Tyler State Park
Review: Tyler State park is well worth the drive! This park has many miles of trails in a piney forest. The scenery here is beautiful, and there are some nice elevation changes to get your heart pumping. Just a beautiful trail system, in a different kind of forest than you find in the Metroplex.
Distance: Approximately 13 miles of trails
Where is it?: Two hours east of Dallas along I-20
Facilities: This is a full fledged state park, with the standard amenities. Several restrooms are available here, as well as picnic areas and camping sites.
Suitable for: Hiking / Trail Running, Mountain Biking
Type of Trail: Dirt Trails
Shade: Very shady, the trails wind through a piney forest. The Lakeside trail does have sun exposure.
Where to Park: There are multiple spots to park here in Tyler State Park giving access to the trails
Official Site: Tyler State Park Official Site
Located about 100 miles east of Dallas, lies Tyler State Park. Here you will find around 13 miles of trails to explore under a thick canopy of piney woods. This is well worth the time commitment in driving here, it’s a beautiful park that offers variety that you won’t find in the local Metroplex area!
Once you enter the park, make sure to pay at the ranger station and pick up a trail map. The trails can be accessed at a few places around the lake. At the ranger station, you can pick up the Whispering Pines trail, a .67 mile moderate hike. This trail was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and is a beautiful view around a small waterfall, and meanders around a gently hilly section of the park. You are never too far from the parking lot or the roads on this trail, but it’s a very pretty walk in the woods that you should hit, whether on your way in or your way out.
The main trails at Tyler State Park are the A through D loops, which are used by mountain bikers as well as foot traffic. In general, it’s a good idea if you are on foot to go against the trail traffic, so you see bikers coming towards you. If you go with the traffic, keep your ears peeled so you can step off as they come up behind you.
These trails take you through towering pine trees, with hilly areas and switchbacks. You’ll find more elevation changes here than you do in the North Texas area, so expect more of a workout if you are biking the trails. The forests here don’t feel as over-crowded as many of the trails in the metroplex, these is less clutter in the underbrush, giving the trails a more open feeling like you may find in Tahoe or other more alpine trails. It’s a very different feel here, versus ‘just another’ trail in the woods. Depending on how far you want to go, you can customize your path by the number of loops you want to tackle. Going the entire way around and back would make for a great workout!
The Lakeside trail is a bit more exposed to the sun, and brings you out of the forest and closer to the lake. This is an easy trail, as it follows the contour of the lake and is relatively flat compared to the forested paths. The trail passes alongside several places to get nice lake views, including a wooden deck where you can cast a line, or just take in the beauty.
All in all, this state park is well worth a visit from the Metroplex area! It offers some variety from the standard trails you find here, but also provides some challenges with it’s hillier terrain. Tyler State Park offers a lot of beauty and variety, and don’t let its distance put you off from visiting it!
Where to go for a beer: No clear recommendation here, as when we visited Tyler State Park, we had to get back to Dallas. Yelp may be your friend, although there were several good Mexican places in the area.