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Hiking Near Dallas: 6 Great Walking Paths

Hiking near Dallas
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / 12019

Although the city is extremely flat, there are lots of beautiful hiking trails near Dallas. In fact, intense elevation gains and rugged terrain are only half an hour outside the city.

Going out and hiking in nature is beneficial for your physical, mental, and emotional health. While there are plenty other forms of exercise, there’s something unique about hiking. It requires you to navigate uneven terrain, overcome obstacles, and be on the lookout for wildlife.

Having a change of scenery and getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city allows you to break out of your routine and open yourself up to new opportunities. Let’s take a look at six places to go hiking near Dallas.

1. White Rock Lake Loop

Enjoy this easy lakeside hiking trail near Dallas.
Enjoy this easy lakeside hiking trail near Dallas. (Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Perry Merrity II )

Only fifteen minutes from Dallas is the popular White Rock Lake Trail. This paved trail is perfect for all skill levels and abilities. It’s relatively flat, making it wheelchair accessible. You’ll find the area is great for biking and jogging as well. The walk offers the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, as well as dog runs, picnic areas, and bird-watching zones. While the loop is nine miles in total, you can hop in and out wherever you want along the lake.

How to Get There: Try taking bus 214 toward South Garland and starting the trail on the southeast side of the lake.

2. Boulder Park Trail

The Boulder Park Trail is great if you’re looking for hiking near Dallas, as it’s relatively close to the city. This four mile stretch is meant for moderate to advanced hikers, due to its sharp turns and 250 feet of elevation gain. Boulder Park is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and running. Stay alert on the trail to avoid any accidents with bikers.

How to Get There: Go south on the Blue Line from Central Dallas and transfer at Camp Wisdom Station. From there, take bus 108 toward Westermoreland, and get off at Camp Wisdom at Paster Bailey. It’s less than a ten minute walk to the trailhead.

3. Dorba Trail Loop

Cedar Hill State Park is named for its Cedar trees.
Cedar Hill State Park is named for its Cedar trees. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / i_take_phone_pictures)

If you’re looking for some moderately difficult hiking near Dallas, Dorba Trail Loop fits the bill. This hike spans 7 miles and has an elevation gain of 360 feet. Dorba Trail is nestled in the beautiful Cedar Hill State Park, making it an ideal quick escape to nature. While it’s relatively close to the city, the trail is rarely packed. Dorba Trail covers forested areas and stretches along Joe Pool Lake. Only 2.5 miles in, the trail splits off toward the water. For a shorter hike, feel free to walk down to the lake and back instead of covering the entire loop.

How to Get There: Drive to the Cedar Hill State Park Dorba Trail parking lot, and start your hike from there.

4. Escarpment Trail

Less than thirty minutes from the city is the Escarpment Trail within Cedar Hill State Park. With only 200 feet elevation gain, this relatively easy trail covers 2.5 miles of open landscapes, forested areas and parts of Cattail Pond. It’s a beautiful trail for all skill levels and abilities, making it suitable for families hiking near Dallas as well. Because Escarpment Trail is at the northern end of the park, it’s accessible by public transport.

How to Get There: Take the Red Line south toward Westmoreland Station and transfer to Bus 223 in the direction of Clark Rd. Get off at County View at Mountain Creek. The trailhead is just over ten minutes walking from the bus stop.

5. North Shore Trail

Check out North Shore Trail for a more intense hike near Dallas.
Check out North Shore Trail for a more intense hike near Dallas. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / SplitShire)

Only thirty minutes from famously flat city of Dallas is this dramatic, intense hike with 850 feet of elevation gain. The North Shore Trail is 18 miles of rugged terrain, making it ideal for advanced hikers and mountain bikers. Take on North Shore Trail for the dense forest, rock formations, and gorgeous views of Lake Grapevine.

How to Get There: Drive to the northern end of Rockledge Park and the trail starts right from the parking lot.

6. Elm Point Trail

Inside Eisenhower State Park is the 6.5 mile long Elm Point Trail. This trail more difficult, recommended for advanced hikers only. It includes almost 600 feet of elevation gain and covers 6.5 miles. The trail includes rocky areas, stream crossings, sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, and lookout points showcasing Lake Texoma. While this hiking trail is near Dallas, it’s still about an hour outside the city – but it’s well worth the trip.

How to Get There: Grab a couple friends and drive to the southeast entrance of Eisenhower State Park, and follow signs for Elm Point Trail.

Responsible Hiking Tips

When hiking near Dallas, make sure you do so responsibly.
When hiking near Dallas, make sure you do so responsibly. (Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Jake Melara )

Now that you’re ready to hit the trails, remember to be an eco-friendly and responsible hiker by following our tips:

  1. Take public transport or carpool in order to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. When possible, we always recommend public transport. Not only is it better for the environment, but it lets you enjoy the sights and relax without the stress of driving.
  2. Respect wildlife. Make sure to respect the natural environment by leaving the wildlife alone. No matter how cute they are, you should never feed or approach wild animals – this is both for your safety and theirs.
  3. Pack out what you pack in. This goes hand-in-hand with respecting the environment. Any trash you produce while hiking must be packed up and properly disposed of. This includes apple cores, banana peels, plastic wrappers, sanitary products, and more. It’s best to take a small trash bag with you when hiking as you may be carrying your trash around for several hours.
  4. Pack lots of food and water. One liter of water for every two hours of hiking is a rough guideline. In case of emergency, you can never have too much food or water. When in doubt, pack more. You can prepare the night before by making some homemade energy bars or vegan banana bread. 
  5. Dress properly for the conditions. Make sure you are wearing suitable hiking shoes and multiple layers of clothing to stay warm for longer periods.
  6. Tell a loved one where you are going. Always tell somebody which trail you will be on. In case you get hurt or lost, somebody should know where to look for you.

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