There are many beautiful parks and preserves around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with hiking trails fit for all skill levels. Many of these spots are also popular for other outdoor activities, like kayaking and mountain biking. We rounded up some of the best hiking trails that keep you close to Dallas, but are so idyllic that they make you feel like you’re far outside the city.
Where to hike near Dallas
Trinity Skyline Trail
2.4 miles (6 minutes) from Dallas
This 4.5-mile urban trail hugs the Trinity River in Dallas and offers amazing views of downtown. As a paved path, it’s perfect for walking, jogging and biking. You’ll cut through green spaces with trees that offer respite from the heat when you need a rest and have the opportunity to cross the river at a pedestrian bridge for a change in scenery. Apart from the city skyline view, another highlight of this trail is passing by the famous Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which traverses the Trinity River and features an imposing central arch that’s 400 feet tall.
4.4 miles (11 minutes) from Dallas
Katy Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Dallas area, with more than one million visitors each year walking, jogging, biking, inline skating or bird watching on the path. It goes for 7.7 miles along the route of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and is considered a fairly easy trail.
White Rock Lake Trail
7.6 miles (17 minutes) from Dallas
White Rock Lake is a reservoir northeast of downtown Dallas, and a peaceful, paved, family-friendly trail circles it for just over 9 miles. There are parking lots on each side of the lake, so you can enter the trail from multiple access points. Aside from walking, biking or jogging on the trail, you can enjoy the lake itself by going fishing, boating, bird watching and paddling. This trail is open year-round.
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
7.3 miles (13 minutes) from Dallas
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is a 121-acre green space, with more than 8 miles of hiking and biking trails, located in the heart of Dallas.
One of the most popular paths is the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Outer Loop Trail, at roughly 6.5 miles. It is considered a moderately challenging route since some parts of the path turn suddenly or are rocky or otherwise uneven. There is immense beauty here, as the preserve is heavily wooded year-round and wildflowers bloom in the spring.
Boulder Park Trails
9.8 miles (12 minutes) from Dallas
Boulder Park contains 12 miles of twisting loop trails that are moderately challenging and popular with mountain bikers. As a hiker, it would be wise to head in the opposite direction of the bikers: Some parts of the trail are narrow and not always suitable for two people side-by-side, so it’ll help to be able to see who’s coming. Loops marked as red are for more experienced hikers, while blue is suitable for beginners.
Cedar Ridge Preserve Trails
17.8 miles (22 minutes) from Dallas
This 600-acre preserve has nine trails that range from easy to difficult. To help protect the plants and wildlife, the area is closed on Mondays. The rest of the week, visitors may be turned away if rangers feel the preserve is at capacity. Be sure to show up early to avoid possible crowds. The 0.25-mile Little Bluestem Trail is ADA accessible.
Katie Jackson Park
18.4 miles (22 minutes) from Dallas
The 4-mile trail at Katie Jackson Park is quite popular with mountain bikers, but it’s a multi-use trail that is also great for beginner to intermediate hikers and joggers. There are three different loops on this trail, marked as yellow, black and blue. Reviews from locals say that the signage for the hiking paths is hard to locate, but bike trails are better marked. The yellow loop is a nice option, as it gets close to White Rock Creek.
Spring Creek Nature Area Trail
19 miles (22 minute) from Dallas
Located in the suburb of Richardson, TX, just north of Dallas, Spring Creek Nature Area has a 4.5-mile wooded trail that intersects with other urban trails so you can extend your hike even further. Although there are city roads and even a highway nearby, the trees surrounding the trails help block out the noise and make it easy to forget you’re in a city.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
22.8 miles (28 minutes) from Dallas
Located north of Dallas in Plano, TX, the 200-acre Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has a 3-mile paved trail and a 3-mile unpaved trail. This is a great spot for families, as the preserve also has a playground and pavilions that can be rented for parties. There is also an observation tower you can ascend to see a wonderful view of the park and nearby Plano neighborhoods.
Dallas hiking tips
It can get very hot in Texas all year, so it’s important to bring plenty of water no matter which trail you hike. Try to arrive early in the morning to beat the heat. Also, don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away.
In recent years, there have been reports of both venomous and non-venomous snakes on some trails. If you do encounter a snake, leave it alone and slowly walk away from it.