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Much of Dallas has been developed into the businesses, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping we all know and love. However, there’s still quite a bit of nature left untouched in this bustling city. While hiking might not be the first outdoor activity that comes to mind when you think of our Metroplex, there are actually a number of spots to get outdoors and explore.
From short and easy paths to long and challenging trails, we’ve put together our favorite must-hike spots in and around Dallas.
While this hiking route is just over one mile long, the Texas Buckeye Trail has much to offer. Immerse yourself in nature and travel the trail through interesting turns that lead you past its famous namesake — the Texas buckeye tree. Take a seat on a boulder at the overlook near the end of the trail for an impressive view of the Trinity River. Fitt Tip: hit the trail in spring when the Texas buckeye trees are blooming white.
You definitely won’t feel like you’re in Plano at this 200-acre Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Walk along this 2.2-mile loop trail, and take in the tranquility of nature. Expect small creeks, winding paths, and perhaps even a bobcat or two if you’re extremely quiet.
Reaching across nearly 600 acres, the Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve has almost nine miles of trails varying in landscape and difficulty. Take the 2.2-mile Cedar Brake Trail loop through the forest, up a few hills, and past a serene lake. If you’re looking for a longer hike, continue on to the Cattail Pond Trail which ends at—you guessed it—the Cattail Pond. No matter which trail you choose, the 20-minute drive outside downtown Dallas to Cedar Hill is worth it for a hike among beautiful trees, wildflowers, and butterfly gardens.
Cedar Hill’s Dogwood Canyon makes for a great outdoorsy outing. Hike alongside the greenbelt and experience the Canyon’s resident wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and insects. This natural habitat spans across 200 acres and features over two miles of hiking trails, reaching some of the highest elevations in Dallas County. Fitt Tip: Head here on a weekend for Dog Day Sundays with your furry friend, but be sure to keep your dog leashed.
Venture out to Garland for an afternoon full of fresh air and fitness. As the trail name suggests, there are ducks, ducks, and more ducks to see along the 5.7 miles of the Duck Creek Greenbelt. This linear park attracts hikers, runners, rollerbladers, and more.
Can’t decide what kind of terrain you want to try? Check out the Gateway Park Trail in Fort Worth. Its nearly seven miles are split in half by the Trinity River. The west side is flat while the east side is hilly; hike the loop all the way around both to get the best of both worlds! If you choose to bike, bring a helmet as they’re required.
Head out to Plano’s largest park (800 acres total), and explore any of their 3.5 miles of concrete trails or five miles of soft-surface trails. With so many options, the Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve is a great getaway for both people and dogs. Make a day of it by fishing, kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding on Oak Point Park Lake.
Tucked between office developments and busy roads in Richardson, the Spring Creek Forest Preserve Trail is a hidden gem. Known for its wide, paved trails and its stunning wildflowers, this 2.3-mile path is a great walk or bike ride for all fitness levels. Don’t miss the little known dirt trail at the end of the paved route; it’s less trafficked and will take you to the creek.
The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Trail is known among hikers as one of the underrated treks of Dallas. Its eight miles of looped trails cross over two serene creeks and are perfect for hiking and biking. The routes range in difficulty and are surrounded by open fields and wildflower meadows. Be sure tp follow the trail map; many paths intersect each other so it’s easy to get lost.
Stretching for almost 10 miles on the north side of Lake Grapevine, North Shore Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in North Texas. It’s on the moderately difficult side, so come prepared (that means helmets for all bike riders). Fitt Tip: you can start the trail at three points—Rockledge Park, Twin Coves Park, or Murrell Park—but Murrell Park is the only free entry point.
The Big Cedar Wilderness Trails boast the highest elevation in Dallas— talk about views! At almost eight miles, the BCWT’s 10+ loops wind through forests with cedar and hardwood trees and valleys with mesquite trees and cacti. All nature-lovers and hikers welcome, from beginner to advanced.