Review: While there are a few other trails here at Cedar Hill State park, the DORBA trail is the reason to visit! This was the original mountain bike trail built by the DORBA organization, and is a beautiful trail through the countryside. You can pick which adventure you want (3 miles, 7 miles, 10+ miles), but these loops are fairly independant. Take care, once you set out, there isn’t an easy way to get back due to how these trails are set up. The other trails (Talala, Duck Pond) are worth a hike if on foot, but are much shorter distances. The park is close to other premiere trail spots in the metroplex, sitting near the Cedar Ridge Reserve, Big Cedar, and Dogwood Canyon trail systems. Highly recommended!
Distance: Variable. DORBA trail has a 3 mile loop, an 8 mile loop, and a 12 mile loop. The Talala trail is 1.46 miles, the Duck Trail is .68 miles, and the Plum Valley Trail is .93 miles. There is also a .54 Penn Farm trail, that is an easy walk through the original farmstead that was at this location.
Area of Town: Alongside Joe Pool Lake, between Dallas and Fort Worth, south of I-20
Facilities: There are several bathrooms and picnic tables spread across Cedar Hill State Park, see below for the map
Suitable for: Mountain Biking, Hiking, Trail Running
Type of Trail: Natural Trails
Shade: The trails at Cedar Hill State Park vary, but all are a mix of shade and direct sun. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water, especially in the summer, especially on the DORBA trail since once you are on it, there isn’t an easy way to get back to the trailhead if you get over-heated.
Where to Park: It depends on which trail you are planning to go to in Cedar Hill State Park. Each of the trails has their own trailhead, although they are all going to be to the left, after the entrance to the park. You can get a map from the ranger when you arrive, or reference the one below.
Official Site: Cedar Hill State Park Official Site
Along the banks of Joe Pool Lake, lies Cedar Hil State Park, about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, south of I-20. This state park is home to one of the best trails in the area, the DORBA Mountain Bike Trail. There are other trails here worth your consideration (Talala Trail, Duck Pond Trail), these aren’t nearly as expansive or offer the amt of isolation and beauty of the DORBA trail. It’s well worth the price of admission ($7, unless you purchased an annual state park pass)!
DORBA Trail: As you can see from the map above, the DORBA trail is at the outermost part of the park, at the southern edge. It’s also not structure like many of the other local trail systems, as it’s a series of three loops. When you get out on the trail, you won’t be doing all three though, as each one spins off the one before it. You can do a three mile journey by taking the inner loop. If you want to add more distance, you would still start on the 3 mile trail, and take the split for the 8 mile trail. For those wanting to go even further, that trail will split to a longer 12 mile trail. The trails wind up coming together again and join back at the original 3 mile trail before you get back to the trailhead.
This is not the easiest of the trails in the area, but if you can handle North Shore, even the easy side of North Shore, you’ll have no problems here. Starting out there is a bit of elevation as you go back into the hills, but if you are biking the trail, you can always push your bike at any difficult portions. If you like switchbacks, this is your trail, as you’ll encounter many as you explore the terrain! Also keep an eye out for snakes, there are many reports or rattlesnakes or copperheads in the park.
Since this is a mountain bike trail, hikers should go in the opposite direction of the bikers, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for them coming. While you may have the right of way on foot, they can’t see you coming around a corner or hear you, like you can hear them.
Make sure if you are heading out, to check the DORBA app, or call the park, to see if the trails are open. After rain, or if the lake levels are high (as they have been in early 2019), the trails won’t be passable, and will be closed to protect them. Please don’t hike or bike on closed trails, they are closed for a reason!
Talala Trail: When the trail dries out, i’ll go back and review
Duck Pond Trail: When the trail dries out, i’ll go back and review
Plum Valley Trail: When the trail dries out, i’ll go back and review
Places for a Beer: I don’t know this area to be honest, at least beyond the trails. I’m sure you can find something on Yelp, or head back into town and go to Trinity Groves (on the Dallas side that is), and grab something good there!