Review: Located in beautiful Cedar Hill, near Joe Pool Lake, you will find the Dogwood Canyon Audobohn Center. What this site lacks in long trails, it more than makes up for in beauty. The forests here are lush and the vistas from the top of the hill give you some amazing views of the lake and Cowboy Stadium. The Canyon Floor trail is even wheelchair accessible. With so many other trails in the area, you can make a day of the area. While here don’t forget to check out Cedar Mountain Preserve, which has an additional trail to enjoy (currently closed through fall of 2019).
Distance: Dogwood Canyon has about 2 miles of trails, while Cedar Mountain Preserve has one trail around 1 mile long.
Area of Town: Cedar Hill, south of Dallas near Joe Pool Lake
Facilities: The Audubon facility has a gift shop, restrooms, and meeting rooms. Dogwood Canyon has picnic areas, and places to sit and rest.
Suitable for: Hiking
Type of Trail: Natural Trails, with a concrete trail connecting the two
Shade: Dogwood Canyon sits in a beautiful wooded area, so plenty of shade. As you go from Dogwood to Cedar Mountain Preserve, you will get some sun.
Where to Park: The Audobohn center has plenty of parking, including dedicated parking for hybrid vehicles up front
Official Website: Dogwood Canyon Official Site
Dogwood Canyon is a more recent trail system for the metroplex, built in 2011 after the land was donated by David and Kim Hurt (story here). This site is managed by the Audobohn Society, and is composed of more then 200 acres of pristine forest to enjoy. Located in Cedar Hill near Joe Pool Lake, it’s another beautiful trail system in one of the few hilly areas of the Metro area.
There are two main trails here, the Canyon Floor Trail and the West Loop.
The Canyon Trail is the shorter of the two clocking in at about half a mile round trip. It’s a wide trail most of the way, and is wheelchair accessible (not common here in DFW). It’s peaceful, with many opportunities for bird watching, including a bird blind. This is not a strenuous trail, but it is a pretty walk in the woods, with ample opportunities to see some wildlife.
The West Loop is the more strenous of the two, clocking in at 1.65 miles round trip. This is by far the more interesting of the two trails, as you will climb a hill via a series of switchbacks. Once you reach the top of the trail, a loop takes you around the top, with multiple places to take in views of the surrounding hills, Joe Pool Lake, and even Cowboy Stadium in the distance. You’ll also find an old tin building, that the trail winds around.
Cedar Mountain Preserve
But that’s not all! Next door to Dogwood Canyon is the Cedar Mountain Nature Preserve, which is managed by the County of Dallas. A sidewalk connects the two, so from the Dogwood Canyon parking lot, take the paved sidewalk as it goes north along FM-1382. This 110 acre preserve has it’s own trail, about a mile long. This trail takes you up into the preserve, climbing up into a forested section which leads to a small loop at the top, and then brings you back to your starting point. The trail is well marked, the forest is calm and peaceful, and relatively untouched.
Currently the preserve is closed, due to construction work. That construction project will connect many of the trail systems in the area (see here for more). The preserve is expected to re-open later in 2019.
One last thing: SPIDERS. Both trails are well populated with spiders. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve almost crashed through a huge web across the trail, with a rather large spider sitting in it. Especially if you go early in the morning, you may want to bring a stick or something to wave in front of you. Depending on the sunlight, there were a few times I almost crashed through one, only after noticing the large spider who had spun it. Even at the bird blind at the Canyon Trail, a large spider was sitting in the web which blocked the entrance. If you have arachnaphobia, go with a friend and don’t lead the way!
(When we went, we weren’t aware that the Cedar Mountain Preserve Trail was closed. The pictures below show the trail isn’t in the best state. We shouldn’t even have gone up it. It’s usually in better shape.)
In short, Dogwood Canyon and Mountain Creek Preserve are worth your time to visit. While the total mileage isn’t high, you can add more mileage by visiting Cedar Hill State Park or Cedar Ridge Preserve. This park truly is a beautiful place to explore, in one of the most beautiful parts of the metroplex!