If you’re a DFW resident looking for an escape from the downtown hustle and bustle of the city life, you do not have to go very far. There are plenty of areas in our neighborhood that offer a beautiful, natural display of nature that are perfect for an afternoon stroll or bicycle ride.
North Texas was once part of a 12-million Blackland Prairie, and although most of it has disappeared, some parts still remain, including White Rock Lake and the Great Trinity Forest. For those who say there aren’t any places to hike in the wilderness in Dallas, you are dead wrong.
Bill Holston of D Magazine listed his ten favorite sports to hike in Dallas, all of which are within a 30 minute drive of his East Dallas home. Holston is a certified Master Naturalist, so his word probably holds true!
Spring Creek Forest, Garland
“This is a unique old bottomland Forest. There’s an impressive overstory of shumard, bur, and chinquapin oaks. Some of these trees appear to be 100 to 150 years old and reach heights of 100 feet on trunks 4 feet thick. Thankfully, early settlers in this area left this forest relatively untouched.”
Cedar Ridge Nature Center, South Dallas
“The preserve lies right on top of the White Rock Escarpment, an outcrop of the Austin Chalk geologic formation that runs along the southern part of our county. You’ll be pleased to find there are wooded hills among the 600 acres. It’s a real slice of the Hill Country right here in Dallas County.”
Arbor Hills Nature Center, Plano
“There are 2.3 miles of paved trails for strollers, bike riders, and walkers; 2-mile dirt loops for mountain bikers; and miles of natural surface trails for hikers.”
Trinity River Audubon Center, South Dallas
“This 120-acre former dump has been completely transformed by the Audubon Society and the city of Dallas. They created wonderful wetlands that attract birds year round, and there are more than 4 miles of trails.”
Dogwood Canyon, Cedar Hill
“The best feature of this area is displayed in the spring, when you can catch the flowering dogwoods along hill ridges and canyons. There’s a lot to see year round, though. You’ll walk in the shade of bur oaks, shumard red oaks, pecans, and shin oaks.”
The Buckeye Trail, Southeast Dallas
“Master Naturalists maintain several miles of well-marked trails. As you descend on the other side of the levee, you enter an unexpected world of trees and grasses.”
Scyene Overlook/Piedmont Ridge, Southeast Dallas
“These trails are referred to as the Gateway Trails, and, living up to their name, they are a great introduction to our huge Trinity River Forest. They are short but have some of the best views of the forests along the Trinity River and lower reaches of White Rock Creek.”
Spring Creek Nature Area, Richardson
“This 50-acre nature area has mostly paved trails, but there are some great unmarked dirt trails that beg to be explored.” There is also an abundance of wildlife, including coyotes, sunfish, red-eared slider turtles, and diamond-backed water snakes that all can be seen at various times year round.
Oak Point, Plano
“All of the hikes are easy to follow, and there are multiple signs showing side trails to explore and add some miles to your path.” It’s also Plano’s largest park at 800 acres, and is incredibly shady meaning it can be hiked year round!
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, Oak Cliff
“The trail is shaded, and in places there are huge old pecans and bois d’arc trees. There are old trails that can also be explored.” This is a biker’s paradise, with over 8 miles of multiple-use trails, and Oak Cliff is often recognised as sitting on the “prettiest topography” of the area.
Via D Magazine