Before air-conditioning, White Rock Lake was where Dallasites went to cool off and where teens wanted to cruise along winding Lawther Drive. But after city officials banned swimming and disconnected the scenic waterside byway in four places, the park slowly went into decline. Now joggers, cyclists, and hikers have made the 1,000- acre park and its 9.3-mile hiking and biking loop a recreational mecca, the closest thing Dallas has to New York City’s iconic Central Park.
In some parts, the trail feels isolated, making it easy to forget it’s just a few miles from downtown Dallas—that is until the trail rounds a corner and provides a stunning view of the skyline. While it’s only about 15 feet deep, White Rock Lake is home to bass, crappie, and catfish, and more than 200 species of birds have been spotted here, including swans, sea gulls, loons, and, of course, ducks. There are plenty of picnicking spots, a popular dog park, and a cultural center with an intimate theater, art gallery, and museum highlighting the lake’s colorful past.
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