Dallas-Ft. Worth Local Life

The 7 Best Running Trails in Dallas

It’s summer in Texas, which means that many people are opting to stay indoors with the air conditioner on. However, some people prefer to get out and enjoy the fresh air, regardless of the season. You might think that Dallas is just a concrete jungle, but that’s a very inaccurate impression. Dallas running trails are widely used and you can be among those taking advantage of them.

Dallas and Fort Worth both have a lot of options for runners who want to get out and explore the trails. Even most subdivisions in the DFW suburbs have smaller, scaled-down versions of jogging trails. But if you want to know about the best running trails in Dallas-Fort Worth, this guide is a good place to start.

Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is an urban running trail with some points crossing pedestrian bridges over both Harry Hines Blvd. and Cedar Springs. This trail begins in Uptown and winds through Oak Lawn, and it’s frequently occupied by runners. Fully paved and well-maintained, this is a clean running trail that doesn’t feel too far off the beaten path. Still, at 3.5 miles and growing, this is a good place to get in a short run on an easy path.

The City of Dallas and the Friends of Katy Trail are adding to the path at the moment. Construction is ongoing to build an adjacent soft-surface path which will add an additional 3.1 miles and eight feet of width. The soft-surface path will allow for more social distancing and give walkers the chance to get out of the way of runners and cyclists.

Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve

Located in Cedar Hill just south of Dallas, the Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve offers a bit more of a challenge to those who are ready for it. Jointly owned by the City of Dallas and Dallas County, you’ll really feel like you’ve gotten away from the city when you spend an afternoon here. Spots with shade help to keep you cool during hot Texas summers. Varied surfaces provide a bit of challenge to runners and hikers who enjoy getting away from flat concrete.

There are several trails that make up the nature preserve, all of which tend to be pretty heavily trafficked. You’ll never be completely alone, though it won’t be so crowded that you don’t have room to run. Trails range from easy to moderately difficult, the latter of which include some significant elevation changes. Wear good shoes and come prepared to explore.

White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake is a perennially popular feature of Dallas life. Whether you live in the Northeast Dallas neighborhood or just come to enjoy using the lake, it offers plenty to do for outdoor lovers. In addition to boating and fishing on the lake, there are also roughly nine miles of trails around the lake.

The trail only has a modest elevation incline, so you may not be as challenged as at Cedar Ridge. However, this busy, dog-friendly park provides a great way to get in a run.

Cottonwood Trail

The Cottonwood Trail is most notable for how far it will take you. It’s possible to take this trail from Downtown Dallas to Plano via a few intersecting trails. For those wondering, yes, it’s nearly 20 miles long. Maybe it’s not the best way to avoid traffic, but it’s definitely great for marathon runners who want to get in some practice.

The Cottonwood Trail itself is only 3.1 miles long, but it stretches to its full length when connected with the White Rock Trail and the Preston Ridge Trail. The Cottonwood Trail also connects with a DART station, which means it’s entirely possible to travel 20 miles without a car.

Preston Ridge Trail

The Preston Ridge Trail runs north-south from Plano to north Dallas. Spanning over six miles, this trail can take you to DART stations for easy car-less commutes, or you can just enjoy running on the recently-renovated trails. This concrete trail is built more for convenience than a challenge.

River Legacy Park

River Legacy Park is one of Arlington’s best features. With over 1,300 acres to enjoy, it’s a great place to spend a long afternoon out in nature. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen because the Texas sun can be brutal.)

River Legacy Park runs along the Trinity River, the banks of which run almost from Dallas all the way to Fort Worth. 

Trinity River Trails

Easily the runner’s star in Fort Worth, the Trinity River Trail is scenic and pretty busy. Although not specifically located in Dallas, you’re sure to hear about the Trinity Trails from locals. On these trails, you can enjoy the gorgeous waterfront views and the peace and quiet away from the roads.

These trails span 17.8 miles, going from just west of Dallas to Downtown Fort Worth. Plenty of people are out enjoying these trails at any time of the week, though it’s not usually too crowded. For paved running surfaces and only modest elevation changes, the Trinity Trails are clear for going the distance.

We've just released an update for neighborhoods.com!  You can click here to refresh and use the latest version.