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The Best Hiking Trails Near Dallas, TX: The 8 Best Parks near DFW

March 4, 2024

If you're wanting to escape the DFW urban jungle and enjoy miles of trails and gorgeous scenery, you don’t have to go far! Here is a list of some incredible state parks that are perfect for a day trip from Dallas or a peaceful weekend spent camping. Reservations are recommended for all.

Wondering if it’s worth it to buy a Texas State Park pass? Check out my Texas State Parks guide, which details the park pass and includes my personal ranking of all of the Texas state parks I have visited!

Pro Tip: If you’re new to hiking, All Trails is a great tool to use for navigation, recent trail reviews and more. If you do a lot of hiking, I highly recommend paying for All Trails Plus to access offline maps and the “Lifeline” feature, which allows you to send your location to a trusted friend or family member.

Safety: I highly recommend wearing hiking shoes with traction and bringing the ‘10 essentials’ on any hike. It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared! I also carry the Garmin InReach Messenger, which can be used to call for help in an emergency where there is no service.

Leave No Trace: Please make sure to always leave no trace, no matter what trail you’re on! The principles of leave no trace are:

  1. Pack out all of your trash (including food scraps)
  2. Do not feed or approach wildlife
  3. Travel on durable surfaces (for example - walk through the mud instead of around so not to widen the trail)
  4. Respect those around you (keep your volume down)
  5. Respect the local rules for building fires
  6. Leave what you find (please do not collect rocks or anything else)

8 of the Best Hiking Trails near Dallas

From lakes to hilltop views to rocky ledges, these are my favorite hiking trails near Dallas!

1. Dinosaur Valley State Park

A view of the Paluxy River from an overlook in Dinosaur Valley.
The View from the Overlook Trail
  • An hour and a half from Dallas
  • $7 entry without parks pass
  • Recommended trail on All Trails: Limestone Ledge Trail

Explore where the dinosaurs once roamed at Dinosaur Valley State Park. During a visit to Dinosaur Valley, you can wwim in the Paluxy River, see real dinosaur tracks, discover secluded mini waterfalls and hike up to views of the Paluxy River Valley. There are several great trails in this park and you can combine several if you have enough time. One that I recommend for a nice overivew of the park is the Limestone Ledge Trail (2 miles).

This is my favorite place to hike near Dallas!

2. Lake Mineral Wells

Some rock climbers on a rock wall at Lake Mineral Wells.
Penitentiary Hollow

Lake Mineral Wells State Park is surrounded by a large lake with amazing rocky scenery. You can go rock climbing at Penitentiary Hollow, hike around the lake, go swimming or explore the water by boat. Don't miss the Red Waterfront Trail to Penitentiary Hollow (1.2 miles) for nice waterfront views.

Plus, if you want to try something new, Rock About offers beginner rock climbing classes here!

If you are new to hiking, read my 15 best beginner hiker tips before hitting the trails!

3. Tyler State Park

A late with green lily pads, grass and trees.
The Lakeshore Trail
  • An hour and a half from Dallas
  • $6 entry without park pass
  • Recommended trail on All Trails: Lakeshore Trail

Tyler State Park is a popular destination only about hour and a half east of Dallas. It's known for its miles of trails and beautiful forest. You can hike through the pine-hardwood forest, paddle or swim in the spring-fed lake, or camp under the stars in this Piney Wood park. The 2-mile Lakeshore Trail is a fun trail that goes around the lake!

Want to learn about more things to do near Tyler State Park? Check out these activites in the Piney Woods.

4. Daingerfield State Park

A lake surrounded by colorful fall foliage in Daingerfield State Park.
Autumn in Daingerfield
  • 2 hours 10 minutes from Dallas
  • $4 entry without park pass
  • Recommended trail on All Trails: Mountain View Trail

Daingerfield is a small park but it’s very charming. There are two trails in the park totaling 3.6 miles. The Rustling Leaves trail goes all around the lake, while the Mountain View Trail provides a view from above.

In addition to hiking, you can also swim, paddle and enjoy a picnic on the shore. This park is especially nice to visit in the fall, as you can enjoy fall foliage.

5. Eisenhower State Park

A beach area with a rocky ledge on one side and waves cascading into the shore at Eisenhower State Park.
The beach at Eisenhower

Eisenhower State Park is north of Dallas and sits right on the border of Oklahoma on Lake Texoma. Hiking trails here follow along the rocky ledges next to the water, providing some awesome views. You can also swim at the beach, go mountain biking or even bring your ATV and enjoy the many ATV trails. After a day of exploring, there are some great restaurants in the nearby town of Dension.

6. Cleburne State Park

A large spillway area with a boulder in Cleburne State Park.
The Cleburne Spillway

One of the most iconic parts of Cleburne State Park is the impressive CCC-built limestone spillway. Trails will lead you over it, and it's interesting to see how massive it is. It was built in the 1930's. This a great park to visit if you want to get your heart pumping or you're training for something, as the 10-mile perimeter Loop has almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The Fossil Ridge Loop (4.1 miles) is another great option if you're shorter on time.

Along with hiking, you can mountain bike through rocky and wooded terrain or kayak on the peaceful Cedar Lake.

7. Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

A river area with grasses mixed in with the water.
The Marsh Boardwalk at the Fort Worth Nature Center

The Fort Worth Nature Center & Preserve is giant (3,621 acres) and only about 20 minutes outside of Fort Worth. The park offers several miles of trails and also protects wildilfe. It's home to bison range, a prairie dog town and more! Don't miss the Canyon Ridge trail for a nice work out and the Marsh boardwalk for the chance to see a variety of beautiful birds.

8. Eagle Mountain Park

A view of Eagle Mountain Lake. Trees are reflected in the still water
Eagle Mountain Lake

Located 20 miles north of Fort Worth, Eagle Mountain Park is a peaceful place to hike along water and through the forest. The park has several miles of trails and a nice amount of elevation gain. During a hike here, you can see several views of the water, enjoy shade from the forest, admire cacti and look for wildlife. It's a clean park with a nice picnic area as well.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the DFW area might have more hiking opportunities than you thought! There are plenty of options to get your blood pumping, see wildlife and enjoy the beauty of nature. I hope this gives you some ideas for your next local trail.

For more Texas outdoor travel guides, check out these blogs:

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