17 Scenic Hikes In & Near Dallas and Fort Worth For All Levels
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The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is not traditionally known for being a hiker’s city. Believe it or not, the metroplex has beautiful, forested hiking trails and parks for locals to explore! Some spots for hiking in Dallas and Fort Worth are even hidden within plain sight in the middle of the cities and suburbs. We’ve reached out to local DFW natives and compiled a detailed list of some of the best hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth!

Know before you go: Because Dallas and Fort Worth tend to be warm and sunny throughout the year, it’s important to bring the right hiking gear when you head outside. For Texas, this includes breathable hiking clothes, solid hiking boots or sandals (like Chacos), a wide brimmed hat, and lots of sunscreen and bug repellent.

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

Best Hikes In & Near Dallas and Fort Worth

Spring Creek Forest Preserve Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.1 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take President George Bush Turnpike and exit on North Garland Ave going west. The park is about half a mile down the road.

A small park located within the suburbs outside of Dallas, Spring Creek Forest offers some seclusion from the busy surrounding area. Find yourself inside a quiet overgrown forest. This trail is great for all skill levels. It features some paved portions and some unpaved paths. Take your dog with you as the park is dog-friendly! For a quick taste of hiking near Dallas, head to this park first.

Katy Trail

  • Trail Distance: 7.5 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Start on Houston Street in Uptown Dallas and end at Airline Road in Highland Park.

An easy but long trail that takes you through several parts of Dallas. This is one of the most popular and well known hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth. Many locals call it the hidden treasure of Dallas. This trail usually has a good crowd and you can find many joggers and dog-walkers enjoying the trail during the evenings and on weekends. Highlights of the trail include wildflowers during the spring and several bars and icehouses near the American Airlines Center.

Photo credit: Adam (Flickr CC)

Cedar Ridge Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 2 to 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • How to Get There: I-20 to Farm-to-Market rd 1382 near Duncanville.

The preserve is a park located in Dallas that spans over 600 acres. It is adjacent to Cedar Hill State Park but boasts the better hiking trails of the two. There are 12 trails spanning in length from 2 miles to 5.4 miles. Cedar Brake Trail is the most popular. It is a 2.2 mile loop that features various elevation changes and offers beautiful scenic views of Dallas.

Local’s tip: The nature center is closed on Mondays but try to plan your trip during the middle of the week to avoid the crowds

Colleyville Nature Center Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 miles loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take Colleyville Blvd NE from Precinct Line Rd and turn left onto Mill Valley Dr.

An easy beginner trail that is excellent for kids and families. Dogs are allowed on leashes. This trail is especially beautiful in the springtime when the wildflowers bloom. Most of the trail is shaded. There are several ponds that allow you to see some local small wildlife. Overall a great taste of the simple outdoors in a suburban setting, and a spectacular hike in Fort Worth.

North Shore Trail

  • Trail Distance: 18 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take TX 121 to Grapevine Mills pkwy going SW. Turn onto Fairway Dr and the southern trailhead is on the left just after you pass the golf course on the right.

Looking for longer trails to go hiking near Dallas and Fort Worth? Look no further than Grapevine lake. This trail offers gorgeous views of the lake that will make you forget you are in the metroplex. Mountain bikers frequently share the trail. The best times to hike are early spring and fall since there is not much shade on some parts of the trail and the mosquitos can get annoying.

Local’s tip: End at the southern trailhead near sunset and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sunset over a rocky shoreline.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Outer Loop

  • Trail Distance: 2.4 miles loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take the Dallas North Tollway near Hebron and then head west on W Parker Rd until the preserve entrance.

A great escape from the city, the Arbor Hills nature preserve has a few trails that feature natural wildlife and wildflowers. Follow the outer loop trail to see all the different parts of the park including creeks, plains, and a forest. This trail is moderately trafficked, especially on the weekend with lots of families.

Photo credit: Bernie Emmons (Flickr CC)

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: I-20 to Farm-to-Market rd 1382 near Duncanville.

While you are checking out the Cedar Ridge Nature Center, don’t forget to stop by the adjacent Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center. There is a short loop trail that features Texas wildflowers in the spring. This is a family friend hiking trail near Dallas that has lots of benches for sitting down and enjoying the trees.

Local’s tip: The center is closed Sundays and Mondays. On Saturdays, leashed dogs are allowed.

Trinity River Audubon Center

  • Trail Distance: 2.5 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: From Dallas, take I-45 S and then head east on E Ledbetter Dr. Turn South onto S Longacre Ln.

Bird watchers rejoice! The Trinity River Audubon Center is a nature preserve dedicated to the natural bird wildlife of the area. The park itself was recently constructed over an illegal dumping ground and converted into wetlands. The trail lets you see the wetlands, the Trinity River, and several forest paths. There is a mix of paved trails, dirt paths, and platform trails here. For a unique experience hiking near Dallas, stop by the Audubon center near sunset.

Photo credit: Robert Nunnally (Flickr CC)

Texas Buckeye Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take I-45 S from Dallas and exit onto TX 175 going E. Exit onto Municipal St and then turn left onto Bexar St. The trailhead will be at the end of the road.

The Texas Buckeye Trail is named after the “Buckeye” trees located along the Trinity River. There is a paved trail but some parts of the hike will lead you through an overgrown path. This is a great trek to see local wildlife and to bird watch.

Scyene Overlook/Piedmont Ridge

  • Trail Distance: 1.3 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-30 E from Dallas and exit south onto N Jim Miller Rd. Continue until you see the golf course on your right. The trailhead is on the other side of the road.

Park at the golf club across the street and with a good pair of headphones or on a quiet day, you’ll forget you were in the city. This trail features a heavily wooded path with a small uphill ascent. It is sparsely crowded and is easily accessible off a busy street. This is a well kept secret for those hiking in Dallas.

Oak Point

  • Trail Distance: 6 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take Present George Bush Turnpike to Central Expressway Northbound. Exit onto East Spring Creek Pkwy and the trailhead will be on the left.

Take a stroll in a peaceful park located in a suburb of Plano. This trial will take you on an easy, paved loop around a lake. At the end of the loop, you’ll pass by the equestrian area. This is a dog friendly park and there are plenty of activities besides hiking. The park boasts biking trails and zip-lining.

Photo credit: Robert Nunnally (Flickr CC)

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 6.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Head south on I-35E and exit west onto W Illinois Ave. Turn left onto Pierce St to get to the trailhead.

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve has some truly incredible natural scenery. Despite its location in Dallas, you’ll feel as if you are walking through a magical forest. The tress are covered with Spanish moss, and depending on the weather, you can see some truly amazing colors while hiking. The trail takes a lot of twists and turns and can sometimes be confusing. Our recommendation is to allow yourself to get lost as some of the prettier parks are within the woods. The Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association has a good map of the winding trail listed on their website.

Sansom Blue Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-820 up to Lake Worth and exit onto Jacksboro Highway heading southeast. Turn right onto Roberts Cut Off Rd.

Take a hike near Lake Worth on a beautiful patch of rocks and boulders. Only a short distance from Fort Worth, this hike is one to remember. This trail is not well marked so prepare to do a bit of exploring on your own. We recommend hiking with some trekking poles and going during the day. Unfortunately this park is not very well maintained and previous hikers have complained of some trash at the start of the trail. Please be mindful of this and carry out any trash you may have.

Post Oak Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take TX-175 southbound and exit onto Bowers Rd. Continue about about half a mile down the road until the trailhead.

This secluded trail on the outskirts of Dallas features a gorgeous small lake surround by overgrown foliage. The Post Oak Preserve trail is better hiked in the wintertime during the drier months. You’ll get a sense of being in a fairytale from the spooky looking trees and the constant chattering of birds.

Local’s tip: Bring bug spray during the warmer months and be mindful of snakes and coyotes in this area.

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area

  • Trail Distance: 2.2 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take I-35E up to Lewisville and exit east onto Jones St. From there head into the environmental learning area and the trailhead is over the creek.

The Lewisville Environmental area features a raised platform hiking trail through the wetlands that take you through some beautiful scenery. Highlights of the trail include bountiful lily pads, red algae, and a cute gazebo on the water. We recommend bringing hiking boots as your feet may get wet!

Photo credit: Aaron Jacobs (Flickr CC)

Spring Creek Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 4.5 miles total (varies based on path)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: From PGBT, exit onto Waterview Pkwy towards UT Dallas and turn left onto W Renner Rd. The trailhead is just after crossing Central Exwy.

It’s easy to forget how close you are to the freeway when you’re in the nature center. A heavily wooded area just outside the University of Texas at Dallas, this hiking trail offers a distraction from the bustle of a busy lifestyle. Expect to see plenty of dogs on this trail. There’s a mix of paved and gravel paths here, as well as a crossing over a small creek.

Fossil Ridge Loop Trail (Cleburne)

  • Trail Distance: 4.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-35W southbound to US-67 W until it turns into County Rd 1116. Follow this road and stay right onto County Rd 1225 and then head west on TX-21. Turn right a couple of miles down the road onto Park Road 21 to get to the park.

If you are looking to get completely out of Dallas and Fort Worth, head over to Cleburne. This trek features a gorgeous empty lake surrounded by quiet dirt paths. Head up a few steep paths along the Coyote trail to get some stunning views of over a small waterfall.

Additional Resources for Hiking Near Dallas and Fort Worth

What to Bring

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links & Resources for Hikes Near Dallas & Fort Worth

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Kay Rodriguez is the Chicago-based travel writer and photographer behind Jetfarer and Skyline Adventurer. When she's not blogging furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, or paddling in a new city.

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