Guidebook

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.

Brendon Voelker

Description

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.

Rowlett Creek South Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Rowlett Creek South Loop

9.5 km
33 m
33 m
A classic trail run in eastern Dallas County that parallels Rowlett Creek.
Moderate
Private
Cross Timbers
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Cross Timbers

20.8 km
490 m
490 m
A remote, technical, and wild trail on the southern edge of Lake Texoma.
Difficult
Private
Dinosaur Valley State Park
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

15.6 km
312 m
312 m
A stunning and technical trail run with epic views, beautiful flora, and dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River.
Difficult
Private
Knob Hills
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Knob Hills

19.4 km
123 m
123 m
An impressively long trail system hugging the northern shores of Lake Grapevine.
Moderate
Private
Arbor Hills: Outer Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Arbor Hills: Outer Loop

5.1 km
60 m
60 m
A local favorite to enjoy a scenic and relaxing trail run in west Plano.
Moderate
Private
Oak Point Nature Preserve
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Oak Point Nature Preserve

5.5 km
31 m
31 m
Plano's largest park and a go-to spot for locals to enjoy a trail run in town.
Moderate
Private
Cedar Ridge Preserve
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

8.8 km
236 m
236 m
A classic trail run southwest of downtown Dallas with wildflowers, technical singletrack, and great views.
Moderate
Private
Isle Du Bois: Loops A, B & C
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Isle Du Bois: Loops A, B & C

7.0 km
114 m
114 m
A rocky and wild trail run along Lake Ray Roberts, and the home of a former ultra trail race.
Moderate
Private
Northshore Half-ish Marathon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Northshore Half-ish Marathon

20.5 km
212 m
212 m
A long run touring the core of Lake Grapevine's iconic Northshore Trail.
Moderate
Private
Tyler State Park: Loops A - D
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Tyler State Park: Loops A - D

13.6 km
307 m
307 m
A popular state park to run and mountain bike with reach of a day trip from Dallas.
Moderate
Private
Northeast Texas Trail: Farmersville to Merit
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Northeast Texas Trail: Farmersville to Merit

18.2 km
68 m
68 m
The first and westernmost section of a mixed surface rail trail that's perfect for running.
Easy
Private
Trinity Trail: Highland Park to Sycamore Loop
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Trinity Trail: Highland Park to Sycamore Loop

13.2 km
84 m
84 m
The northernmost section of Trinity Trail, a 25+ mile foot-traffic and equestrian trail that follows alongside Lake Lavon.
Moderate
Private