoor activities available here. Keep in mind that this state park attracts hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. When using the multi-use trails, always be mindful of your surroundings.
The Penitentiary Hollow Overlook is one of the top walks in this area. This gives you a fantastic perspective of the lake! During your visit, you can also take in Lake Mineral Wells. The 640-acre lake in this area offers visitors the chance to fish, go swimming, or spend the day boating on the lake.
1.18. Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center
The entrance to Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is located very close to the gateway to Cedar Hill State Park. Visitors can explore around three miles of well-maintained trails with a landscape that is very similar to Cedar Hill State Park when hiking at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.
Beginning at the visitor center, the trail ascends the White Rock Escarpment. When you reach the top, you can ascend through the trees before beginning the loop trail.
Spend some time taking in the scenery from this vantage point, particularly in the springtime when the Mexican buckeyes are in bloom. Dogwood Canyon does not permit dogs on its trails, but people are welcome to visit for free!
1.19. Ray Roberts State Park
Go to Ray Roberts State Park, an hour outside of Dallas, for a fantastic getaway from the city. You could spend days discovering Ray Roberts with its more than 20 miles of trails!
Many of the trails have beautiful views of the water and lots of shade-giving trees. Of course, the area also contains some dogwood trees and native prairie. In addition to all of this, guests can bring their horses and go horseback riding at this wonderful state park.
While here, you may also enjoy one of the exciting Dallas beaches because Lake Ray Roberts offers a fantastic beach with a safe swimming area. This is a fantastic method to beat the summertime heat in Texas!
Fishing is undoubtedly one of the most popular pastimes here. Visitors can enjoy the 29,000 acres of water, numerous boat ramps, a marina, and a fishing pier at Ray Roberts Lake. This Dallas Lake has been known to provide crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, and catfish for anglers! Feel free to extend your trip to Ray Roberts over the weekend if you so desired.
1.20. Chisholm Trail Greenbelt
The Chisholm Trail Greenbelt, a fantastic hiking location close to Dallas, is another. You may explore more than 5 miles of trails close to Dallas thanks to the Chisholm Trail Greenbelt pathways, which connect many parks. While out for a stroll, you can enjoy several water features and the varied landscape that is all around you.
10.8 miles of the trail are an out-and-back. Harrington Park is the starting point, and it moves north and west toward Legacy Drive. This location is much better because it has two parking lots!
2. Wrapping Up
You’ve come to the perfect place if you’re searching to go hiking in Dallas. Several hiking routes in and around Dallas are just begging to be discovered. The crowds have spent our whole lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and we enjoy hiking in Dallas to get away from the noise and pollution of the city.
You may spend a few hours in nature and perhaps catch a peek at some local species by hiking close to Dallas! Additionally, hiking in Dallas gives you the chance to meet some amusing, like-minded individuals. You can use the information in this article to decide which hiking destinations are best for you.
To ensure that you have the greatest experience possible, we have included trails that are appropriate for people of all skill levels and given you advice. These pointers cover the trail’s location, length, degree of difficulty, and must-see scenery.