Best Easy Day Hikes Dallas/Fort Worth  by Kathryn Hopper

Best Easy Day Hikes: Dallas/Fort Worth Guide Book

by Kathryn Hopper (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Dallas/Fort Worth  by Kathryn Hopper
Best Easy Day Hikes Dallas/Fort Worth includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for nineteen easy-to-follow hikes in the DFW area. Discover top-notch trails and preserves that take you away from city life and show you a different side of North Texas—including Cedar Hill State Park, only ten miles outside of downtown Dallas, and Cattail Pond Trail, which feels like Texas Hill Country.

© 2010 Kathryn Hopper/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Dallas/Fort Worth" Guide Book
Displaying trails 19 of 19.

Displaying trails 1 to 19 of 19.

Popular with families, scout troops, hikers, and geocachers, this trail winds uphill through woods and blackland prairie culminating in a hilltop view of Plano and its surroundings before looping back to the trailhead. From the parking lot, head to the large stone pavilion at the entrance, where picnic tables and restrooms are available. There’s a large map of all the park’s trails, both paved and unpaved, on the right wall of the pavilion across from the restrooms and more information about the diverse ecosystems in the park, including riparian wetlands, blackland prairie, and upland forest. On most weekends the park is jammed with families taking to the paved trails with strollers, scooters, bikes, and in-line skates.
Addison, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
This short loop through woods, fields, and wetlands is ideal for families with small children. The adjacent nature center features hands-on exhibits, educational programs, and a gift shop.
Westlake, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.75
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This 417-acre park is a popular destination, particularly during soccer season, when the parking lots are jammed with local families toting tykes to weekend games. This hike makes the most of the park’s 4.5 miles of trails, combining an out-and-back trail with a loop around the park’s ten-acre lake. Bring a camera for great shots of spring wildflowers and a pair of binoculars for bird watching. Families use the park’s wide trails to teach kids bike riding and to fish along the banks of the pond and adjacent Rowlett Creek.
Plano, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Located only 10 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, this trail feels worlds away as it winds through the westernmost vestiges of blackland prairie on the way to Joe Pool Lake. The nearby Penn Farm Agricultural History Center provides a hands-on history lesson.
Cedar Hill, TX - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
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This moderately challenging hike to one of the area’s tallest peaks feels like it belongs in the Texas Hill Country. It can be surprisingly secluded given its central location in the Dallas– Fort Worth Metroplex. Unlike other area trails, which have little change in elevation, this one moves up and down like a roller coaster, offering thrilling views of Joe Pool Lake to the west and a calming moment or two by a cattail pond before winding back up to the trailhead.
Duncanville, TX - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
This flat, wooded trail begins by a small playground and picnic pavilion and winds along a bubbling creek through a riparian forest and wetlands and past ponds. The ponds are home to an impressive variety of birds, including the great blue heron and its smaller relative, the green heron, plus flocks of mallards and the forty-six-acre park’s resident gaggle of geese. The Colleyville Nature Center and its system of more than 3.0 miles of trails is a relaxing retreat for Mid-Cities residents and bird watchers. More than twenty varieties of warblers have been recorded here, including golden-winged and hooded warblers. The trail has several shaded picnic tables and an adjacent playground, making it a great hike for parents with young children or anyone looking to walk off a meal.
Colleyville, TX - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 1.25
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Hiking with buffalo? The herd here is fenced off, but getting an occasional glimpse of these iconic creatures of the American West adds allure and a photo op to this trail. With more than 3,600 acres of forests, prairies, and wetlands, the Fort Worth Nature Center is one of the largest city-owned nature centers in the United States. Thankfully all that space and the park’s entrance fee keep it relatively sparsely populated much of the time. The Fort Worth Nature Center combines three major ecosystems—the Fort Worth or Grand Prairie, the Western Cross Timbers, and the wetlands along the West Fork of the Trinity River. The park’s most famous residents, celebrated each spring with the annual Buffalo Boogie race, are its herd of bison, easily view-able from several spots along the park’s main drive—the aptly named Buffalo Road.
Newark, TX - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
This comprehensive nature preserve is well worth the drive. The sanctuary offers a museum and a small zoo along with a wide variety of trails through wetlands, prairies, and forests. Educational markers identify plants and encourage conservation. Bessie Heard was born in 1886, the eldest of five daughters of one of Collin County’s founding families. She never married but instead poured her energy into civic pursuits, including establishing this museum and sanctuary in 1964. She died in 1988 at the age of 101. Miss Bess, as she was affectionately known, was passionate about encouraging children’s love of nature, and her legacy continues to grow with the facility’s ever-expanding array of exhibits and events. Kids will love the 25,000-square-foot education center with its exhibits on dinosaurs, snakes, and geodes.
McKinney, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
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The former railroad right-of-way has gone from neighborhood eyesore to the place to see and be seen in uptown Dallas. It’s the closest thing North Texas hiking has to a singles bar, as the city’s buff and beautiful sweat out romance. Some couples have even married on the trail. But don’t feel put off if you’re not in the market. The trail welcomes all ages, as long as you don’t try to wander into the adjacent private homes and apartment complexes.
Dallas, TX - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 5
This trail is largely for off-road cycling, but hikers are welcome as long as they give cyclists right-of-way. Located just off TX 114 in Irving, the trail winds through a leafy glade and then offers a prime picnic spot by the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The trail takes you on a winding path through a dense forest by the Trinity River, including a great riverside resting spot to check out turtles, snakes, and herons. Maintained by the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association (DORBA), the park is overcoming its shady reputation as a drinking spot. (It is located not far from liquor stores at the Dallas city limits on Northwest Highway.)
Irving, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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This hike takes advantage of streets closed to traffic to enjoy a wide pathway through a post oak forest and to great views of Lake Grapevine. The trail goes past soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and a picnic pavilion, ending at a lakeside playground, making it a great outing for children. The first part of the hike, about 1.5 miles, is on an old paved park road that’s now open only to foot and bike traffic. Off-road cyclists take to side dirt trails that branch off the main trail. The trail starts from the parking lot off Dove Road and then heads through a grassy opening, passing houses on the right and Little Bear Creek down the hill on the left. The trail then curves right. At the junction with Bronco Lane, the trail follows the cul-de-sac down to the water’s edge for a good view of the lake.
Grapevine, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
A popular dog park adjacent to this trail makes it ideal for canines. Educational markers identifying various tree species, a scenic dock overlooking a large pond, and well-maintained fields and a playground make for an enjoyable outing for kids and adults alike. Start the trail by the main parking lot next to the dog park and head toward the tree-lined creek area. Veer left off the paved path onto the gravel trail for a walk along the creekbanks on the Texas Outdoor Education Trail, with its detailed descriptions of the various tree species seen along the trail.
Euless, TX - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2
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This trail gets its name from its location—the north shore of Lake Grapevine—and is a favorite among Dallas/Fort Worth hikers, runners, and cyclists. The trail has lots of rocks and roots and lots of ups and downs, but nothing too steep. Sunny weekends can bring crowded trails as nature lovers come to take in the lake views from the trail’s cliffs. One of the most popular—if not the most popular—hikes in the region, this trail can sometimes feel loved to death. Conditions are crowded on many weekends. Mountain bikers flock here. You’ll have to share the trail with them for most of the stretches, so be listening for wheels crunching behind you. The hike starts off at Rockledge Park and winds over cliffside trails overlooking Lake Grapevine. Avoid this trail after a heavy rain, when it’s muddy and sometimes impassable as the lake overtakes its banks.
Grapevine, TX - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.1
With well-marked paved trails, plenty of picnic tables, and a great swimming beach for a posthike dip, this loop is well worth the drive.
Aubrey, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
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This flat, paved trail is popular with runners, cyclists, and hikers alike. The 1,300-acre park includes 8.0 miles of trails along the West Fork of the Trinity River, where the river’s steep banks are lined with mature bottomland hardwoods that draw abundant wildlife. This hike covers the west side of the park, where the trail is shaded by massive gnarled oaks and is a bit less traveled, perhaps due to the adjacent sewage treatment facility. A bench perched by the riverbank provides a nice mid-hike picnic spot. Distance: 3.2 miles out and back. Approximate hiking time: 1.5 Difficulty: Easy Trail surface: Concrete pavement.
Euless, TX - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.2
This trail winds through a dense forest that features some of the region’s oldest trees, including some believed to be more than 300 years old. The preserve is the only spot in the world where eight different types of oaks grow together in one ecosystem, making it a favorite destination in late autumn. This level, paved trail leads to an overlook of a stream where turtles rest atop logs and woodpeckers hammer overhead.
Garland, TX - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 0.75
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Opened in 2008, this Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified education center and the surrounding nature preserve are popular with school children and birders drawn by informative programs and abundant wildlife. This trail takes in an expansive view of the Trinity River then heads through a prairie and adjacent woodland before circling back to the education center.
Duncanville, TX - Birding,Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 1
This 3-mile trail hugs the south shore of Lake Grapevine, offering stunning views and surprising solitude. The first part of the trail is through woods; the second part is along the shoreline. The trail is open to horses and restricted to mountain bikers, but they sometimes can’t resist. Be prepared to see a few fat tire marks along with tracks of armadillos, opossums, and the occasional coyote. A series of interconnecting loops make it easy to shorten or lengthen this hike along the shore of Lake Grapevine. Despite being a few miles west of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the park feels very remote. For simplicity, this trail hugs the shoreline of Lake Grapevine and the lake’s sandy beach can provide a good workout and somewhat muddy shoes, depending on recent rainfall.
Westlake, TX - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 3
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Before air-conditioning, White Rock Lake was where Dallasites went to cool off and teens cruised along winding Lawther Drive. But when city officials banned swimming and disconnected the scenic waterside byway in four places, the park slowly went into decline. Now runners, cyclists, and hikers have rediscovered the scenic loop, thanks to continual improvements that are adding new luster to this city jewel.
Dallas, TX - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
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