North Shore – Lake Grapevine
Review: The North Shore trail at Lake Grapevine is one of the most popular mountain bike trails in North Texas, if not THE most popular. This beautiful trail along the banks of Lake Grapevine has something for everyone, and not just mountain bikers. You’ll find beautiful views, lots of elevation changes and switchbacks, and a higher level of difficulty than you find elsewhere. The east side is do’able for most skill levels, while the west side is more advanced. I’ve heard this is the most used trail in the Metroplex, for good reason! Make sure you check it out! (Note: trail is maintained by DORBA)
Distance: 22.5 miles of single-track trail. Go as far as you want in either direction, there are multiple opportunities to turn back on the trail, once you’ve had your fill.
Area of Town: Between Dallas and Fort Worth, along the eastern edges of Lake Grapevine
Facilities: It depends on where you start the trail. There are port-a-potties available at the MADD shelter, in Murrell Park. Will investigate about facilities at Rockledge or Twin Coves.
Suitable for: Mountain Biking, Hiking, Trail Running
Type of Trail: Natural path. Sandy in places, with a lot of rocky sections. Little bit of everything!
Shade: The path is predominately under the forest canopy, but there are sections where you do get some sun.
Where to Park: There are a few places to park. You can start at Rockledge Park (requires a fee to park) or Twin Coves Park (requires a fee as well if you park inside the gates). You can also park in the middle of the trail, at Murrell Park for free, which lets you go either direction (East is easier, West is more challenging). I generally park at Murrell Park.
The North Shore trail by Lake Grapevine is one of the best trails in the Metroplex. This is one of the longer trails in the area, allowing a full 22.5 miles if you want to take it all on! While maintained by DORBA (Dallas Off Road Biking Association, DORBA), it’s also used by hikers and trail runners. It’s also a beautiful one, with it’s reddish soil, rocky sections, overlooks of the lake, and the forest that the path takes you through.
The trail can be a challenging one, but don’t let that put you off from exploring it. If you are biking, it’s always ok to walk your bike past the hard bits. If you start from the midpoint of the trail at Murrell Park, you can take the easier half by going east (or to the left, as you enter the park) or go for a more challening route if you head westward (to the right, as you enter Murrel Park). Alternatively you can start at Rockledge Park (eastern end point) or the Twin Coves Park (on the western end point) but both sites do charge for parking, whereas Murrell Park is free.
North Shore’s trail meanders along the lake, through a fairly densely populated forest. The forest is actually not that deep in places, but the trail is very well laid out, so you never feel like you are riding next to neighborhoods (although you do go past several homes and back yards).
The trail has several beautiful overlooks of the lake, and several opportunities to take side paths down to the lake-shore, sometimes down a steep incline. I’ve often ridden past people who have set up hammocks between the trees in past some of these overlooks, just enjoying the day.
As with all DORBA trails, please check trail conditions before riding. Never ride closed trails! Doing so will cause damage to them that can further delay them opening (ruts take longer to dry out, and require maintenance). You can easily track trail conditions via the DORBA site, or the DORBA app which is available via Apple or Android app stores. While this trail does close after rain showers, luckily it also tends to be one of the first to open, due to it’s sandier soil.
This is a trail that people flock to, so you’ll generally find the parking lots busy, even on a weekday. Keep an eye out for hikers, or bikers coming up behind you. Some of the trails in the area can seem like you have the whole trail to yourself. Not this one!
Overall, this is a top trail in the Metroplex to experience. Whether you are on foot or on a bike, there is something for everyone here!
Where to grab a beer: We tried out a great Mexican restaurant nearby, called Mena’s Grilll Tex Mex Cantina, that had nice patio seating. It’s close to the Murrell Park and Rockledge parking areas, on Lakeside Parkway.