Hiking in Dallas is a must-do activity for any citizen of this large metropolis. Taking use of the dozens of parks, natural reserves, and secluded locations around Downtown by getting out and about in the city’s green spaces is a terrific way to make the most of the entire city’s greenery.
While city life revolves around gleaming shopping malls, art museums, and bustling bars and restaurants, these Dallas trails provide a peaceful respite from the usual tourist traps and showcase the beautiful landscapes of central Texas.
After all, the hiking community is thriving and widespread throughout North Texas.
With 17 different treks on this list, there’s something for everyone, regardless of age or ability, as well as enough tranquil canals and lush vegetation to offset the hustle and bustle of Downtown.
Continue reading for insider information on how to get to each location, trail lengths and obstacles, must-see lookouts, wildlife to avoid, and more.
If you’re looking for even more magnificent Southern nature, look no further. Check out our selection of the top national parks in Texas, including some that aren’t far from Dallas!
White Rock Lake Trail
White Rock Lake Path is a popular trail (loop) open all year and accessible to people of all ability levels and is only 15 minutes from the city center.
It’s a concrete route, so it’s smooth and simple to hike, bike, or jog on.
You may either go all the way around the lake, taking in the sights of city parks and quiet neighborhoods along the way, or just hop on and off for a shorter ride.
While you’re here, visit the White Rock Lake Museum and Bath House Cultural Center to explore much more about the region’s heritage, the Dallas Arboretum, and Botanical Garden to enjoy the local flora, or the Audubon Society bird-watching zone to see some beautiful native birds!
Cedar Brake Trail
Although Dallas is known for its flat topography, this beautiful loop in Cedar Hill State Park includes some challenging climbs.
It’s more suited to intermediate skill levels due to the tougher terrain and amount of ups and downs, although there are plenty of benches along the way to rest.
The high spots offer panoramic vistas, while the low points pass by a quiet lake and dense foliage that is particularly lovely in the fall. Even though it’s only 20 minutes from the city center, the crowds aren’t that awful here, especially if you go during non-peak periods such as evenings and weekends.
Turtle Creek and Oak Lawn are among Dallas’ coolest Downtown neighborhoods, and Katy Trail sits right in the middle of them!
Like Goldilocks, this hike is an out-and-back. It’s just the right length, with a nice combination of city vistas and beautiful landscape, as well as magnificent wildflowers in the spring. It’s ideal for anything from family strolls to morning jogs to dog walks in the afternoon.
Tourists will like the proximity to prominent restaurants and other attractions, while locals appreciate the shade and wide, paved walks.
However, all excellent things have flaws. This urban walk may get fairly crowded, specifically in the evenings, due to its all-in-one nature.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Trail
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Trail is a popular choice for hiking in the Dallas area.
To find it, travel about 30-45 minutes from Downtown to Plano, Texas, one of the city’s busiest suburbs.
The loop itself is a pleasant, paved path, but if you want to branch out, there are other side hikes and dirt paths along the way.
Wildflowers, dry creek beds, and cool streams will greet you along the journey. It’s a dream come true for kids (or adults) that enjoy climbing and exploring.
Arbor Hills is closed every Wednesday from 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM for maintenance.
Spring Creek Interpretive Walking Trail
This trail is a little further out than our other Dallas hiking trails. Spring Creek Forest, on the other hand, is only 30 minutes from downtown.
The loop is a great choice for family outings because it is short, pleasant, and kid-friendly.
Dirt trails, creek overlooks, and flat terrain can all be found here, making it ideal for a relaxing stroll or a little adventure. Keep your eyes ready for wildlife in the area. There’s nothing quite like seeing animals in their natural environment to make you feel like you’ve been taken to another world!
Trinity River Audubon Center Trail
The Trinity River Audubon Center Trail offers calm, tree-lined pathways and a river view approximately 15-20 minutes from Downtown Dallas, providing a fast retreat to enjoy some hiking in Dallas between attractions.
On your walk, you’re likely to see animals such as white-tailed deer or even native bird species.
As there’s not much altitude gain and the out-and-back takes only about an hour, this is a fantastic trail for families with little children.
Gateway Park West Loop
This one deviates a little from hiking in Dallas in terms of technicality. In Fort Worth, it’s hiking season! This nearby city has plenty of things to see and do, including a few beautiful hikes.
Hikers will enjoy this shady, simple loop, while skilled mountain bikers will like the jumps, walls, see-saws, and other attractions. Beginners are welcome to join in the fun! If you’re new to mountain riding, skip the more difficult sections.
You’ll be treated to river views and even a secret waterfall, no matter which form of transportation you choose!
Lemmon Lake via Trinity Forest Trail
Only 15 minutes from Downtown, this paved, well-shaded out-and-back trail is a great way to stretch your legs.
The climb is popular with walkers and joggers because it is mostly flat. It is, however, a fantastic biking trail!
While the environment isn’t spectacular, Lemmon Lake provides a calm respite from the traffic and throng of other hiking spots near Dallas.
Puppies are welcome on this trail, which is a treat for dog owners.
Boulder Park Trail
All mountain bikers are invited here!
While hikers and runners both appreciate this trail, those on two wheels will find the elevation variations and sharp twists to be a total adrenaline rush.
If you choose to walk, make sure you go in the other way so you can see approaching bikers.
This woodland site is only 20 minutes from the city center and is popular all year. However, March to October is the best time to visit.
Piedmont Ridge Trail
Despite being only 15 minutes from downtown, this short out-and-back track manages to feel remote.
There’s a good chance you won’t come into too many other people while exploring this area.
Even better, with forested surroundings, a few rocky climbs, and a little brook, this is one of Dallas’ most scenic hikes.
In the spring, keep a lookout for native birds and wildflowers, which are frequently covered in butterflies.
However, there are a few drawbacks. Road noise can be heard from the route, and the trailhead might be difficult to find, according to visitors.
After approximately a mile, there is a tiny route to your right that leads to a fantastic site for views. The Trinity River bridges can easily be seen from Downtown Dallas.
Dorba Trail Loop
Dorba Trail, a well-maintained and forested loop with magnificent views of Joe Pool Lake, takes you back to Cedar Hill State Park.
Despite its proximity to the city’s skyscrapers and shopping malls, Cedar Hill is one of many state parks near Dallas with some of the purest environments.
In fact, except for some native fauna like bunnies or herons, you’re unlikely to encounter many other people on your journey.
The route splits around 2.5 miles into the head down to the lake. Make a day of it by bringing a picnic to eat by the water. It’s also close to the Cedar Ridge Preserve!
Mountain cyclists frequent this location as well.
Elm Point Trail
Eisenhower State Park is rich in history and untamed landscapes, with some of the most scenic hiking in Dallas. It has everything from limestone cliffs to sandy beaches to ancient fossils.
One of the park’s most popular hikes is Elm Point Trail. It includes a stream crossing, rugged climbs, and breathtaking views of Lake Texoma from viewing points.
The circle provides a terrific exercise while also providing numerous opportunities to stop and relax. You can even bring a picnic lunch to eat while relaxing by the water.
Keep in mind that when it rains, this trail can get rather muddy, so check the weather forecast before you go.
Penitentiary Hollow Trail
You’ll have to travel a little further from Downtown to get a better look at the spectacular Central Texas vistas.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park, located 1.5 hours west of Dallas, is home to some of the most beautiful hiking routes in the area, including this rugged, lonely place.
Despite being a short out-and-back hike, Penitentiary Hollow has a lot of great stuff to see and do. Along the walk, you can gaze out over the lake, scramble up rocky slopes, and enter into little caves.
You can not only admire the amazing formations, but you can also try your hand at rock climbing!
North Shore Trail
Rockledge Park, on the banks of beautiful Lake Grapevine, is a short 30-minute drive from Flower Mound.
This trail, unlike many others in Dallas, is not flat. Mountain cyclists will love it because of the dramatic height changes and difficult terrain.
Hikers should keep a lookout for any approaching riders but otherwise can enjoy a challenging out-and-back hike with lake vistas, intriguing rock formations, and deep woodlands.
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Outer Loop
The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Outer Loop is a 15-minute drive from Downtown Dallas and offers plenty of twists, turns, and side trails.
Along this highly wooded path, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking are all terrific possibilities.
Keep a map handy because the miles of paths aren’t always well-marked, and many visitors have reported getting lost.
The various landscape keeps things interesting if you can remain on track, and there are enough hills to ensure you get your steps in.
Canyon Ridge Trail
Many people consider this path to be one of the greatest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
It has some decent ascents and descents that make for a tough workout.
Because the track is well-maintained and well-marked, even novice hikers will not get lost. Simply put on your boots and take in the lush trees and abundant wildlife.
On weekends and holidays, reservations are required, so visit during the week for easier access and fewer crowds.
Cattail Pond via Escarpment Trail
Wildlife, vast landscapes, and gently rising hills: what more could you ask for? Don’t say anything else! This moderately tough loop in Cedar Hill State Park (about 25 minutes from downtown) showcases a variety of Texas wildlife.
It features an excellent mix of open landscapes and shaded tree-lined parts, and it comes to a halt at Cattail Pond halfway through.
Your four-legged companions are welcome to join you on the hike as long as they are leashed.
However, with stunning scenery comes stunning crowds. Throughout the year, this location can become rather crowded.
Colleyville Nature Center Trail
The Colleyville Nature Center Route is a simple starter trail that is great for families and kids. Dogs must be on a leash.
When the wildflowers bloom in the spring, this walk is charming. The walk is mostly shaded.
There are a few ponds where you can see some of the local tiny fauna. Overall, a wonderful experience of the plain outdoors in a suburban setting, as well as a breathtaking hike in Fort Worth.
There are miles of trails and breathtaking views in the Dallas region that you won’t want to miss! There are miles of hiking trails ready to be discovered and explored from Fort Worth to Oklahoma and beyond.
The Dallas area has it all, whether it’s a gorgeous trail for a family stroll on the weekend or a thrilling biking route.
Pack your belongings and head outside!
Hiking Tips and Advice in Dallas
Dump your trash: People are increasingly leaving trash, dog poop, and other items on trails around the United States. Leave no sign of your presence.
Keep an eye out for wildlife: Some animals may feel threatened or frightened in the presence of humans. Wild animals should never be startled, disturbed, approached, or fed.
Acknowledge your limitations: We give trail information, such as distance and elevation gain so that you can plan ahead of time based on your physical condition. Wear sunscreen, insect repellant, and suitable clothing/hiking shoes at all times.
Keep the past out of your pockets: Assist in the preservation of America’s rich history. All artifacts should be left exactly where you find them, and their location should be reported to a ranger.
Determine your plans: Because certain paths are more difficult and located in remote areas, it’s always a good idea to let others know where you’ll be going.