In spite of its cycling-conducive climate and topography, Dallas fares poorly on lists of cities ranked according to bicycle-friendliness. As recently as 2012, Bicycling.com named the Big D the worst in the country for cycling. At the time, Dallas had just eight miles of on-street bike lanes. Today, that number has reached 50. And it is expected to reach 107 within the next couple years. Other signs Dallas is growing friendlier to cyclists, like the introduction of LimeBike’s dockless bike share program last month, are also afoot.
As would-be commuters wait in anticipation for the city’s network of bike lanes to expand, they need not neglect the existing pride-and-joy of the Dallas cycling community. The metro area has more than 150 miles of paved, multi-use pathways on which cyclists can train without having to share a surface with motorists. The mountain biking crowd has another 200+ miles of off-road, scenic trail to explore. In this post, we shine the spotlight on paved Dallas bike trails that are especially nice to ride along in fall.
This 200-acre park feels much further from the Dallas North Tollway than the mile that separates the two. Arbor Hills’ three distinct eco-regions (Texas blackland prairie, riparian forest, upland forest) host wildlife and wildflowers aplenty. The only real breaks in the flourishing foliage are the Preserve’s nine miles of public trail. Joggers and cyclists can use the three miles of paved, multi-use trail. Three miles of trial are designated specifically for mountain biking. And the other three unpaved miles are pedestrian-only, intended for nature hikes. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is an easy, 7-minute bike ride down Parker from AMLI West Plano.
This 8.7-mile concrete bike trail offers some of the most scenic cycling in the Dallas area. Cycle through native brush and dense forest, cross and ride alongside the Trinity River, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife in action. Armadillo, bobcats, raccoons, turtles, and wild boar call Arlington’s 1,300-acre River Legacy Park home. The park also has 10 miles of mountain biking trail running along the banks of the Trinity River and surrounding Lake Viridian. In good traffic, River Legacy Parks is a half-hour drive from AMLI Design District, AMLI on Maple, and AMLI Quadrangle.
This easy, 4.2-mile paved trail runs along a former railroad track in lower east Dallas. The Santa Fe Trail connects with the Union Pacific and White Rock Lake Loop trails. A popular weekend activity for cyclists is to start with a loop around White Rock Lake before taking the Santa Fe Trail to Deep Ellum. After enjoying food and drink at one of the neighborhood’s trendy eateries, make the return trip to White Rock Lake.
2.4 miles of paved bike trail wind and undulate through picturesque hardwood forest in a Richardson nature preserve. Vehicle parking is available near the trail’s starting point.
The Trinity Trails system connects 47.9 miles of bike trails in Fort Worth. The asphalt, concrete, and gravel trails connect most major Fort Worth attractions, including the recently opened Airfield Falls Conservation Park. The Fort Worth Branch is a great way to get a feel for the Trinity River and Fort Worth.
Probably the most popular recreational biking trail in Dallas proper, this 9.3-mile trail loops around East Dallas’ beautiful White Rock Lake. Views of the lake and downtown Dallas are rewarding, but don’t let them distract you from keeping your eyes on the trail. The loop trail, shared by pedestrians and cyclists, can be pretty heavily trafficked. For a longer ride, connect to the Santa Fe Trail (see above) or White Rock Creek Trail.