City Hiking Guides

The Best Hikes Near Dallas

POSTED ON July 6, 2022 BY Ralph S.


Introduction

Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas and get in touch with nature? Look no further than the numerous hiking trails located just outside the city limits. This blog post is your ultimate guide to the best hikes near Dallas.

From paved trails to beautiful parks through the Texas Hill Country, there’s something for everyone in north Texas. Wildlife enthusiasts will love exploring the beautiful parks and reserves such as the Dallas Arboretum, Trinity River Audubon Center, and Cedar Ridge Preserve.

So pack your hiking boots and get ready to discover the hidden gems of Dallas on these top hikes.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Size: over 600 acres (2.4 sq km)
  • Number of hiking trails: about 13 short trails
  • Total length of trails: around 9 miles (14 km) of natural surface trails
  • Map: Trail map
  • Official Website: https://audubondallas.org

Formerly known as the Dallas Nature Center, Cedar Ridge Preserve is a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, just a short 20 minutes from downtown Dallas. This nature park offers a variety of scenic trails for hikers of all levels.

The park is located between Mountain Creek Parkway and FM 1382, making it easily accessible from the city. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with stunning butterfly gardens and picturesque picnic areas.

As you explore the trails, you’ll encounter the unique landscape of the White Rock Escarpment, stunning views of Joe Pool Lake, and its signature shrub species, such as shin oak, eastern red ash juniper, and wildflower-filled meadows. The two most popular trails in this nature park include the Cedar Ridge Trail and the Escarpment Road Trail.

The Great Trinity Forest Gateway and Horse Trails

The Great Trinity Forest Gateway and Horse Trails

Nestled within the Great Trinity Forest, one of the largest urban forests in the United States lies the Great Trinity Forest Gateway and Horse Trails. This 250-acre metropolitan park has a variety of outdoor activities for visitors, including hiking along the Trinity Forest Trail and horseback riding along the designated trails.

For hikers, there is a half-mile multi-purpose concrete trail that winds around the fishing pond, offering a peaceful and scenic experience. There are also other concrete trails throughout the park that allow for easy access to different areas of the forest.

For horse enthusiasts, there is a designated equestrian area with about a mile of trail suitable for riders of all levels.

Trinity Forest Trail

Trinity River Audubon Center

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 8 miles (12.8 km)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Trail type: Loop

This 8-mile (12.8 km) loop trail takes you on a journey through the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States, the Great Trinity Forest.

The trail begins at the Trinity River Audubon Center. As you begin your hike, take in the beauty of the butterfly garden and keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife such as birds, turtles, and deer.

The trail then leads you through a variety of landscapes, including open prairies, wooded areas, and other access points such as the Great Trinity Forest Gateway. Along the way, you’ll also come across horse trails.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, the Trinity Forest Trail offers something for everyone. And with designated parking areas at Trinity River Audubon Center, this trail is easily accessible for all.

Trinity Skyline Trail

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4 km)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail type: Out and Back
  • Map: check here

The Trinity Skyline Trail is a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape the busy city life of Dallas, Texas. This 4.6-mile (7.4-km) hard surface trail follows along the picturesque Trinity River, offering stunning views of the downtown skyline.

The trail begins about a mile (1.6 km) from the city center and takes hikers through urban parks, bridges, and green spaces. The path is mostly flat with some slight inclines, making it suitable for hikers of all levels.

As you make your way along the trail, keep an eye out for local wildlife, such as birds and turtles. The peaceful atmosphere and scenic landscape make this trail a favorite among nature enthusiasts in Dallas.

Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 km)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail type: Point to Point

The Santa Fe Trail is a popular multi-use concrete path that winds through the heart of Dallas, Texas. Spanning 4.3 miles (6.9 km), this trail offers a great outdoor escape for hikers, runners, and cyclists alike. This trail also offers a moderate challenge, with some inclines along the way

The trail starts at White Rock Lake, one of the most beloved parks in Dallas, and takes you through lush greenery along the beautiful Trinity River. As you make your way along the path, keep an eye out for the stunning views of the Dallas skyline. The trail also passes through historic neighborhoods and popular parks, making it both a scenic and educational experience.

Texas Buckeye Trail

Great Trinity Forest

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 1.6 miles (2.5 km)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Type: Out and Back

Nestled within the Great Trinity Forest in southeastern Dallas lies a hidden gem known as the Texas Buckeye Trail. This two-mile dirt path offers hikers a tranquil escape from bustling city life, making it the perfect outdoor adventure for nature enthusiasts of all levels.

The trail starts at the southern end of Bexar Street in Dallas and takes hikers on a journey through a canopy of beautiful Buckeye trees. These unique trees, known for their distinctive seed pods and bright yellow blooms in the spring, add a touch of whimsy to the trail. As you make your way through the forest, take in the sights and sounds of nature all around you.

Katy Trail

Katy Trail

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail type: Point to Point

The Katy Trail is a short and easy paved trail located in the heart of Dallas, Texas. This popular urban trail spans 3.5 miles (5.6 km) and offers a variety of activities such as walking, trail running, dog walking, and bike trails. With free parking available at various points along the trail, it’s easily accessible for all.

As you make your way, take a glimpse into the city’s history, as it follows the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line, nicknamed “Katy” for short. Also, you’ll pass through popular neighborhoods and parks along the way, making it a great opportunity to explore Dallas on foot or by bike.

Piedmont Ridge Trail

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.1 km)
  • Hiking duration: approximately 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Out and Back

Located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, the Piedmont Ridge Trail is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This out and back trail offers hikers a moderate challenge while providing breathtaking views of the city from the Scyene Overlook. With easy access and free parking, this trail is perfect for those looking to escape city life.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be surrounded by a peaceful oasis of nature. The trail winds through scenic woodlands, offering glimpses of local wildlife and seasonal wildflowers. As you reach the Scyene Overlook, take a moment to pause and admire the stunning view of downtown Dallas in the distance.

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

  • Location: Downtown Dallas, TX
  • Size: 121 acres (0.49 sq km)
  • Number of trails: approximately 5 short loops and biking trails
  • Total length of trails: 8 miles (about 12.8 km)
  • Official Website: https://www.texaslandconservancy.org

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is a hidden gem located in the heart of downtown Dallas, Texas. Spanning 121 acres (0.49 sq km) of woodlands and wildflower meadows, this peaceful oasis is a popular spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

With over 8 miles (12.8 km) of hike-and-mountain biking trails, the Oak Cliff Preserve offers plenty of opportunities to explore its natural beauty. Visitors can choose from a variety of trails, including natural surface paths that wind through the preserve’s lush landscape. The main trail also offers stunning views of the surrounding area, and abundant birdlife can be spotted along the way.

Aside from its scenic trails, the park offers other amenities such as picnic areas, dog-friendly sections, and educational programs for all ages.

Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve

  • Location: Plano, TX
  • Size: 800 acres (3.24 sq km)
  • Number of trails: Over 13 miles (21 km)
  • Total length of trails: Nearly 13 miles (21 km)
  • Map: check the trail map here

Nestled in the bustling city of Plano, Texas, about 30 miles (around 48 km) north of Dallas, lies the serene Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve. As Plano’s largest park, this 800-acre oasis offers a peaceful escape for locals and visitors alike.

With about 8 miles (12.8 km) of concrete trails and 5 miles (8 km) of soft-surface trails, the main trail winds around a picturesque small lake, offering stunning views of its tranquil waters. Visitors can choose from the available trails, ranging from easy-paved paths to more challenging trails. Along the way, hikers and bikers can enjoy the lush gardens and abundant wildlife that call this park home.

Aside from its beautiful scenery, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve also offer various amenities, such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and even a dog park. With its close proximity to Dallas, this hidden gem is the perfect spot for a day trip or weekend adventure.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

  • Location: Plano, TX
  • Size: 200 acres (0.81 sq km)
  • Number of trails: several interconnected natural surface trails
  • Total length of trails: Approximately 9 miles (14.5 km)
  • Trail info: Trail guide 1 and guide 2

Located approximately 24 miles (38 km) from Dallas in Plano, Texas, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre oasis that offers a variety of outdoor activities for all ages. This popular park features an interconnected natural surface trail system with over 9 miles (14.5 km) of trails, including 3 miles (4.8 km) of paved hiking trails, 3 miles (4.8 km) of unpaved hiking trails, 2.8 miles (4.5 km) of off-road bike trails, the scenic Arbor Hills Trail, the native Prairie Trail, and the Outer Loop Trail.

Today, visitors can enjoy the tranquil sounds of nature while exploring the park’s bottomland forest along Indian Creek. From native prairies to lush woodlands, the park provides a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of Texas’ natural habitat.

Aside from its scenic trails, the park also offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and educational programs for all ages.

Spring Creek Forest Preserve

  • Location: Garland, TX
  • Size: 69 acres (0.28 sq km)
  • Number of trails: 2 trails: Interpretive Walking Trail and Spring Creek trail
  • Total length of trails: approximately 0.83 miles (1.33 km)

Nestled in the city of Garland, Texas, just 23 miles (37 km) from Dallas, lies the peaceful Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Spanning 69 acres (0.28 sq km), this park offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Visitors can explore the towering trees and the serene Spring Creek that runs through the preserve. The park features two main trails, including a beautiful 0.33-mile (around 530 meters) Interpretive Walking Trail and a 0.50-mile (800-meter) Spring Creek Trail, perfect for a leisurely stroll or nature walk.

As one of the few remaining natural habitats in the area, Spring Creek Forest Preserve is not only a popular spot for outdoor activities but also serves as an important refuge for local wildlife.

Rowlett Creek, Dallas County Nature Preserve

  • Location: Garland, TX
  • Size: 97 acres (0.39 sq km)
  • Number of trails: one main trail with 14 connected short loops
  • Total length of trails: approximately 16 miles (about 25 km)
  • Map: Rowlett-Creek-Preserve-Trail

Located in the charming city of Garland, Texas, just 19 miles (30.5 km) from downtown Dallas, the Rowlett Creek, Dallas County Nature Preserve is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Spanning 97 acres (0.39 sq km), this park offers a serene escape into nature with its picturesque trails and abundance of wildlife.

Visitors can explore the park’s unpaved 16-mile (25 km) stacked loop trail system that consists of 14 interconnected loops, providing the flexibility to choose various loop combinations for different distances ranging from 1 to 16 miles. The most popular trail winds through the park’s southern edge, offering scenic views of the surrounding nature.

Aside from its beautiful trails, the park also features picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for outdoor activities with family and friends.

Overlook Trail

river bed in Dinosaur Valley State Park

  • Location: Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, TX
  • Distance: 0.5 miles (800 meters)
  • Hiking duration: Approximately 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Point to point
  • Dinosaur Valley State Park: Trail map

Located in Dinosaur Valley State Park, approximately 79 miles (127 km) near Glen Rose, TX, the 0.5-mile (800-meter) Overlook Trail is a must-do when visiting the park. This moderate trail offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rugged terrain of Dinosaur Valley State Park and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The trail starts at the park’s main picnic area and takes hikers on a scenic journey through limestone cliffs, rocky hills, and lush vegetation. Along the way, visitors will have a chance to see dinosaur tracks preserved in the riverbeds below and take in panoramic views of the Paluxy River.

Eagle Mountain Park

  • Location: Fort Worth, Dallas, TX
  • Size: 400 acres (1.6 sq km)
  • Number of trails: 6 short trails
  • Total length of trails: over 5 miles (8 km) of well-maintained trails

Nestled on the scenic shores of Eagle Mountain Lake, just 52 miles (83 km) from Dallas in Dallas-Fort Worth, lies the tranquil Eagle Mountain Park. Spanning 400 acres (1.6 sq km), this hidden oasis offers a peaceful escape from bustling city life.

Visitors can explore over 5 miles (8 km) of well-maintained trails that wind through the park’s diverse terrain, including meadows, woodlands, and a scenic overlook of Eagle Mountain Lake. The highlight of the park is the short quarter-mile “Overlook Trail,” which offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscape.

Aside from its stunning trails, Eagle Mountain Park also features fishing opportunities for those looking to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

North Shore Trail

Horseshoe Trail at Grapevine Lake

  • Location: Flower Mound, TX
  • Distance: Approximately 23 miles (37 km)
  • Hiking duration: varies from a few hours, based on chosen sections
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Trail type: Out and back

Located in the charming town of Flower Mound, Texas, approximately 30 miles (48 km) from Dallas, the North Shore Trail offers a challenging and scenic outdoor experience. This 23-mile (37 km) out and back trail winds through the picturesque Grapevine Lake and is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers looking for a moderate-to-difficult workout.

The trail runs from Rockledge Park to Twin Coves Park, providing breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscape along the way. With its varied terrain and elevation changes, this trail is perfect for those seeking a challenging workout while also being immersed in nature.

Don’t worry about having to hike the full 23 miles in one go; you can easily pick and choose sections of the trail to explore and enjoy hiking without spending the entire day in the woods.

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

Pickering Creek Audobon Center

  • Location: Cedar Hill, TX (map)
  • Size: 205 acres (0.83 sq km)
  • Number of hiking trails: 3 easy trails
  • Total length of trails: over 3 miles (4.8 km)
  • Trail info: Register for hiking trails

Located just a short drive from downtown Dallas, in Cedar Hill, lies the beautiful Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center. Spanning 205 acres (0.83 sq km), this preserve offers an escape into nature with its scenic trails and abundance of wildlife.

The park has three easy trails, perfect for all levels of hikers, that wind through the canyon’s lush woodlands and meadows adorned with blooming dogwood trees. Visitors can also participate in guided hikes to learn more about the park’s flora and fauna.

Aside from its picturesque trails, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is known for its diverse bird population, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers. The center also offers educational programs and events suitable for all ages, making it an ideal destination for families and nature enthusiasts alike.

Hiking around Lake Grapevine

Views of Grapevine Lake near Grapevine, Texas

  • Location: Grapevine, TX
  • Hiking duration: varies from a few hours to a full day based on chosen sections
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Trail type: Out and back or loop

Located just 30 minutes from Dallas in the charming town of Grapevine, with endless hiking opportunities around Lake Grapevine. Lake Grapevine is an 8,000-acre (32.37 sq km) reservoir offering several miles of well-maintained trails that wind through parks and wooded areas. These trails and dirt paths provide breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding nature.

Hikers can choose to explore various sections around the lake, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, depending on their preferences and abilities. The Rock Point Trail, for instance, is a perfect option for families with children or those looking for a leisurely nature walk.

Along the way, visitors can also enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, boating, sunset viewing, and birdwatching.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

  • Location: Mineral Wells, Dallas, TX
  • Size: 3,284 acres (13.29 sq km)
  • Number of hiking trails: 9 easy to moderate trails
  • Total length of trails: approximately 14 miles (22.5 km)
  • Adult: $7 Daily
  • Child 12 Years and Under: Free
  • More trail information: link and pdf file
  • Rock climbing: Download our Rock-Climbing Route Map PDF  to have a look at the available routes

Located about 78 miles (125 km) from Dallas, Lake Mineral Wells State Park is a popular outdoor destination for those looking to escape the city and enjoy nature. This 3,284-acre (13.29 sq km) park offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and camping.

The park features nine easy-to-moderate trails that are approximately 14 miles (22.5 km) in total length. These trails wind through the park’s diverse terrain, featuring scenic overlooks, woodlands, and rock formations. The highlight of the park is Penitentiary Hollow, a popular spot for rock climbers with its towering cliffs and challenging routes.

For those who prefer to relax and take in the scenery, there are also campsites available throughout the park.

Post Oak, Dallas County Nature Preserve

  • Location: Seagoville, TX
  • Size: 335 acres (1.35 sq km)
  • Number of trails: less than 5
  • Total length of trails: about 2.75 miles (4.4 km)

Nestled just 19 miles (30.5 km) from Dallas lies the beautiful Post Oak, Dallas County Nature Preserve in Seagoville, TX. This 335-acre (1.35 sq km) preserve is a hidden gem for nature lovers, offering 2.75 miles (4.4 km) of natural surface trails to explore.

The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife and is a popular spot for birdwatching. Visitors can spot various species of birds while strolling through the forest and meadows. The park also features a pond, offering opportunities for fishing and wildlife viewing.

Conclusion

Dallas might not be known for its outdoor activities, but there are plenty of hiking trails and nature preserves around the city. 

Whether you are looking for a quick escape from the city or an epic hiking adventure, there is a trail for everyone. Make sure to bring some Silverlight socks along for the ride.

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So put on your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and explore the great outdoors near Dallas.


RALPH S.

Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

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