I always prefer hiking in the woods on natural trails, but after a huge rainstorm, or during a particularly rainy season, hiking on natural trails isn’t an option. North Texas soil gets mucky when wet due to the high clay content in our soil, and can take a long time to dry. The year I bought my first mountain bike was when we had an epically wet spring, and many of the trails were closed for weeks or months. When the lakes are full, some popular trails can be submerged entirely (North Shore, LB Houston, Campion trails), or marshy (LLELA).
Hiking on wet and muddy trails not only creates a muddy mess on you or your bike, but more importantly will cause permanent damage and erosion issues for the trails we enjoy. Due to that, always check trail status if the weather has been wet. For the mountain bike trails in the area, the DORBA app will provide the most up to date status. For state park trails not listed on the DORBA app, you can always call the main park’s phone number and check status. For other trails without a way to call, use your common sense. There have been a few times i’ve driven out to a trail only to be dissapointed to see it was flooded or closed.
The good news is, even when the natural trails are inaccessible, we have SO many other options in North Texas to bike or hike! Below are some of the key ones by geographic area, that you can use until the trails dry out again!
The Trinity Trails in Fort Worth are an incredible asset to the city. More than 100 miles of trails connect you from one part of the city to the other. I’ve not explored much of it yet, just a few quick visits, but am looking fwd to taking the bike out to Fort Worth and checking it out! The link above takes you to their new site, with an interactive map, and a link to a new app you can use to explore the trails!
Katy Trail is a rails to trail project, which extends through Highland Park and Uptown to the Victory Park area. It’s a very popular trail, so can be difficult to bike on around all the walkers / joggers, but has nice views of the city. Expect crowds!
White Rock Lake is probably the most popular outdoor place in Dallas. Bikers and joggers crowd the trail, as people fish along the banks of sail or kayak on the water. The trail extends up via the White Crock Creek Trail, but after a strong rain it can get muddy in spots, so stick to the lake unless you want to clean mud off your bike or shoes.
Just north of Love Field is Bachman Lake, which has a 3 mile path that surrounds the lake. Not nearly as popular or well maintained as White Rock Lake, it does get usage by locals. Not necessarily worth a drive, but it’s a good place to go for a run to get ready for a 5k.
Brookhaven College has a 2 mile loop around campus, with a connecting path that adds another 1.3 mile loop through Vitruvian Park. The Vitruvian Park section is beautiful as it winds throught the apartment complexes around a green space with a dammed creek and several small islands. Generally it’s not too crowded here, so you can get some peace and quiet!
Not far from Cowbow Stadium you’ll find River Legacy Park, which boasts a great DORBA mountain bike trail, but more importantly after a rain, a concrete path that follows the Trinity River eastward outside the park for 14 miles or so. Another nice trail that isn’t too crowded.
North of Dallas
In west Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has 3 miles of paved trails. This park does tend to get crowded on busy days, and the paved trails get extra crowded when the dirt trails are closed. The park is beautiful, with an observation tower to take in the views of the surrounding areas. Definitely one of the prettier, but busier, parks in the metroplex.
In east Plano, Oak Point Preserve has miles of paved trails (and dirt trails when it’s not muddy), which meander through a prarie, crossing through forest and along Rowlett Creek and a small lake. The trails connect to the Santa Fe and Bluebonnet trails, so you can get alot of distance here, and it’s beautiful on a sunny day!
So even if the trails are muddy, there are still so many other options in the metroplex to get some sun and fresh air. And of course this is only a partial list, check your local city’s parks website for more options, or use the All Trails app to find trails near where you live. Don’t let wet trails be a barrier to getting outside!