Natural,  Paved

Spring Creek Greenbelt – Frank E Harris

Review: Spring Creek Greenbelt lies across from the trails at Spring Creek Forest Preserve, allowing more access to the creekbed. As well as the dirt trails, you can also access a short paved trail leading to a pond with a pavillion and fishing pier. The real reason to come is for the unmarked and unmapped trails that take you through the woods and down to the creek below. If you go to Spring Creek Forest Preserve, don’t forget to check out this trail system as well!

Distance: Uncertain. The paved trail was about 1.2 miles leaving the parking lot, circling the pond, and back. I can’t find any official map or mileage for the dirt trails, I clocked 2.28 miles, but that includes backtracking and I am certain I missed some sections.

Area of Town: In Garland, near Shiloh and 190

Facilities: Some picnic tables and a pavilion near the pond off the paved trail.

Suitable for: Hiking, Walking

Type of Trail: Both paved and dirt trails

Shade: The paved trail is open to the sun, the dirt trail is predominately under trees, aside from a few meadows

Where to Park:  There is a small parking lot off Shiloh on the eastern side. Blink and you’ll miss the turn-off

Official Website: Official website

Nearby Trails: Spring Creek Forest Preserve, Spring Creek Nature Area

When I was hiking at Spring Creek Forest Preserve I kept noticing people on the opposite side of the creek, either hiking on the opposite ride or access points to get down to the creek. I couldn’t figure out how they got down there. Curious about this, i look at some of the usual trail resources (like All Trails), and found nothing. Using Google Maps, there were no trails listed, but I did see Spring Creek Greenbelt – Frank E Harris Park. . When i searched for a trail map at the park, the only thing I saw listed there was a short paved trail, which didn’t look all that interesting. I did drive over, and i’m glad I did!

Paved Trail

Let’s start with the boring first. After you park, if you look towards Shiloh there is a paved trail that goes underneath the road, and then heads back towards a small pond. The pond has a fishing pier and a pavillion to have lunch. There is also a playground and some benches so you can rest and watch the pond, the birds, or let the kids play. When i did the walk, it was 1.18M round trip. Also, it wasn’t that exciting. Don’t come to Spring Creek Greenbelt for the paved trail!

Natural Trails

This is what you should come out here for! Although be aware that there is no official trail map, and the trails just meander around. You can access them from the parking lot, just head east and then you’ll see an entrance to the north. Once you get under the trees you’ll see trails heading off to the right, and as you follow them you’ll see they diverge quite a bit. I was mapping on my phone, since there was no official map online. I also wanted to make sure i could backtrack in case i got lost (not that it was that big of an area). Below is the path i took, which was 2.28 miles, but that also included some backtracking.

Not an official trail map

Spring Creek Greenebelt trails go along Spring Creek, but also veer back into the greenbelt, some exiting into nearby neighborhoods. There are several points where you’ll cross over side creeks either across rocks, or over little wooden walkways. Not all of the walkways are in good shape, so use caution. These trails really wind around and cross into each other over and over, so you won’t get lost, but you likely won’t be able to repeat the path you took, if you come back. For instance, i know when i came the first time, i was able to get access to the creek in a couple of spots, but the second time i came (where i mapped the below), i didn’t find one of the access points. The trail also follows Spring Creek to the west, and it starts to be a little less maintained (some overgrowth), and does seem to pass under Shiloh and continue. I didn’t take that path since i was in shorts and was concerned about poison ivy. So the map below is likely not complete. It really is surprising that a trail like this has no official site or map. It’s obviously maintained since many of the trails are well marked and clear of plants. There are wooden walkways to cross some sections. When i came out in 2020 there was one section impassible due to a fallen tree, and when i returned in 2021 it had been cleared.

Spring Creek Greenbelt is definitely worth a visit if you are exploring the area. It may not show up on any of the hiking app resources, but it should. It’s frankly strange that this system has no online presence, aside from the single official site that only lists the paved trail, which quite frankly is not the reason to come! If anyone knows more about this trail, please leave comments below!

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