With so many lakes, rivers, and wide open spaces surrounding the area, there is no shortage of natural beauty around Dallas – Fort Worth. We may not have mountains, but we
do have some gorgeous hiking and biking trails, natural landscapes, and even horse trails throughout the Metroplex. Here are 11 of the most incredible wonders in nature hiding right in our backyard!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve - 6701 W. Parker Rd., Plano
This 200-acre park features vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other activities perfect for an escape from the city life. It is open from 5am to 11pm daily.
2. Cedar Ridge Preserve - 7171 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas
This 633-acre natural habitat features over 10 miles of hiking trails, a native plant nursery, and picnic areas. It is open from sunup to sundown everyday except Mondays.
3. Texas Discovery Gardens and Butterfly House - 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas
Located in Dallas' historic Fair Park, Texas Discovery Gardens is a year-round, organically maintained urban oasis filled with natural wonders. It is the first public garden in the state of Texas to be certified 100% organic by the Texas Organic Research Center. This means these lush gardens are maintained using only sustainable methods that conserve water as well as protect the environment.
It is also home to the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium. Hanging out with these colorful and delightful insects is sure to provide you with a much-needed infusion of happiness!
4. Lewisville Lake
This expansive reservoir is on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Denton County. Not only are there beautiful trails and water views, but the surface area covers an impressive 30,000 acres and is a go-to spot for year-round outdoor recreation. The boating is great, but the Texas scenery around the lake is downright inspiring.
5. Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge - 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd., Fort Worth
Walking over natural marsh lands isn't just something you get to do every day, but you do here! The center encompasses a vast 3,621 acres and contains over 20 miles of hiking trails. That makes it one of largest city-owned nature centers in the United States.
The center is a refuge to bison and other wildlife. There is even a prairie dog colony here. See these animals in their natural habitat makes the small fee ($5 adults; $2 children) totally worthwhile!
6. River Legacy Park -703 NW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
River Legacy is a 1,300-acre urban oasis! The city park includes a 10-mile mountain bike trail, eight miles of paved hiking, numerous river outlooks, an exercise station, and canoe launch. It's a gorgeous getaway right in the midst of an urban area.
7. Dinosaur Valley State Park - 1629 Park Rd. #59, Glen Rose
This prehistoric wonder state park lets visitors see for themselves the giant footprints left behind by dinosaurs once traveling the Paluxy Riverbed. Rock formations from nearly 113 million years ago have been exposed by water erosion, revealing some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.
Not only are the tracks fascinating to see when the water level is low enough, the natural swimming hole here provides warm weather fun!
8. Texas Buckeye Trail - 6714 Bexar St., Dallas
This short but oh-so-sweet 1.6-mile Texas Buckeye Nature Trail is located within the Great Trinity Forest in southeast Dallas. The trail is named for a large stand of Texas Buckeye Trees located near the terminus of the trail, which is a popular destination for hikers, especially in spring.
9. Grapevine Lake
The roughly 8,000-acre lake is located in the heart of Dallas - Fort Worth and features limitless outdoor fun. You can camp right by the water, picnic, sail, motorboat, jet ski, fish, or just soak up the sun from the majestic rock cliff shoreline. It features numerous trails and walkways with picturesque views and differing challenge levels.
10. Trinity River
The Trinity is 710 miles long and is the longest river with a watershed entirely in Texas. Dallasites and Fort Worthians alike celebrate the beauty of the river, which has afforded the two cities and neighboring suburbs great outdoor entertainment and natural beauty.
Get yourself a map of the Dallas - Fort Worth and find your spot anywhere the river goes - you won't be disappointed. The views, wildlife, and adventures are endless.
11. Connemara Nature Conservancy - 300 Tatum Rd., Allen
The Connemara Conservancy has been at the forefront of land conservation and environmental education for over 30 years. It is the guardian to over 6,000 acres, including this 72-acre meadow.
The conservancy is a haven for various wildlife, especially birds. It is open to the public from dawn to dusk daily.
What other hidden natural wonders do you frequent in Dallas – Fort Worth that should be added to this list?