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Top 10 Places to Run in Dallas

Map of 10 Top Places to Run in Dallas.

Dallas is home to plenty of great running routes, from populated trails with cityscape views to off-road adventures through natural areas. Next time you head out for a run in Dallas, check out one of these top-rated trails in the area. You won’t regret it!

1. White Rock Lake Trail

White Rock Lake during the fall.

White Rock Lake is one of the most popular parks in the Dallas area, boasting a 1,015-acre city lake. The park is just 5 miles east of downtown Dallas and is also home to White Rock Lake Trail, a hot spot for running groups in the area. The trail makes a full 9.3-mile loop around the lake, offering a great workout and beautiful natural scenery that offers a break from the cityscape. The park also has a dog park and picnic areas.

Tips: If you are visiting, consider checking out the other attractions at White Rock Lake, including the White Rock Lake Museum, the Bath House Cultural Center, and the Dallas Arboretum.

2. Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trestle Trail in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas.

The Santa Fe Trail is a popular route for 5K races in east Dallas. It connects Main Street in Deep Ellum with White Rock Lake, offering many unique city views. It’s a 5.3-mile trail that follows an old railroad route through neighborhoods and parks until it reaches the lake. The path isn’t nearly as populated as the White Rock Lake Trail, but as you get closer to the lake, you’ll start seeing more people along the path, so be prepared for that!

Tips: The White Rock Alehouse is a popular nearby restaurant where you can grab a refreshing drink and refuel after your run.

3. The Katy Trail

The Katy Trail.

The Katy Trail is arguably one of the prettiest trails in Dallas! This 3.5-mile trail runs from the American Airlines Center to Knox District. It features distinct art installations, beautiful flowers and landscaping along the route, and clear mile markers in the concrete every quarter mile. The trail is open to runners, walkers, and bikers from 5 a.m. to midnight, and it’s well-lit after the sun goes down. On the south end of the trail, you’ll reach Reverchon Park, a 41.3-acre community park with its own hike and bike trails that run along Turtle Creek.

Tips: After your run, definitely check out the Katy Trail Icehouse. It’s one of the most popular bars in Dallas! The indoor/outdoor venue offers delicious barbecue, tacos, refreshing drinks, and entertaining views of dogs and people on the trail.

4. River Legacy Park

View of bridge in River Legacy Park.

If you prefer to run through natural areas, you’ll love River Legacy Park. This 1,300-acre oasis is full of bottomland forest, wetland, prairie, and abundant local wildlife, including birds, fish, mammals, and native plants. The park also has 8 miles of paved trails that wind through the thick forest, following the curves of the Trinity River in Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth. With plenty of river view pavilions and picnic sites, River Legacy Park is also a great place to relax and enjoy the views after your run.

Tips: This park also has several easily accessible public bathrooms and an exercise station for visitors to use.

5. Texas Buckeye Trail

3 People walking on Texas Buckeye Trail.

The Texas Buckeye Trail is a 1.6-mile nature trail in the Great Trinity Forest in southeast Dallas. It gets its name from the large stand of Texas Buckeye trees near the trail’s end that bloom white in the spring. One of the most peaceful places to run near Dallas, the Great Trinity Forest is home to lots of active wildlife and features beautiful views of the river. Although some of the trail is paved, a portion of it features a natural surface that’s great for runners who want to get out of the city for a jaunt through nature.

Tips: While you’re visiting this area, take some time to explore! The 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest has several other trails and is also home to the Texas Horse Park, Trinity River Audubon Center, and more.

6. Cedar Ridge Preserve

Path at Cedar Ridge Preserve.

Cedar Ridge Preserve is a natural habitat situated about 20 minutes southwest of downtown. This 600-acre preserve features about 9 miles of trails surrounded by native trees, beautiful wildflowers, butterfly gardens, and local wildlife. Choose from 13 different trails, each offering its own unique adventure through various areas of the preserve. From the 1.9-mile Cedar Brake Trail to the 0.25-mile Little Bluestem Trail, you can enjoy a little bit of everything here.

Tips: The trails here flood easily, so visit the Cedar Ridge Preserve Facebook page before heading for a run to check for any closures.

7. Trinity Skyline Trail

Trinity Skyline Trail with the downtown Dallas Skyline.

There are more than 40 miles of trails along the Trinity River, and if you’re going to run on one of them, we highly recommend the Trinity Skyline Trail. It offers incredible views of the downtown Dallas skyline and follows the Trinity River under some of Dallas’ largest bridges. The Trinity Skyline Trail has two segments: a northern section that’s 4.6 miles and a southern section that’s 2.1 miles. The southern segment connects to another 3.6 miles of soft-surface trail, so you can easily adjust the length of your running route here.

Tips: There are many great restaurants near the Trinity Skyline Trail, offering delicious ways to refuel after your run. Popular favorites include Rodeo Goat, Slow Bone BBQ, and Mama’s Daughters’ Diner.

8. Grapevine Lake’s North Shore Trail

Grapevine Lake’s North Shore Trail in Summer.

The North Shore Trail is on the north side of Grapevine Lake and runs 9.5 miles from Rockledge Park to Twin Coves Park on the northwest end of the lake. The off-road path offers a moderately challenging run through untamed terrain, which is ideal if you like an adventure and don’t mind getting a little dirty. Parts of the trail also take you right up to the lake’s edge, featuring great water views and a peaceful environment for a run any time of the day.

Tips: This trail occasionally closes due to heavy rain, so do your due diligence before you head in that direction to run. If it’s too muddy, the path may be closed.

9. Campion Trail

Path on Campion Trail.

The Campion Trail winds through the Dallas suburb of Irving, offering a diverse blend of urban and natural scenery. The trail is paved and flat, with 7 full miles separated into two sections. The two sections are not connected, but you can easily access them both if you want to. The north section is longer and follows the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The south section follows the West Fork of the Trinity River and passes Twin Wells Park and Mountain Creek Preserve.

Tips: The southern portion of the Campion Trail also connects to Grand Prairie’s Lone Star Trail if you want to extend your run.

10. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Rock path in Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.

If you’re looking for an excellent place to run outside the city, head 20 miles north of downtown Dallas to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in west Plano. The 200-acre preserve is home to three trails, ranging in length from 0.4 miles to 1.3 miles, which wind through the wilderness and offer stunning nature views. The preserve also has several other amenities, including benches, grills, drinking fountains, an observation tower, and more. Since this is a nature preserve, be on the watch for coyotes, bobcats, snakes, poison ivy, and other potentially dangerous wildlife while you run. 

Tips: The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve can get pretty busy, especially on weekends. So, if you plan to run here, run early in the morning to beat the crowds!

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References:

  1. https://www.dallasparks.org/235/White-Rock-Lake
  2. https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/plandev/trails/maps/santafe.php
  3. https://katytraildallas.org/trail-info/
  4. https://riverlegacy.org/river-legacy-park-information
  5. https://trinityrivercorridor.com/recreation/texas-buckeye-trail 
  6. https://audubondallas.org/cedar-ridge-preserve/#MapsGuides
  7. https://www.dallasparks.org/217/Cedar-Ridge-Preserve 
  8. https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/plandev/trails/30-SkylineTrail.pdf 
  9. https://trinityrivercorridor.com/recreation/trinity-skyline-trail 
  10. https://assets.simpleviewinc.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/grapevine/ParksTrailsJuly20181_7d056ca7-b2d2-4535-a2fe-9a9f150b74ae.pdf
  11. https://www.traillink.com/trail/campion-trail/
  12. https://content.civicplus.com/api/assets/4d5b71ab-cf0c-46c3-99ad-39777e825700
  13. https://www.plano.gov/1397/Arbor-Hills-Nature-Preserve 

Photo Sources:

W3stfa11, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Gvolk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Veronidae, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Fkbowen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dameon Hudson, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Robert Nunnally from Allen, TX, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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