We all have those friends — the ones who are the indoors-y types. Their idea of the great outdoors is a patio, some people-watching, and a bottle of rosé.
They’ll tell you to take a hike at the mere thought of hitting the trails.
But, lucky for you (and your hike-hating crew), Dallas wasn’t really designed for hardcore hikers. It’s mainly flat; there are no mountains and valleys to speak of; and “going hiking” is basically akin to a scenic stroll through nature.
That said, these pretty trails rank at the top of the easy scale and should convert even the toughest of crowds — even if you have to ply them with the promise of mimosa afterward. Plus, most of the trails can be as short and sweet as you want them to be, leaving plenty of time to make it to brunch.
Cedar Mountain Preserve Trail // Dallas
Distance: 1.9 mi
Elevation Gain: 124 ft
Requiring little to no commitment, this hike at Cedar Ridge Preserve is easy breezy. This destination has a range of trails from which to choose — so you always have a new adventure.
North Shore Trail // Grapevine
Distance: 14.9 mi
Elevation Gain: 695 ft
One of the most popular hiking trails in North Texas, the trail runs for about 10 miles from Rockledge Park to Twin Coves Park on the north side of Lake Grapevine. What you will love most are the beautiful views from the lake’s cliffs and shores that will have you thinking you’re not in Texas anymore, much less the DFW metroplex. Trail heads are at Rockledge Park, Twin Coves Park, and Murrell Park. The shorter trails include the Meadowmere Park Trail, Oak Grove Trail, and the Gaylord Texan Trail.
Fossil Ridge Loop Trail // Cleburne
Distance: 3.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 324 ft
Although it’s a bit further from Dallas, the Cleburne State Park and its loop trail are worth the drive. The scenery is pretty spectacular, as the park surrounds Cedar Lake, and the hike feels a bit more real than just a walk in the park. There are uphill and downhill areas, and both smooth and rocky zones — kind of like life.
Big Cedar Trail // Dallas
Distance: 3.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 144 ft
Sightseeing is at a prime at this “wilderness” trail at Big Cedar Wilderness, which has lovely wildflowers along with cedar and hardwood forest. The entire network of trails is about 13 miles, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can summit the highest elevation in the city of Dallas at Prayer Mountain. It’s also known to be one of the most enchanting escarpment areas in North Texas.
Campion Trail // Irving
Distance: 11.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 141 ft
Well-kept and paved throughout, Campion is a champion trail for those looking for easy street. It’s a change of scenery with the added bonus of Trinity River views, and you can literally see greenery for miles.
Erwin Park Trail // McKinney
Distance: 7.8 mi
Elevation Gain: 475 ft
This one’s a walk in the park — literally and figuratively. Naturally wooded areas and wide open prairie-like spaces are what you’ll get as you wander the trail at this McKinney park.
Marine Creek Trail // Fort Worth
Distance: 5.8 mi
Elevation Gain: 413 ft
This tucked-away getaway surrounding Marine Creek Lake is kind of a hidden gem. It’s fully paved and features a picturesque boardwalk and numerous benches for taking a break while lake-gazing. Sure, it’s in Fort Worth, but convince your friends that you can hit up the scene at Sundance Square after the hike.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Outer Loop // Plano
Distance: 2.4 mi
Elevation Gain: 121 ft
Easy does it, at the suburban oasis that is Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. The 200-acre park and Blackland Prairie terrain feature both paved and unpaved hiking trails. But, the outer loop is pretty straightforward. Plus, it goes through a meadow and along a tributary of Indian Creek. You’re getting land and water — the best of both worlds. And, it’s probably the most nature you’ll see in the suburbs.
Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center West Loop Trail // Cedar Hill
Distance: 1.9 mi
Elevation Gain: 300 ft
This sanctuary of a place, set at the mouth of a forested canyon, preserves the natural habitat of more than 200 acres which you can see while taking a hike on the nearly two miles of trails. There’s some good elevation available, too, from canyon to hilltop with lots of varied habitats and regular bird sightings. On a clear day, the views out to Joe Pool Lake and even to AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys — in Arlington are unrivaled.
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve // Oak Cliff
Distance: 6.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 344 ft
This trail feels a bit more authentic (for the Dallas-area anyway) in that the pathways aren’t paved and it’s a well-wooded area with hills, valleys, prairies, river, birdlife, and small animals — basically, the whole shebang. The entire trail is one big loop within the 121 rolling acres of woodland and wildflower meadows at the preserve — there’s only one way in and out. So, just keep that in mind if you’re not up for a full six-mile expedition. This one’s a bit more advanced, too, as Dallas trails go.
Harry Moss Trail // Dallas
Distance: 1.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 39 ft
A river runs through it here on the Harry Moss Trail, making for even more refreshing scenery amidst the tree-scape. There are multiple different loops you can take, totaling about five-and-a-half miles. But, most are under two miles and pretty flat — albeit they are natural surface trails — so you can keep it short and sweet. There are beautiful photo opps close to the edge of Whtie Rock Creek.
Oak Point Nature Preserve Loop // Plano
Distance: 1.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 22 ft
The Redbud Way trail is an effortless jaunt through the Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve. The park is Plano’s largest one, and there’s a lovely lake amidst the prairie lands to keep you (and your naysaying friends) on a walk with a view. If you are feeling more ambitious, the Willow Springs and Bobcat Run Loop total just under five miles.
L.B. Houston Nature Trail // Dallas
Distance: 7.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 88 ft
There are about 11 different trail and loop options at L.B. Houston, located near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. One section of trail is adjacent to California Crossing Road, and the other is east of Wildwood Road. But, most are in the trees, so you can pretend you’re doing some sort of forest bathing in nature.
Trinity Forest Trails // Dallas
Distance: 4.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 82 ft
For a scenic experience of the Trinity River and the Trinity Forest, look no further than this pathway. Passing by small ponds, large majestic trees, and a bridge over the river, this spot offers a moment of quiet solitude only a few miles of downtown — although you will think you are worlds away. You can easily access the trail at the City of Dallas Eco Park facility on Simpson Stuart and on Great Trinity Forest Way. But, we’d recommend entering through Trinity River Audubon Center, which is a beautiful experience in and of itself.
Spring Creek Forest Trail // Garland
Distance: 1.1 mi
Elevation Gain: 52 ft
Who knew Garland had a great forest setting? The city does, indeed. At Spring Creek Park, that’s just what you’ll get with oak trees and other vegetation that’s pretty well-kept. There’s several trails to choose from, but all are well-marked and start from the main parking area. This destination is pretty harmless for the hike bashers.
Santa Fe Trail // Dallas
Distance: 4.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 95 ft
Connecting White Rock Lake to historic Deep Ellum and Fair Park, this quiet, paved trail and linear park traverse East Dallas’ cultural and natural landmarks. It gets its name from the former Santa Fe Railroad line, as the 12-foot pathway was paved over the tracks. The trail really combines both urban and natural sightseeing so well, as it winds around architecturally significant neighborhoods and entertainment districts.
White Rock Lake Trail // Dallas
Distance: 9.3 mi
Elevation Gain: 183 ft
One of the most iconic trails in Dallas, this one will give you sparkling views of the signature city lake. It’s a see and be seen trail that is paved with far and few encumbrances — save for those speedy biker brigades. Basically, it’s just a walk. Who cares.
Katy Trail // Dallas
Distance: 3.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 196 ft
A no-brainer for a hike hater, this urban trail is as easy as they come. It follows the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and this historic trail zone has become an icon for Dallasites. Plus, it cuts right through Victory Park, Uptown, and Knox-Henderson neighborhoods, offering easy hop-on, hop-off access to food and drink sustenance.
Piedmont Ridge Trail // Dallas
Distance: 1.3 mi
Elevation Gain: 104 ft
A great intro to the Trinity River Forest, this short stroll is just a few minutes from downtown Dallas yet still boasts amazing views of the trees. The Scyene Overlook point is a must.