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According to [NTX Trails](https://ntxtrails.com/mtb-trails/northwest/cross-timbers-trail/), Cross Timbers is "largely considered one of the most difficult trails in all North Texas," if not the entire region.
While popular with mountain bikers, the trail is far more suited for trail running and hiking due to its ruggedness.
In fact, the annual [Cross Timbers Trail Run](https://www.facebook.com/CrossTimbersTrailRun/) traverses the entire trail, offering distances between 5-miles and 50k.
Should you run the exact loop mapped here, you'll end up just shy of a half-marathon, or you can double it for a full. Maintained entirely by volunteers, this out-and-back route offers an epic run tour lined with rocks, roots, and punchy climbs, plus a few extra miles if you choose to run the Lost Loop.
You'll enjoy stunning lakeside views, remote singletrack, and a feeling as if you're in the middle of a true wilderness area, a rarity given your proximity to DFW.
After your first run here, you'll undoubtedly come back for more. Blazed with white dots, often mason jar lids, the trail occasionally splits into separate lines for hiking and biking.
While bikes follow the red arrows, runners and hikers will want to follow the green arrows whenever possible.
They will always merge back together shortly after.
The option to run the Lost Loop is also a nice addition to the main line, but remember to bring plenty of water since you do get quite far out there and there is nowhere to refill.
From its northernmost point, you may even enjoy some partial views of the lake if you know where to look. The most common way to begin the trail is to access it from Cedar Bayou, its eastern trailhead.
Parking on the western end at Paw Paw Creek Resort is less common due to the drive, but it may make sense for some and requires a parking fee.
Water and restrooms are available at both, but not immediately at the trailhead. While not mapped here, those looking for extra miles can link Cedar Bayou northeast to Juniper Point, the trail's true eastern terminus.
The trail traverses an endless selection of rocks and roots for what [NTX Trails](https://ntxtrails.com/mtb-trails/northwest/cross-timbers-trail/) describes as "harrowingly gnarly descents" when attempted on bike. As for the trail's history, Cross Timbers notes a divide in eastern forest and southern plains, as well as a separation between the previous Native American settlers, [this source notes](https://www.laketexoma.com/news--outdoors--Cross-Timbers-Hiking-Trail-at-Lake-Texoma/7206).
While increasingly rare, ancient trees can still be found in places, including a 500+-year-old red cedar and 400+-year-old post oak north towards Tulsa.
These giants serve as a reminder of an important stage in our pioneering history and westward migration. Sources: https://ntxtrails.com/mtb-trails/northwest/cross-timbers-trail/ https://www.laketexoma.com/news--outdoors--Cross-Timbers-Hiking-Trail-at-Lake-Texoma/7206