Review: Eagle Mountain Park is a gem of a trail system north of Fort Worth, that is well worth your time! Some nice views of the lake, and some nice elevation changes to keep things interesting. There is a lot to see and do here for all skill levels. Several ‘bandit’ trails wind through the park, increasing mileage if you want to explore down those paths. I will certainly be back to visit this system again!
Distance: Officially about 5 miles, but since you’ll be looping back, you can get much more mileage. There are also bandit trails not on the official map, that add more distance.
Area of Town: Northwest of Fort Worth on the eastern side of Eagle Mountain Lake
Facilities: There are bathroom facilities at the trail head by the parking lot, and others within the park itself.
Suitable for: Hiking, Trail Running (bikes not allowed)
Type of Trail: From the trail head it’s a fairly wide trail with gravel, almost like a country road. As you move further into the park it becomes dirt trails, some fairly wide, others more narrow, especially on the ‘bandit’ trails
Shade: Alot of the trails are exposed to the sun, but there are shady areas, especially as you get closer to the lake.
Where to Park: There is a parking lot at the entrance to the park. I went on a weekday, so not sure how busy it can get on the weekends.
Official Site: Eagle Mountain Lake Park – Official Site
This is certainly a case of me missing out on something special, due to assumptions and lack of information. I’d known of this park for years, but based on the trail map, and the low mileage of trails, I’d never taken the time to drive out and explore the park. There was also not a lot written about this park that I could find online, so I wasn’t sure if it was worth the time and effort do drive out to visit. It certainly is worth a visit!
Eagle Mountain Park is located Northwest of Fort Work, nestled along the eastern edge of the lake. It took me about an hour to get out to the park from Dallas, and it was worth the drive.
The park is laid out with two main ‘wings’ to it. Below is the trail map for the system.
Once you arrive at the parking lot, there is a pavilion ahead, and just past that is a kiosk where you can review a map of the property. You’ll take a wide gravel path to the left, which is how you enter the park. My first thoughts here was that the entire trail would be like this wide gravel path, and I was very wrong. You can walk to a platform here (Overlook Trail), which will give you a high level view of the lake. I’d recmmend stopping here first, before descending onto the trails.
For my visit, I went down the Northwest Trail, and down to the Ridge Loop Trail. This is where things got more interesting! The trail stopped being so ‘manicured’ and was now more of a wider dirt path, and began a nice descent down towards the lake. As it wound around, there were several smaller trails, not on the map, many of which took me down into the woods. I explored quite a few of those, so doing this side of the system gave me alot more distance than the trail map led me to believe.
The trail took me to a little rest area, where there was a port-a-potty, a picnic area to sit, and some old equipment that made for a nice photo op. Following further, you wind down to the lake’s edge, where if you go to the left, there is an overlook on the water. If you go to the right, you’ll find yourself on the Ridge Loop.
Continuing on, you’ll find the Ridge Loop Trail. This is where I got really impressed with Eagle Lake Park. On the map above, it just looks like a standard loop trail through a forest, but actually you are seeing the lake from two vantage points: At the edge of the lake, and on an overlook on top of the ridge. There is a nice bit of elevation here, to get your heart pumping, and some beautiful views. I came here in March, so many of the trees were still bare, I’m curious to see what the view is like once all the green has returned. You can go to the left on the trail to explore the water’s edge, or go to the right to climb to the ridge. Either route you take, you’ll see both views.
Once you’ve returned to the top of the hill, you can then either leave the park, you’re near the parking lot at this point, or head down the other section of the trail, via the Main Park Trail. This trail will look more manicured for a bit, a bit like a country road, but as you continue down it, you’ll get back to natural surface paths. In fact, this side of the park on the Main Trail and Shoreline trail are a bit more difficult. Not hard, although there are a few spots you’ll want to watch your step. The Main Trail winds around a bit as you head towards the lake, and will eventually connect to the Shoreline trail, where you can go down to the water’s edge, or you can continue along the ridge via the South Overlook Trail, which gives you a higher view of the lake from higher ground. Whichever route you take, you’ll be able to come back via the other, as it’s one big loop. There are several spots along the trail to stop and take in the sights, of which there are many.
I’ve also generally encountered deer along this side of the trail. Once quite a few dashed across the trail just in front of me, maybe 5 or 6? Another time while on the shoreline trail, i saw a doe further into the woods eating, and then watching me as I watched her. Last time I went, I ran into a deer that had no fear of me, and was cheerfully eating breakfast, and didn’t mind me getting close to it for a picture. So keep an eye out, the woods by Eagle Mountain Lake are full of wildlife!
Overall, this is definitely a case of me pre-judging a trail before visiting. From the map, i had envisioned a park with low mileage trails that was some distance from where i lived. That was far from the case, Eagle Mountain Park has a lot to offer, places to explore, and views to take in. Now that i’ve been, I’m looking forward to exploring more of it!
Where to go for a beer: I didn’t see anyplace in the area near Eagle Mountain Park. There may be some places nearby, but it seemed very residential.