No matter where you go in Texas, you are bound to find an amazing hiking trail that will really take your breath away. While you may not think that the Dallas and Fort Worth area could compete with the Texas Hill Country or the mountains out in West Texas, there are plenty of beautiful spots to go hiking in this part of Texas. You don’t have to travel far to see some storied Texas country, just follow this list of the best hiking trails in Dallas and the surrounding area to figure out where you should hike next!
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1. Spring Creek Forest
Due to the terrain in Dallas, you can find hiking and walking trails that are suited for all skill levels. Many are stroller accessible and a lot of them allow you to bring your leashed dogs as well—because in Texas, it seems like everyone has an adventure dog! Spring Creek Nature Trail is no exception! The main trail in the nature preserve is only a 1.9-mile loop that is open to dogs and leashed pets.
Located in Garland, this trail is paved which means that the trail is accessible and easier on the feet than other unpaved trails in the area. There are nature trails that you can hop onto if you want to do another mile or two as well. If you are looking for a large, old-growth forest, this is where you need to be. You can see Oak, Bur, Walnut, and Pecan trees here, among other species.
Plus, if you can on the trail in February, you can see trout lilies covering the forest! Often times you can also hear all of the birds that call Spring Creek Forest home, such as red shouldered hawks and horned owls.
2. Scyene Overlook/Piedmont Ridge
Looking for the perfect Fall hiking trails in Dallas? Look no further. Located in Southeast Dallas, the Piedmont Ridge hike takes you through the Great Trinity River Forest, along the Trinity River and White Rock Creek. You may not expect to see a lot of fall colors in Texas, but you are guaranteed to if you hike this trail in the fall. The leaves change and the colors become absolutely spectacular.
As a bonus, make sure that you hike to the Scyene Overlook and see the leaves change to reds and oranges in the autumn over the city of Dallas. From here, you can see the cityscape as well as the fall trees. This hike is the perfect fall day hike near Dallas. The trail is only 1.3 miles out and back, but plan to walk a bit further if you wish to go to the overlook as well.
This trail itself cuts across a large, open field that isn’t always well maintained but isn’t dangerous to walk through. At the end of the trail, you will get to an overlook and see out for miles. Piedmont Ridge is a very well-maintained trail that passes along a native prairie that is filled with wildflowers in the springtime. Piedmont Ridge is located at 2400 N Jim Miller Road, Dallas, TX 75227
3. Cedar Ridge Preserve
If you are looking for a real workout, take on the hills on the trails at Cedar Ridge Nature Center. Located on top of White Rock Escarpment, you can hike over nine miles of trails that are known for being well-maintained. This is one of the best places to hike if you want some quiet reflection time or if you want your kids to be amazed and absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. There are more than 600 acres to be explored and only 20 minutes from downtown!
The Cedar Ridge Preserve used to be known as the Dallas Nature Center. Even though they changed their name, nature is their focus. This area is not only popular for its extensive hiking trails, but also for its birdwatching! There are multiple types of birds that live in the area and are easy to spot along the trails. You can also visit their butterfly garden and bring in a picnic to make a whole day trip out of your visit.
4. Goat Island Preserve Trail
Despite the title, this trail is not on an island at all, but rather it is found in Hutchins in Southern Dallas County. This nature preserve is a beautiful place to hike. Like many of the other hikes on this list, the trails run along the Trinity River which dominates the greater Dallas area. The main trail in the Goat Island Preserve is called the Goat Island Preserve Trail. This trail is a 4.7-mile easy trail that goes out and back along the river. and is easily one of the best hiking trails in Dallas.
There are tons to see and do while you are visiting Goat Island. There are the historic lock and dams in the Trinity River that are more than 100 years old. This was installed in a failed attempt to make the Trinity River more navigable and accessible a century ago. Today, it gives visitors a cascading waterfall and is very impressive to see. Continue on the seven miles of trails and see elms, bur oaks, and hackberry, and walk along the Virginia wild rye. If you are looking to do some mountain biking, this is the perfect spot for it—thanks to the remoteness of the park, trails, and biking features that have been built for thrill-seekers to enjoy.
5. Trinity River Audubon Center
For more than a decade, the Trinity River Audubon Center has been the largest urban hardwood forest. With more than 6,000 acres, you can walk along 4 miles of trails or spend time in the open space in the middle of the park. You will also be able to spend time birdwatching, seeing overlooks of the Trinity River, and visiting undisturbed wetlands. It is important to note that this is a paid experience. Rather than an exercise solo experience, the Audubon Center creates a group bird watching and hiking experience that makes for a different kind of afternoon.
The Audubon Society offers regular guided hikes and bird-watching walks. In order to be a part of them, you must buy a ticket. Tickets are $6.00 for adults and $3.00 per child. The plus side is that the fees go to the preservation of the area and the birds. Each walk and hike is accompanied by a nature guide who can help point out birds and special moments. However, due to COVID-19, trail hours are now limited and so are visitors. If you plan to visit this beautiful park to find some of the best hiking trails in Dallas, then make sure to check out their website for more information.
6. Dinosaur Valley State Park
One of the best hiking trails in Dallas is actually a big hit for kids and adults alike and is incredibly unique. Kids and adults of all ages will love the wonderment they’ll feel when visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park in nearby Glen Rose, a short drive from Fort Worth. You can find dinosaur tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River, which was once an ancient ocean with some large residents. You can hike, swim, bike, and camp inside this park. There are more than 20 miles of trails located inside the park and some of them even showcase fossilized dinosaur tracks! One of the best hiking trails in Dallas is inside this park and it allows you to walk literally where dinosaurs once stood.
It is important that you check the park’s social media feeds before heading out as they will give updates on the visibility of the dinosaur tracks based on recent rains and floods. For this reason, one of the best times of year to visit is in October. You can also visit the nearby grave of Elizabeth Crockett, wife of legendary Davy Crockett, or the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center to learn more about the dinosaurs of yesteryear.
7. Big Cedar Wilderness Trail
Big Cedar Trail has one of the hardest climbs in the Dallas area, so if you want to work up a serious sweat, this is where you need to be! This is because the park is located on Prayer Mountain, which has the highest elevation in Dallas. The trail is on the property of Mountain Creek Community Church, so there are some rules you must follow, such as the trail being closed under Sunday services are over around 1 pm and being completely closed on Mondays to allow the area to rest.
There are multiple loops for hikers and bikers to enjoy that are clearly labeled and have labeling indicating their difficulty. Again, this is the highest elevation in the city and thus has the most dramatic downhills, so only very experienced hikers and bikers should be attempting these trails. If you wish to do the full trail, it is 12.5 miles. However, there are segments and loops within the trail so you can do shorter hikes as well. The most popular trail segment is the 3.2-mile loop of the Big Cedar Trail.
8. Trinity Skyline Trail
One of the best trails in Dallas that is also one of the most famous is the Trinity Skyline Trail. If you want amazing views of downtown Dallas, head to the Trinity Skyline Trail to see the view of the skyline from the river center. This is a 4.6-mile multi-use trail that has plans to expand once it is connected with the Santa Fe Trestle Trail.
You will see all types of folks on this trail, as people relax outside along the Trinity River and walk under the major Dallas bridges, like the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the Margaret McDermott Bridge. You can access the trail from various points, just depends on what you are looking to get out of your walk. This is also a beautiful trail to take at sunset as you can watch the sunset over the Dallas skyline and get some amazing pictures for your Instagram feed.
9. L.B. Houston Nature Trails
The L.B. Houston Nature Trails is another system of multi-use trails for hikers and bikers. This is known for being fairly beginner-friendly, but there are some intermediate and moderate trails for those that are more experienced. The trails are well marked, so those trying out mountain biking for the first time will have clear warnings about sharp turns and hills that may be coming their way ahead. There are over 10 miles of trails so you can decide how fast or how slow you want to take this!
I wouldn’t recommend this for hiking as the trails can become crowded with mountain bikers very quickly. Instead, change up your routine and grab a bike and get out on this trail to experience a different kind of exercise. Most of this trail runs along Trinity River so it makes for a peaceful and serene ride.
10. Escarpment, Fossil Valley, Cedar Brake Loop
Located in Duncanville, this is a 3.8 loop trail that is heavily trafficked. It is a dog-friendly trail, and there is a lake here that you and your dog can stop at for breaks. The trail is considered to be moderate which means that it is good exercise, but not overwhelmingly difficult for the average hiker. This trail is actually a favorite of locals and is regularly trafficked.
This is a well-maintained trail that is easy to get to all year but make sure to pay attention to where you are going as this trail is actually a combination of multiple different trails. There are points where some may consider the trail to be more challenging, but it’s nothing an advanced beginner could not handle. At one point in the trail, there is an overlook that has notoriously great views too.
11. Texas Buckeye Trail
It would be a shame if we didn’t include this trail in the list of the best trails in Dallas because it is home to the very famous Texas Buckeye Trees. If you want to see the famous Texas Buckeye trees, go to this aptly named Texas Buckeye Trail on Bexar Street. In the Spring, you will see the trees on the trail covered in white blooms from the trees which make for a beautiful, bloom-covered walk. The trail is maintained by the North Texas Master Naturalists, which has made the trail very accessible and clean for visitors. You can also take a paved trail to an overlook that lets you overlook the tree canopy below.
12. Samuell Farm Park
This is absolutely a park you need to visit if you are in the Dallas or Mesquite area during the Spring when the Bluebonnet flowers are in bloom. There is a 2.5-mile trail on the South trail that is great for beginners in hiking and mountain biking. You can see birds and wildflowers as you explore the path. In the South part of the part, you can also go fishing in one of the two freshwater ponds. They are filled with largemouth bass, catfish, trout, and sunfish. On the North trail, you can see Bluebonnets on the 1.5-mile paved road trail. The North freshwater pond has ducks that you can feed by hand!
Spending time outdoors and under the warm sun is perfect no matter what time of year it is when you are in Dallas! With many accessible hiking and walking trails, you will have no problem at all finding a spot to spend your next weekend, whether hiking alone or with your family and friends.
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