Review: Cross Timbers Equestrian Trail is another trail system on scenic Lake Grapevine near Roanoke and Flower Mound. The trail is a linear trail, and intersects with the better maintained Knob Hills trail. While this trail does offer lake views and varied terrain, it’s not as well maintained as other nearby trails.
Distance: 3.5 miles, with an optional 1.5 mile loop (which we never saw). The Trail connects to the Knob Hill trail, which allows mountain bikes.
Area of Town: Roanoke / Flower Mound
Facilities: None that i saw, aside from two picnic tables near the eastern end of the trail
Suitable for: Hiking, Horseback Riding
Type of Trail: Natural Trails
Shade: Bit of everything. Parts of the trail are forested, other parts especially near the lake are exposed to the sun
Where to Park: There are two trailheads. The western trailhead is down a bumpy gravel road (drive slow).
Cross Timbers Equestrian trail, maintained by the Cross Timbers Equestrian Trail Association, is a 3.5 mile out and back trail along the NW side of Lake Grapevine. There are two trailheads, we started on the western side off Dunham Road in Roanoke. As you near the trailhead, part of the road is not in great condition, so be careful of the giant potholes. Go slow! The other trailhead is near the Rocky Point Trailhead.
Once we parked, we originally went the wrong way. We took a trail directly from the parking lot, but then realized the trail-head was actually to the east of the parking lot. As we set out, the trail quickly intersected with Knob Hills To stay on the equestrian trail, make sure to look for trail markers with horses and hikers, vs signs with bikers. Horses are not allowed on the DORBA trail, and bikes are not allowed on the equestrian trail.
Staying on Cross Timbers Equestrian Trail, we encountered considerable variability in the quality of the trail. Some portions were pretty, under the forest canopy, with wide trails. Other portions were less well maintained, including a few sections where we had to guess at where the trail was. Poison Ivy is present, so I would advise wearing pants, or making sure you have rubbing alcohol to scrub away the oils from those plants.
We definitely got off the path a few times. At a few points we’d see a trail marker off to the side of where we were. The trail follows the shore of the lake, and there are quite a few homes you’ll pass by on your opposite side. Respect private property. We thought we saw the trail going away from the lake at one point, till we noticed the “no trespassing” sign. As we neared the eastern trailhead, the trail got more defined and we encountered more rocky terrain, which was better marked and easier to follow. We also saw a commemorative sign for Kathy Doran, which also marked the only picnic tables we found in the area (this is towards the eastern side of the trail).
On our return, we again found the trail difficult to find in a few spots. In fact, at one point we remarked at how great the trail was looking, till we realized we had somehow wound up on the Knob Hill trail. Checking Google Maps, the Cross Timbers Equestrian trail is marked so we after a quick trek through some scrubby brush, we got back to the correct trail.
Given that Knob Hills and Rocky Point are so close, I’d have to recommend them over Cross Timbers Equestrian Trail. We didn’t dislike Cross Timbers Equestrian Trail, but given how difficult it was to follow, there are better options in the area. Knob Hills is better maintained, and Rocky Point offered more interesting views and elevation changes. If you want an equestrian trail, the trails at Bob Jones Nature Center I thought offered better views and better maintained trails.
Also keep in mind that this is an equestrian trail. We didn’t encounter anyone on horseback, although we did see some evidence horses had been there. Just remember, if you encounter someone on horseback, they have the right of way so yield to them!