Review: The Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Garland is home to a beautiful forest following a scenic creek, in ravines up to 40 feet deep in places. It’s seperated into two areas, one to the east which is a mix of concrete and nature trails, and the western side which is purely nature trails. The views of the creek are beautiful, and while it isn’t the largest hiking area in town, you should definitely visit at least once!
Distance: Hard to say. The official site doesn’t list any official miles. On my visit i hiked about five miles, including exploring the bike path to the east past Garland Road
Area of Town: In Garland, just off of 190 and Holford
Facilities: The eastern parking area has a picnic area, and restrooms. I did not see anything on the western parking area
Suitable for: Hiking, Fishing, Biking on concrete paths
Type of Trail: Paved and Natural
Shade: While the paved trails are fairly exposed to the sun, all the natural paths are in a forest. The western edge of the preserve is in a large meadow.
Where to Park: There are two main places to park off of Holford. Coming from 190, you’ll encounter the first on the left, if you continue on over a bridge, the next parking spot is directly after the bridge on the right.
Official Site: Spring Creek Forest Preserve Preservation Society
The Spring Creek Forest Preserve is located just south of 190 off Holford Road. The history of the preserve is intersting, check out the official site (hyperlink above) to learn about the history of the preserve, and the geologic and natural importance of this bottomland forest.
There are actually two (three?) sections to the preserve. If you are coming south on Holford, you will turn into the Preserve’s eastern section. The eastern section has a parking lot, next to some restrooms and tables. This is where the paved trail begins which you can take which leads you to some areas for creek access, and where you will find many trails that venture in the woods. Definitely explore those, but make sure you don’t miss the access to the creek itself. The creek has cut through the austin chalk cliffs, making this one of the more picturesque creeks in the area. The water is clear as it flows over limestone rocks.
The trails on the east side are not well marked. I just followed them and would eventually return to the paved path. I didn’t find a very good map of the trail, the first image above lacks details. Even the bike path that extends to the east towards Hawaian Falls was difficult to find information about distance or mileage. Because of that, I can’t provide much guidance on how many miles you’ll find on the east side, or frankly the west side either.
If you continue to the east, you will eventually come to the end of this section where the trail meets Garland road. I crossed the street, and the preserve trails do continue. There is a paved trail that extends to the east towards Hawaiian Falls (I followed for a while, until i grew bored of it), but you can access forest paths by the Spring Creek Forest Preserve sign through metal gates. This side was far less trafficked and remote. I explored a bit, it was a lot more overgrown and there was nobody else out here. I didn’t go too far, but the natural path does extend further with more views of the creek from the top of the cliff.
Once you finish exploring the eastern side of the trail, it’s time to get back into your vehicle and drive south to the next section of the preserve. To me, this was the more interesting and beautiful side of the forest. After you park, you’ll follow a path that hugs the creek for most of it’s length. The views of the creek on this side are much more scenic, and while i was there i saw quite a few people exploring the creek beds, and even some dogs playing in the water. There are a couple of places to get down there, as the cliffsides here are rather steep. On the path you’ll find several interpretive signs that tell you about the area. Like the eastern side, I didn’t see a map of the trail system, and there were a few trails that branched off from the main path.
At the end of the path you’ll emerge into a large meadow. I’m sure in the spring it will be covered in wildflowers, there were still quite a few there when i went in June. Once you’ve explored the meadow, it’s time to turn back and head back through the forest back to the parking lot.
The Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a place I’d known of for some time, but due to the lack of information that I found about it, it just never was high on my list to explore. The mileage seemed low, and it was a bit of a drive for me. This was my loss, i do want to come back again and explore, especially down in the creek (with more water-proof hiking shoes). The views of the creek with the austin chalk cliffsides makes for nice scenery, and something unique that you don’t see elsewhere in the North Texas area. Check it out!