Looking out over the Dallas / Fort Worth metro area, one might get the idea that the region is completely flat. But zoom in closer and you’ll find more than a couple hundred feet of elevation change between the high and low points, which is more than enough for building excellent mountain bike trails. The Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association (DORBA) has a hand in 17 different trail systems in the area, which makes narrowing this list down to just five recommendations a real challenge.
North Shore Trail
The North Shore trail system near Grapevine boasts nearly 20 miles of singletrack along the shores of Grapevine Lake. The trails are fairly fast and flowy, though short techy rock gardens and steep climbs can be found sprinkled throughout. Overall, the system is fairly flat with only about 50 feet of elevation separating the high and low points. These trails are best to hit a day or so after a rain, which firms up the sandy trail surface a bit. This is a multi-use trail system so watch for other trail users.
Boulder Park is located less than 10 miles from downtown Dallas, about a 12-minute drive down I-35E. There are two main loops in this 12-mile trail system: blue and red. The blue trail is mellow enough for families to enjoy, while the red trail throws in more hills, techy rocks, and stream crossings for more advanced riders. Singletracks reader Mr. Conejo says the trails are “flowy with a fair amount of technical sections up and down, and manmade features like wood bridges drops, etc. […] I was also surprised how much they did in such small area.”
Cedar Hill State Park
Cedar Hill State Park sits on the eastern edge of Joe Pool Lake, about 20 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, and features 15 miles of singletrack. With roughly 100 vertical feet separating the high and low points on the trail, Cedar Hill State Park offers a decent mix of ups and downs along the way. The stacked loop trail system is highly recommended by Singletracks readers, thanks in part to excellent tree coverage which keeps the trails cool in summer and scenic year-round.
On the Fort Worth side of the metro area, the 12-mile trail system at Sansom Park gets high marks from Singletracks readers. The Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association has done an excellent job keeping the trails technically challenging while ensuring great flow, for an overall fun experience. Signed loops make this trail system fairly easy to navigate for first-time riders who will enjoy the short downhill runs that take full advantage of the 200 feet of vertical elevation in the park.
Isle Du Bois State Park
For riders with a bit more time on their hands and a hankering for a technical challenge, head up to Isle Du Bois State Park, located a little over an hour north of Dallas. This 11-mile trail system is rated advanced by Singletracks reviewers, who note just how rocky these trails are. Still, Singletracks reader ktmdrz400 says the system features “excellent singletrack trail with slight elevation changes with technical rock gardens throughout. Put it on your bucket list.”
Note: in the past, Big Cedar would have been highly recommended for Dallas visitors. Unfortunately recent changes in land ownership have left many trails closed and/or unmaintained.
Looking for more trails in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area? Here is a full list of all the bike trails near Dallas.