The bluebonnets and Indian blankets are blooming, the mockingbirds and red-winged blackbirds are chirping and the Texas sun is shining, which means there’s no better time to take your exercise outdoors and hit the local trails. The Dallas Park System is one of the largest municipal park systems in the country, with over 380 green spaces nestled within our city limits. Not only do these parks offer free recreational facilities — from playground equipment to splash pads to picnic areas to basketball courts — but they’re also home to numerous hiking and biking trails that will help you take a break from the hustle and bustle of the everyday.
Lace up, clip in and get in touch with the natural wonders Dallas has to offer by visiting one of these nearby parks.
Boulder Park (6600 Pastor Bailey Dr.)
Boulder Park stretches out over 106 gorgeous acres just south of Duncanville. It also happens to be home to the longest trail on this list — the Boulder Mountain Bike Trail. This 12-mile, multi-use trail winds through a diverse topography, one that includes open fields, wooded areas, wet creek crossings and numerous climbs and descents. Cyclists can choose between beginner and advanced options, making it easy to ramp up to the trail’s challenges over multiple visits. Just don’t forget to pack a few snacks for after your trek. The park’s nearby picnic tables are a great place to refuel and celebrate your hard work.
L.B. Houston Nature Area (1366 California Xing.)
The L.B. Houston Nature Area is a conservancy park that spans an impressive 295 acres. Within it, you’ll find the L.B. Houston Park Mountain Bike Trail, a popular option for local cyclists and hikers thanks to its close-up views of the Trinity River as well as its beginner and intermediate options. The 10-mile trail is also heavily shaded, so it’s perfect for an especially blazing summer day. Plus, if you still have some energy leftover from your ride, you can always hit the nearby tennis courts for some friendly volleys.
Great Trinity Forest (7000 Bexar St.)
The Great Trinity Forest covers 250 wooded acres and offers fishing, boating, canoeing and picnicking. However, it’s the famous Texas Buckeye Trail that has Dallasites coming back to this natural urban area for more. Just under two miles long, this trail’s biggest attraction continues to be the spectacular views it offers. The paved portion leads hikers to a scenic overlook of the forest that’s perfect for pictures, while the unpaved section ends at a large stand of Texas Buckeye trees (hence the trail’s name). Buckeyes bloom white and put forth their distinctive leaves as the weather turns warm, making spring is an ideal time to visit.
Cedar Ridge Preserve (7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy.)
Eight different hiking trails (totaling approximately six miles) criss-cross the 600-acre Cedar Ridge Preserve. The most popular of these trails is probably the Cattail Pond Trail, which ends at a lookout tower that provides impressive views of nearby Joe Pool Lake. Expect some portions of these trails to include steep, rocky terrain and small bridges, and don’t forget to bring along a pair of binoculars — bird-watching is popular in the preserve. Cedar Ridge also offers one of the highest elevations in Dallas, clocking in at 755 feet above sea level. You’ll have to leave your bike at home, however; the trails are single-use only and do not allow cyclists.
Harry S Moss Park (7601 Greenville Ave.)
Harry S Moss Park sits right off Greenville Avenue along the northern banks of White Rock Creek and spans 280 acres that are navigable by more than five miles of natural surface trails. The Harry S Moss Park Mountain Bike Trail is a multi-use, beginner-to-intermediate trail whose four loops average about a mile-and-a-half each. The terrain is mostly wooded and filled with dips, hills, dirt mounds and bridges, making it an especially popular option for mountain bikers. The park is also home to a picnic and grilling area, a soccer field and a playground for the kids. Take an early morning stroll through the woods and make it the start to a delightful day in Dallas’ great outdoors.
Which city trails are your favorites? Where do you go in Dallas to move according to a different rhythm — and at a different pace? Be sure to share your recommendations with us on Facebook and Twitter.