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Whether you enjoy hiking as a family activity or you prefer to walk alone to have some personal time, hiking is an excellent physical activity. It provides many health benefits such as increased flexibility, strength, and endurance. But most of all, hiking gets you away from the grind of daily life and allows you to connect with the peace and beauty of nature while recharging your spirit. To help you plan your next walking journey, here's a list of some of the best hiking trails around Dallas, Texas.
The colorful expanse of the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve entails 121 acres of meadows and woodlands, including 8 miles of hiking and biking trails. The preserve is only 15 minutes from downtown Dallas.
Oak Cliff has five different color-coded trails. The White Trail, which is the outermost loop, connects to all the other trails. Each trail has different features that make it unique, like the eclectic memorabilia portion of the Blue Trail that features items like a part of a bicycle and different street signs hanging from the trees. The unpaved dirt paths add intensity to make this a great hiking workout in a beautiful setting.
The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is open from dawn until dusk and you can find it at 2875 Pierce St. in Dallas.
If you want to spend some time hiking without leaving the city, Katie Jackson Park is located within the city of Dallas at 4900 Haverwood Lane. The 45-acre park has many amenities including some great scenic hiking and biking trails. You can stay on the open, grassy paths or you can hike for several miles on wooded paths within the park. Enjoy the beauty of nature along with the refreshing sound of White Rock Creek, which flows alongside the trail at times.
The park also has challenging bike hills, a playground, picnic tables, a grill, and a covered pavilion. Katie Jackson Park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cedar Ridge Preserve is partly owned by Dallas County and partly owned by the City of Dallas, and it spans nearly 600 acres of land. The Blackland Prairie meets a limestone escarpment in this area and results in breathtaking views. The unique terrain shifts from hilly meadows to heavily wooded areas and attracts abundant birds and wildlife. For this reason, Cedar Ridge is a very popular hiking and bird-watching area.
The preserve contains more than 10 trails of varying lengths. You can combine several of the shorter trails into a several-mile hike. Most of the trails start near the Education Center, but some of the remote trails are only accessible from other trails, like the Fossil Valley Trail and the Cedar Brake Trail. With the variety of different paths to explore, you can return again and again to Cedar Ridge and have a different hiking experience each time.
Cedar Ridge Preserve is found at 7171 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas. The park is open Tuesday through Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to dusk and closed on Mondays.
Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, owned by the National Audubon Society, is part of the White Rock Escarpment. There are more than 200 acres of land and over 2 miles of trails in the canyon. Dogwood Canyon is a unique ecosystem that's home to many rare species of plants and animals, so you'll most likely see some beautiful and unique foliage when you hike there. There are picnic tables and a bird blind for visitors to use, along with an indoor bird viewing area. The trail is dog-friendly.
Reservations are currently necessary for hiking in the canyon, which you can make via their website. Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is located at 1206 W. FM 1382 in Cedar Hill, 16 miles south of Dallas.
For hikers who prefer trails designated for pedestrians only, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has about 3 miles of unpaved hiking trails that don't allow bike traffic. Along with the 3 miles of paved hiking trails, there are over 6 miles of trails in this 200-acre park. There is also an off-road bike trail, a covered pavilion, and a playground at Arbor Hills. The preserve has an observation tower that gives an amazing view of the surrounding area, including the city of Plano.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve provides a helpful interpretive map available if you enjoy learning about the area as you hike. Trail markers match up to significant information on the trail, such as the types of trees and plants growing in specific areas along the path or where hikers are likely to spot wildlife like butterflies, hummingbirds, turtles, or ducks.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is in Plano, about 20 miles north of Dallas, at 6701 W. Parker Road.
Goat Island Preserve is south of Dallas, along the banks of the Trinity River. The preserve contains 501 acres of forests and floodplains and gets its name from one of the two islands on the Trinity River. The dog-friendly preserve is open year-round.
The main trail is a 4.7-mile loop that connects to many other trails along the way including Ranch Road Trail, Roadrunner Trail, and Bevo Loop. You can easily add distance to your hike by branching off onto various side trails. The main loop is mostly shaded and relatively flat, which may make it easier for families with younger children to navigate. There is a lot to see on the Goat Island Preserve trail. There are usually birds and wildlife along the trail, in addition to the abundant plants, as well as the view of the Trinity River.
You can enter Goat Island Preserve at 2800 Post Oak Road in Hutchins and its hours are from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
Here at Planet Ford Dallas, we know that walking can be just as important as driving to sustaining an active lifestyle. That's why in addition to helping you find a deal on your next vehicle, we also want to help you find your next favorite hiking location. Let us know if you visit any of these hiking trails and tell us which are your favorites. Our friendly team looks forward to hearing from you!