The Dirty Dozen: Best MTB Trails Near Dallas, Texas

Grab your bike and tackle one of these 12 classic mountain biking trails near Dallas, Texas.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Description

There are only a few major metropolitan areas in the country that host as much singletrack as Dallas. With dozens of trail networks scattered throughout North Texas, it’s almost impossible to know where to start. You can enjoy wide-open meadows and flowing singletrack on a hardtail or singlespeed, or grab your full suspension bike and tackle advanced lines on trails like Rowlett Creek, Cross Timbers, Boulder, or Isle du Bois. With most trails following a stacked loop format, it’s easy to cater a ride to what you’re into and how much time you have. There's something for everyone's ability, no matter which trail you end up at. So, grab your bike, helmet, and pack, and make your way to one of these top 12 trail rides around DFW.

If you’re not sure where to start on this list, then set your sights on rides like Rowlett Creek Preserve, Arbor Hills, Erwin Park or the iconic Northshore Trail on Lake Grapevine. Step into any bike shop in town and ask about the best rides in the area, and you’re guaranteed to hear at least one of these make the list. Geographically, these four rides are spread across the northern and eastern suburbs, meaning you’re never too far from one of the trails if you live or work along the George Bush Turnpike. With each trail hosting multiple loops, optional cut-offs, and even a skills area at Erwin, it’s easy to enjoy a ride of your choosing – in both difficulty and length.

When the weekend or holiday rolls around and you’re ready to venture a little further from home, consider riding the technical and rocky Cross Timbers Trail along Lake Texoma. Or, make your way southwest to Dinosaur Valley State Park, where you can enjoy remote singletrack, limestone ledges, abundant views, and rowdy, stair-like descents. After your ride, take a short hike down the Paluxy River Trail and explore the many dinosaur tracks that can be seen in the riverbed. While the ride is located further from downtown Dallas than any other ride to make this list, some would argue that it’s one of the best day trips for mountain bikers to explore outside of town. It’s also well-worth the detour if you find yourself on a road trip and are looking for somewhere to stretch your legs.

Setting your sights on southern Dallas? Then make sure to plan a trip to Boulder Park or Cedar Hill State Park. Boulder hosts an incredibly diverse and lengthy trail system tucked into a rather small green space, but the mix of flow and chunder pairs well with optional technical lines. It’s been a long-time classic amongst locals, and one of the top rides south of town. Down the road, Cedar Hill State Park is an easy-to-intermediate ride that offers some of the most stunning spring and summer wildflowers you will find in the region. Bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, are particularly beautiful in the spring should you plan a ride around their bloom. The state park also hosts a campground, picnic area, and lake access, making it a popular summer destination for locals and travelers alike.

Rounding out the list are other classics like Knob Hills, Isle du Bois State Park and the adjoining RRL Greenbelt. According to this source, the greenbelt "is a great trail to introduce someone new to off-road trails who may not be ready for any elevation, singletrack, or anything even slightly technical." That said, it’s often paired with a visit to Isle du Bois (IDB), which may just be the rockiest trails in all of north Texas. After an easy warm-up from the trailhead, 5 stacked loops offer slow technical rock gardens, plenty of roots, and even a long sand pit that most first-time visitors will have to walk their bike through.

As with most trails in North Texas, DORBA (Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association) maintains and manages each trail and may opt to close an area following rain or flooding. Many of the classic rides are situated along lakes, rivers, and creeks, while others require water crossings that can be dangerous until the water subsides. Should you find a trail marked as closed when you arrive, please be respectful of the decision and mindful that the trail will re-open once singletrack has time to dry out.

Routes included

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