Scenic Trails in Dallas
The constant din and clatter of the city may put one’s nerves on edge, and that can certainly be true of the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
But Dallas residents — as well as visitors to the city — can find an easy respite in the trails that run right through the city itself. In the area of the Trinity River that runs through North Dallas, there are a number of easy trails that can provide a refreshing start or end to the day as well as a needed break from life’s busy bustle.
Established in 1865, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad — the first railroad to enter Texas from the north — soon came to be called “the Katy,” after its stock exchange symbol “K-T.” Today, the Katy Trail is a walking, jogging, inline skating, and bicycle path that follows the path of the old railroad through Dallas.
The trail is a 3.5-mile concrete path that runs from the American Airlines Center to Mockingbird Station. Next to the concrete trail is a path for runners made of recycled rubber. Katy Trail has become a major recreational amenity in the city and is directly responsible for a rise in property values in adjacent areas.
The trail is open from 5 a.m. to midnight each day and is lit before sunup and after sundown. Water fountains and benches can be found along the route, pets are welcome, bike rentals are available, and there is easy access to nearby restaurants.
Turtle Creek Trail
Part of the City of Dallas trails system, Turtle Creek Trail is a leisurely concrete path that runs for about 2 miles. It is more or less parallel to the southern part of the Katy Trail, although the two do not directly intersect. Turtle Creek Trail is popular with walkers, joggers, bikers, inline skaters, and birdwatchers. Dogs are permitted but must be on a leash.
Santa Fe Trail
At just over 4 miles, the Santa Fe Trail connects multiple parks, neighborhoods, and apartment communities throughout lower east Dallas. The 12-foot-wide concrete pathway runs along the old Santa Fe railroad corridor, beginning at Winsted Drive at the southern end of White Rock Lake and continuing to Shill Avenue. It connects to the White Rock Lake Loop Trail and the Union Pacific Trail.
White Rock Lake Loop Trail
As its name suggests, this trail runs around the entire perimeter of Wxhite Rock Lake. The 9.4-mile trail itself is asphalt and is popular with walkers, joggers, bikers, and inline skaters. Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash. Not only is this one of the most scenic trails in Dallas, it connects with the White Rock Creek, Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and Katy Spur trails for those looking for a longer workout.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Just a few miles east of Turtle Creek, on the southern shore of White Rock Lake, is the spectacular 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Considered one of the top arboretums on the planet, the world-famous displays and 19 named gardens attract people from all 50 states and from around the world.
Gardens and fountains combine with picturesque views of the lake and the Dallas skyline to make the arboretum one of the best attractions in Dallas. Outdoor concerts, festivals, art shows, educational programs, and tours are held throughout the year. The arboretum is open all year, and admission is $15, with discounts available for children and seniors.