Home » Top Mountain Bike Trails in Dallas: My All-Time Favorite Trails

Top Mountain Bike Trails in Dallas: My All-Time Favorite Trails

Are you aware that Dallas is one of the few states in the United States with 200 miles of off-road mountain bike trails? If you don’t, now you know. This is what inspired me to come up with 8 of the top mountain bike trails in Dallas. The good thing about Dallas is that most of the bike trails can be used free of charge. 

This is why I decided to find out the best trails in this great state. Check out the details of the 8 best mountain bike trails in Dallas below. 

Bottom Line Up Front

Are you a lover of nature? If you are, then riding on the Colleyville Nature Center trail disconnects you from the stress of life and connects you with nature. There are picnic tables with nice rest zones in case you decide to take a rest. 

Choose the North Shore trail if you are looking for a trail with varied terrain featuring beautiful scenery. The trail offers beautiful views from Grapevine Lakeshore and cliffs. Alternatively, if you are a fan of geocaching then visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. However, be ready to pay an entrance fee. 

Top 8 Mountain Bike Trails in Dallas

In this review, I was looking for trails that are challenging and fun for all levels of riders. Whether you are a professional or a novice rider, in Dallas, you can try out these trails. Read on to get information on what to expect. 

North Shore Trail

In Dallas, the North Shore trail is one of the most renowned hiking and biking trails. The trail runs along the north side of Grapevine Lake. It features about 22.5 miles of varied terrain with beautiful views from the lake’s shore and cliffs. This makes it suitable for all levels of riders, whether novice or avid. 

The West Loop is a bit technical compared to the East Loop. It’s ideal for experienced riders while the East Loop is perfect for intermediate bikers. Riders should observe trail etiquette since the trail is for both hikers and riders. That said, they need also to be vigilant and cautious since there are some rough zones on the trails. 

North Shore trail features 3 main trailheads with designated parking lots. They include Rockledge Park, Twin Coves, and Murrell Park MADD shelter. Note that when joining the trail from Twin Coves Park or Rockledge Park you have to pay an entrance fee. 

However, if you park right outside the Twin Coves Park gate you can enter the North Shore trail for free. The good thing about these trails is that they run from 6 am to 9 pm daily. 

Pros

  • 22.5-mile trail length
  • Ideal for all levels of riders
  •  It features 3 trailheads
  •  Runs daily from 6 am to 9 pm
  •  Spacious parking lots

Cons

  •  You have to pay an entrance fee
  •  The West Loop is not ideal for beginners

Boulder Mountain Bike Trail

The Boulder Mountain Bike trail is over 12 miles. This is long enough for a full day of riding. It’s located north of Duncanville, at the Southwest corner of Red Bird Lane and Hwy 67. One good thing about the trail is that it has both beginner loops and advanced loops. 

This makes it perfect for families or groups of friends. You discover that the trails are labeled in 2 colors – Red and Blue. Red denotes the zones that beginners and intermediate riders should ride on. This ‘Red Zone’ features hills, wet creek crossing, dips, and descents. These features are ideal for novice riders to ride on and gain biking skills. 

The ‘Blue Zone’ contains more challenging stuff recommended for intermediate and advanced riders. Follow the color labels keenly to avoid challenges you aren’t ready to handle. 

Pros

  • 12-mile trail length
  •  It features both beginner loops and advanced loops
  •  Best for families or groups of friends
  •  The trails are labeled in 2 colors – Red or Blue
  •  Has spacious parking lots

Cons

  •  If a beginner misses the trail color labeling he may face challenges
  •  Usually busy in the afternoon

Erwin Park

Erwin Park is one of Collin County’s favorite trails. It’s around 10 miles in length. You’ll need to head north of the 380 if you want to get there and then turn right near the hospital. Erwin Park features a mix of tight and twisty trails in the woods. You also get to experience some open-field sections. 

The Erwin Park MTB trail has several technical sections. The good thing is they have alternate easy routes around them. After completing the trail you can head over to Cadillac Pizza in Downtown McKinney for some refreshments. That said, keep in mind that the 2.8 mile Ranger Loop no longer exists.

This is because some land has been sold off to the new PGA corporate offices by the City of Frisco. The modified trail is about 5.5 miles long with 2 inner loops namely Wolverine and Coyote. There is also a single outer loop that consists of the original Ranger and Red Hawk. 

Pros

  • 10-mile trail length
  •  It features several technical sections
  •  Best for experienced riders
  •  Updated Ranger Loop has a single outer loop and 2 inner loops
  •  Ample parking

Cons

  •  Not easily accessible 
  •  Not ideal for beginners

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Dinosaur Valley State Park is named after dinosaurs that used to roam the muddy sections in the past (the 1600s). Their preserved tracks are traceable in the bed of the Paluxy River which is about an hour and a half from Dallas. 

The park has about 20 miles of challenging trails for hiking and biking. It’s also good for other activities such as geocaching. The terrain is rugged with most trails crossing the Paluxy River where bridges are non-existent. 

Dinosaur Valley State Park isn’t the best-maintained trail around Dallas. However, it may be the best that you can get in North Texas. You have to pay an entrance fee if you want to access the trails. Adults pay about $7 while children below 13 years get in free. 

You should note that like any other trail, Dinosaur Valley State Park can be treacherous during the rainy seasons. That is why it remains closed until the rains are over. Before planning to visit the park, ensure you get the weather forecast by calling 254-897-4588. On the upside, in normal weather conditions, the park opens from 7 am to 10 pm. 

Pros

  • 20-mile trail length
  • Best for hiking, biking, and geocaching
  • Rugged terrain
  • Opens from 7 am to 10 pm
  • It has beautiful views of the Paluxy River

Con

  • There is an entrance fee
  • No bridges to cross the Paluxy River

Trinity Trails

Trinity trails feature 40 miles of scenic pathways. The trails have several trailheads. One of them is the newly opened Airfield Falls Conservation Park. It’s bordered by Farmers Branch and Kings Branch arms of the Trinity River. 

The good thing about these trails is that they feature a paved trail section leading down to Kings Branch. It bridges over both arms of the Trinity River. If you are looking for updated information on the trails, you can check out their website here

Before riding on any Trinity trails ensure you crosscheck with the website to avoid getting lost if you are a visitor or a beginner. These trails are very environmental-friendly. They follow the waterway to the waterfall. Additionally, they are also beautifully landscaped with drought-tolerant plants and butterfly-attracting plants. 

Pro

  • 40-mile trail length
  • It has several trailheads
  • There’s a website offering up-to-date trail information
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Beautifully landscaped trails

Cons

  • Best for a fun family cycling experience
  • Spacious parking lots

River Legacy Park

Along the Trinity River in Arlington lies River Legacy Park. It features 8 miles of paved bike trails. This is combined with 10 miles of off-road mountain bike trails ranging from moderate to challenging.

The 1,000-plus-acre park opens from 5 am to 10 pm. You should note that the wooded areas are a natural habitat for hundreds of wildlife species. These include turtles, snakes, wild boars, raccoons, armadillos, and bobcats. This means riders should be cautious and strictly observe trail etiquette.

Even though they are not yet complete, River Legacy trails intend to link Fort Worth and Dallas. Plans are also underway to extend the eastern portion to 360 (State Highway). This is the point where Grand Prairie and Fort Worth join. 

Pros

  • 8-mile paved trail/10-mile off-road trail
  • Best for both intermediate and experienced riders
  • 1,000 plus acre park
  • It’s open daily from 5 am to 10 pm
  • Challenging terrain for experienced riders

Cons

  • The trails are not yet complete
  • Riders should be cautious of wildlife

Colleyville Nature Center Trail

Colleyville Nature Center trail is a 46-acre urban paradise with about 3.5 miles of multi-purpose trails. The trail features the natural refuge’s nine ponds. These provide a backdrop for inspiring views. This is combined with a haven for wildlife such as geese, ducks, and herons. So riders should ensure that they are cautious and observe trail etiquette. 

The trail meanders through thick forests along the creek’s edge. One good thing about Colleyville is that the Nature Center has preserved one of the wonders of nature. Riding on these trails allows you to disconnect from the stresses of life and connect with nature. 

There is an easily accessible paved trail near Little Bear Creek that runs into a densely wooded area. From here, the rest of the trail is unpaved. Note that the trail connects with other ponds. This is together with scattered park benches and picnic tables that feature nicely shaded rest zones. 

Colleyville Nature Center trail is a great hidden gem located in the middle of Colleyville. 

Pros

  • 3.5 miles of multi-use trails
  • It features the natural refuge’s nine ponds
  • It provides a haven for wildlife
  • There are picnic tables featuring nicely shaded rest zones
  • Relaxing wonders of nature

Cons

  • Some sections are unpaved
  • Riders need to be cautious of wildlife

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park is one of the most popular mountain bike trails in Dallas. It was designed by DORBA. According to the organization’s website, the park is described as mostly a dry land patch with roots and some rocks. 

The terrain is flat with creek crossings and rock-strewn areas. The trails are good for climbing, switchbacks, and downhill riding. The largest trail is a triple-loop biking trail. The shortest loop features about 2.5 miles while the middle loop runs for 7 miles. 

If you are planning to bike a longer distance, you can take the outside loop. Being the largest it measures about 10 miles. The winding paths feature plenty of ups and downs and cover both open and wooded areas.

However, they are not captured on the Cedar Hill State Park website. This means in case you are looking for an awesome mountain bike trail in Dallas, try it out. The trail opens at 8 am and closes at 10 pm. Call 972-291-3900 in advance to inquire about additional information you may need about the trail.

Pros

  • 19.5-mile trail length
  • It features creek crossings and rock-strewn zones
  • Best for both uphill/downhill
  • Maintained by DORBA
  • Plenty of winding paths

Cons

  • The website doesn’t display the winding paths
  • Not ideal for children not accompanied by an experienced rider

Honorable Mentions – MTB Trails in Dallas

Apart from the 8 above, I discovered some MTB trails in Dallas were coming up. I thought it would be wise to add them to this list to give you a comprehensive list. They are:

Harry Moss Park

A small and wooded park straddles White Rock Creek at the northern edge of the White Rock Greenbelt. It’s the Harry Moss Park that offers North Dallas some urban relief. The park is a multi-use outdoor space offering the public various use of MTB trails, as well as fishing, creek, and sports fields access.

DORBA, in partnership with the city of Dallas, has created a system of loops made up of 6 miles of the single-track mountain bike trail. The trail is well maintained by DORBA. There are a total of 7 loops that have access to White Rock Creek, trail bypasses, and wooden obstacle features.

Despite the park being surrounded by residential and industrial zones, it’s unsuspectingly wooded. You get a sense of remoteness thanks to the fact that every foot of the trail is canopy-covered. Want to start your journey? Drop into the outer blue loop from the main trailhead at the north end.

This portion of the track is dominated by several sections of multiple, and twists and turns. Ideally, they are similar to a BMX circuit if you can peddle hard to get up to the speed required for such. Take note there are several man-made obstacles made of wood. They are available throughout this section, although they are marked well with bypasses before you get to each.

Soon, you get to some long flowing areas headed south to a sharp turn at Walnut Hill. This section is a single track with dirt berms littering the trail. You can choose to go with the Orange or Yellow loop to the north, or the Green loop that plunges along with Walnut Hill to the east. The Green loop reaches the Purple loop turnoff, which is the longest stretch of trail.

Pros

  • Great for beginner and intermediate riders
  • The addition of wooden obstacles gives advanced riders a quick fun ride
  • Access to White Rock Lake
  • Free parking

Cons

  • Overnight parking is prohibited

Gateway Park

The Gateway Park trail is a mixed-use park filled with baseball and soccer fields. The park offers two sets of MTB paths for riders who want to blaze off on a beaten path. There are two MTB paths certified by the Fort Worth Mountain Biking Association. Each side of the Trinity River has a mountain biking path. The eastern path is longer than the western path.

Beginners will love the western path considering its mostly flat terrain. You can access it through the traffic circle near the parking lot to the soccer/rugby fields.

The eastern path can be accessed from multiple points. One entrance is near the entrance to the cycling/running paths of the Trinity Trails.

Bikers in search of an intermediate run find the eastern path to be the best choice. The terrain is moderate and it’s longer with loops. You also get the chance to out and back to the western path. The path offers a fair experience for riders looking for a long and secluded path through hilly and wooded terrain.

Pros

  • Access to paved trails for breaks
  • Offers two different paths
  • The eastern path is long and great for intermediate riders
  • Western path is a great experience for beginner riders
  • Dogs are allowed

Cons

  • The park closes at dusk

Horseshoe Trail

If you are looking for a long and strenuous ride, then Horseshoe Mountain Bike Trail is a good bet. It has approximately 5.4 miles of off-road paths. It’s great for a quick in and out experience on your bike.

From the Western trailhead, go north on the paved path for 100 feet where you’ll see a trail on your left. Cutting down the path will lead you to a root-laden single track into the forest. Next, you will move to soft dirt allowing speeding up.

You will ride until you get to a creek on your left. You can take a break and appreciate the sounds and beauty of the wilderness around you. From this point, things will get difficult and that’s why I recommend taking a break here.

You will now experience quick short climbs and steep drops that will keep you pedaling until you get to the eastern trailhead. You will ride through switchbacks and tight turns as the trail meander the forest. This is at the southern end of the loop. You finish by getting to an easier portion of the trail where I recommend you get your heart pumping.

Pros

  • It can be completed in an hour
  • Great for bikers of all skill levels
  • Great for riders who have minimal time to complete a circuit
  • Marked with over 70 directional signs
  • Riders can pedal fast and hard throughout the trail

Cons

  • Not challenging for expert riders

Summary of other Popular Dallas MTB Trails

The following is a summarized list of other popular mountain bike trails that may interest you. I have provided a summary of each to help you get an idea of the length and main features.

  1. Crooked Tree Trail Loop – It has a length of 3.4 km. with an estimated duration of 53 minutes
  2. Dragonfly Trail – Estimated duration is 1 hour and length is 3.9 km
  3. Oak Cliff Red Loop – Length is 4.7 km with an estimated duration of 1 hour and 17 minutes
  4. Pak Cliff White and Blue Loop – Estimated time is 1 hour 17 minutes and the trail length is 4.8 km
  5. Big Cedar Trail – Length is 5.1 km with an estimated duration of 1 hour 23 minutes
  6. Oak Cliff Yellow Loop – Length is 4.8 km with an estimated duration of 1 hour 17 minutes
  7. Katie Jackson Park Blue, Black, and Yellow Loop – Total length is 5.0 km with an estimated duration of 1 hour 19 minutes
  8. Boulder Park Trail – Estimated duration is 1 hour 47 minutes with a length of 6.4 km
  9. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Outer Loop – Wooded trail with 10.5 km length and estimated duration of 2 hours 51 minutes

FAQs

Question: Is North Shore the Largest Trail in Dallas?

Answer: No, it isn’t. However, the North Shore trail is among the largest trails in Dallas with a length of 22.5 miles. It’s located in the middle of 2 big cities of Fort Worth and Dallas. 

Question: How Long is the Dinosaur Valley State Park Trail?

Answer: It’s approximately 20 miles long. 

Question: Where Can I Park While In the Trinity Skyline Trail?

Answer: There are numerous parking points in the Trinity Skyline Trail. They include:
• Trammel Crow Park, TX 75207, and 3700 Sylvan Avenue. Dallas
• Continental Avenue Bridge, TX 75207, and West Dallas Gateway 
• Trinity Overlook, TX 75205, and 110 W. Commerce Street. Dallas

Question: Is there an Entry Fee in the Dinosaur Valley State Park?

Answer: Yes, there is. Adults pay about $7 while children below 13 years get in free. 

Bottom Line

Dallas features mountain bike trails that are challenging and fun for all levels of riders. The good thing about the trails in Dallas is that most of them are free. However, for trails like North Shore and Dinosaur Valley State Park, you have to pay an entry fee. That said, all these trails are great. Just make sure you do due diligence before you go on one. 

If you are looking for a trail with varied terrain featuring beautiful views, then choose the North Shore trail. It runs along Grapevine Lake providing beautiful views and scenery from the lake’s shore and cliffs.  Apart from biking, are you also a fan of geocaching? If yes, then visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. The park offers an arena for geocaching. However, you have to pay an entry fee. 

Would you prefer riding on a trail that connects you with nature? If yes, Colleyville Nature Center Trail is a suitable option. Riding on the trails allows you to disconnect from the stresses of life and connect with nature. The trail features scattered park benches and picnic tables with nice rest zones. 

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