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A Dozen Classic Trail Runs near Dallas, Texas

Lace up your trail shoes, grab a water bottle, and explore one of these top 12 top trail runs near Dallas, Texas.

Trail Running Easy, Moderate, Difficult

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While road running is a popular activity in Dallas, hitting the trails is an often-overlooked option amongst locals. Yet, 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 groomed, fast singletrack in town, or venture further out for a day trip to trails like Cross Timbers, Tyler SP, or Dinosaur Valley SP. With a little bit to offer for everyone, including a rails-to-trails passage through northeast Texas, Dallas is a hub for both trail and road running, no matter your ability or what you’re into. So pack your vest, grab your trail shoes, and enjoy one of a dozen trails to get your shoes a little dirty on a trail run in North Texas.

Topping the list are urban classic such as Arbor Hills, Oak Point, and Cedar Ridge. Unique to the other trails to make this list, each of these runs is only open to foot traffic, meaning you won’t have to worry about encountering mountain bikers or horses. While Arbor Hills and Oak Point offer easy 5k trail runs for residents and visitors of Plano, Cedar Ridge is the centerpiece trail system of southwest Dallas. All three runs offer nice views, forested trails, summer wildflowers, and possibly even wildlife sightings.

If you’re looking for something a little more technical and with more miles, then check out Northshore, Knob Hills, Rowlett Creek, or the rocky Isle Du Bois State Park. Each of these trails is part of the DORBA (Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association) system, though they are all popular amongst mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners alike. Each offers a stacked loop format and many more miles than what’s mapped for each route, and all are situated along a creek or lake. With Northshore offering over 20 miles, Rowlett Creek offering 13+, and Isle Du Bois offering some of the rockiest and rugged trails in the region, all offer great options for short or long runs based on what you’re need that particular day.

Within reach of a day trip from town, Dinosaur Valley, Cross Timbers, and Tyler State Park all offer plenty of miles and diverse terrain just outside the metro area. Dinosaur Valley offers the opportunity to explore ancient dinosaur tracks along the edge of the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, as well as plenty of views from the scenic hill country. Cross Timbers is the site of an annual half and full-marathon trail race and is often described by mountain bikers as one of the most rugged and remote trails to ride in North Texas. Tyler State Park is also the former site of an ultramarathon and offers several amenities, including campsites, showers, swimming, fishing, and family-friendly trails.

While nearly every trail on this list is prone to closures due to wet weather or flooding, one exception to make the list is the Northeast Texas Trail, known locally as the NETT. Part of a 130-mile rails-to-trails project, this section of the trail is half paved and half compacted gravel. Once complete, the trail will be the longest hike, bike, and equestrian trail in Texas, as well as the 4th longest in the United States. The first 5 miles offer an easy introduction to the trail, though the further you head northeast, the more rural and rugged the trail becomes. It’s a great place to plan a point-to-point long run, and a great option when other popular trail systems need time to dry.

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