Review: A beautiful park located in Arlington, River Legacy is right between Dallas and Fort Worth. There is something for everyone here: A well designed DORBA off road trail that is good for all levels, almost 8 miles of concrete trails with scenic views of the Trinity River, and a picturesque park with pavilions, playgrounds and lots of green wide open space to play or relax within. Not to mention, visitors often encounter wildlife here, including bobcats!
Distance: About ten plus miles of dirt paths, close to 8 miles on the long concrete bike trail. That doesn’t even include the other trails inside the park that criss-cross the property.
Area of Town: Arlington, not far from Cowboy Stadium north of I-30
Facilities: Restrooms, water fountains, pavillions for eating / parties, playground equipment
Suitable for: Walking / Jogging / Road Biking / Dirt Biking / Hiking
Type of Trail: You’ll find both off-road natural trails here, and concrete paths as well
Shade: Very wooded area, many areas are completely under the forest canopy. Parts of the concrete trails are exposed to the sun, but in general most of the trails are underneath a tree canopy.
Where to Park: You can park off Collins on the West side, to hit the concrete trail. If you enter the park from Green Oaks, there are many spots to park. To find the DORBA dirt trails, take a left at the first intersection after entering the park, and then follow that path around, as the road turns to the right, the parking lot for DORBA trail will be on your left.
Official Site: River Legacy Official Site
Nearby Trails: North Shore
As the capsule review above indicated, River Legacy Park has a lot of things to offer to everyone. Are you looking for an easy bike / hike through the woods? You can take the DORBA trail and have a simple experience, customizable for how long you want to go. Want something a bit more adventurous while on the trail, just add the EKG and Fun Town trails to up the challenge! If you are in the mood for concrete trails with river views, River Legacy has you here too. Even if you just want to picnic in the park or take a shorter stroll, the park is full of places to relax and short trails circle those areas.
The DORBA River Legacy trail is a series of loops through a heavily wooded area, although there are some exposed areas of the trail on the Prarie Loop. Some of the trail is through a less crowded forest so you can see quite a distance around you, other parts of the trail are completely enclosed in thick brush or hedges. The trail is very windy, and makes good use of the limited space, allowing ten plus miles of trails!
If you are approaching the trail head from the parking area, there are two entrances Bikes go one way, and hikers go another. Please note the different entrances, which are marked with signs. The hikers will enter by the picnic tables, and the bikers enter near the map, which is facing the parking lot.
The trails themselves are very well marked, and you will encounter many signs going through the trail system. The signs serve a dual purpose. First, they often will indicate which path is more challenging (red) vs easier (blue). So if you are more experienced and want a challenge, you can take the red path, beginners can stick to the blue routes. While the path is fairly flat, the trail designers did make good use of any elevation shifts, hence the red paths. The other purpose the signs have is to indicate which loop you are on, and show a bypass, or shortcut. The River Legacy dirt trail is a huge loop, you start in the same parking lot that you end in, but there are multiple loops within the system (South Loop, West Loop, Prairie Loop, North Loop, East Loop, EKG and Fun Town). If you are looking for a shorter ride, you can take the bypasses to get back to the parking lot sooner, generally a right turn, or go for the full mileage and continue to the left to hit every curve and bend in the trail!
The main loops are fairly easy, with a few spots that you may need to walk, or tree gates to squeeze through. For those looking for a challenge, EKG will burst your lungs, and Fun Town for sure will get your blood pumping! Beginners beware!
While this really isn’t that hard of a system, I love to come out here. This trail has great flow, you can really get your speed up and enjoy a fast bike ride in the woods! Just watch out for hikers, especially on the turns, , who should be approaching you if they are going the right way (don’t count on it). The trail can either feel open and expansive at times, and other times feels closed in for a very different feel. The main drawback for this trail is the rain. When it rains, this trail closes down, and can remain closed for a long time. It’s rather swampy and boggy in here after a rain, so always check the DORBA app to ensure it’s open. Don’t ride wet trails!
Aside from the dirt trails, River Legacy Park also has an extensive paved trail system to explore! Within the park there are paths that follow the road, and circles the fields, playgrounds and pavilions. To be honest, i’m not sure total mileage in those sections. There is a much longer paved path though that extends outside of the park and follows alongside the Trinity River, with many vantage points worth stoping for. The map below really highlights how small the park is, in comparison to how far out the paved trail extends.
At present, the paved trail extends 8 miles, however this mileage is planned to increase in the coming years as Dallas and Fort Worth join a series of trails across the metroplex to offer uninterrupted bike travel between the sister cities. The trail is at the north end of the park, on the far side of the dirt trails. The concrete paths in the park though will take you to the main paved trail. There are multiple places you can park, including the DORBA trailhead.
This is one of the prettier paved trails in the Metroplex. From within the park you’ll be in a very forested area, with frequent places to stop and take a look at the river. The river is pretty here, so worth a stop and take in the view. As you head further away from the park, you’ll go under Collins and near Lake Viridiain, part of the Viridian housing area. There are a few turn-offs you can take as well, that willt take you to the lake, or into Viridian itself. The trail will meander near the lake giving you more views, before leaving the lake and continuing to follow the Trinity River further east. The canopy will vary here, so be aware that a good portion of the trail will be fully exposed to the sun, and other portions will be in wooded areas. Originally the trail ended at the 7 mile mark, but it’s been expanded recently to approximately 8 miles. That will likely continue to change as the efforts to connect the Metroplex trails continue.
This is an out and back trail, so keep in mind however far you go down this trail, you still have to do the same distance back again. You’ll find benches and informational markers along the trail, but no water. If you need water or have an emergency, there isn’t an easy way to return to the Park. Keep that in mind. It’s not a difficult trail, but it is remote. However it’s also very well used, so you will see others.
One of the nice things about this trail, is you may encounter wildlife. I’ve seen bobcats and armadillos out here, in addition to the standard squirrels and hawks that populate North Texas.