Now that the weather is cooler, it is prime time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in North Texas. Though DFW might seem like a maze of freeways and skyscrapers, there are actually a number of places you can get away from traffic and get closer to nature.
Whether you prefer biking, hiking, climbing, picnicking, or playing organized sports, we have plenty of options for people who like to be active outdoors.
As part of our DARTable series, we’re highlighting some of the best destinations that can easily be reached by taking DART. Besides avoiding the hassle of driving and trying to find parking, taking transit helps reduce traffic and emissions, keeping the air cleaner and our green spaces greener.
So load up your bike, strap on your running shoes, and hop aboard for a day out in the sun.
Trinity River Audubon Center
If you’re looking for real nature in the middle of a big city, the Trinity River Audubon Center is the place to start. Nestled among wetlands, blackland prairie, and the 9-square-mile Great Trinity Forest — one of the largest urban forests in the country — the Audubon Center offers hiking, bird watching, picnicking, and more. Try some honey from the onsite beehives, learn about local wildlife in the exhibit hall, or take a class on conservation.
How to get there: Take the Green Line to Buckner Station, and then bus route 466 to Great Trinity @ Longacre (stop 17691).
Santa Fe Trestle Trail
At the other end of the Great Trinity Forest, the Santa Fe Trestle Trail provides a scenic, smooth path for walking, running, or biking. The namesake trestle crosses the Trinity River, giving a great view of both the water rushing underneath and the downtown Dallas skyline. The Sante Fe Trestle Trail also connects with the Trinity Skyline Trail, providing more than 5 miles of paved trailway between the levees.
How to get there: Take the Red or Blue Line to the 8th & Corinth Station. The trail starts right at the station’s east parking lot.
Lake Cliff Park
For a change of pace, historic Lake Cliff Park offers beautiful landscaping, flowers, fountains, and sports fields. Have a picnic at the stone pavilion or pergola, take a walk around the titular lake, or stroll through the 80-year-old rose garden. If you’re more into sports, there are also tennis courts, basketball courts, and a softball field.
How to get there: Take bus route 021 or 722 to the Colorado @ Zang, stop 31600. Or, from Union Station, you can ride the new Dallas Streetcar to Beckley @ Colorado (stop 32934).
North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center
If you read the word “cliff” above and immediately thought about rock climbing, the North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center is for you. Located in an old grain elevator, the concrete structure features climbing walls ranging from novice to expert, including a 120-foot route that they claim is the tallest indoor climb in the country. As the name would suggest, it’s not all indoors; they also host outdoor climbing, rappelling, hiking, and backpacking courses.
How to get there: Take the Green Line to the Downtown Carrollton Station (or bus route 400 to Belt Line @ Jackson, stop 18914); the North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center is in the big grain elevator to the south alongside the DART tracks.
B.B. Owen Disc Golf Course
The city of Dallas has plenty of golf courses, but only one disc golf course, located at B.B. Owen Park. The 18-hole, 27-acre course winds its way around a wooded creek area, although the fairways themselves are rather open and suitable even for beginners.
How to get there: Take the Blue Line to Lake Highlands Station, and then bus route 475 to Walnut Hill @ Plano Road (stop 28688).
If you’re looking for outdoor sports, Fretz Park probably has you covered. The Far North Dallas park has facilities for swimming, soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, and basketball, plus an indoor recreation center. For biking or long-distance running, it also provides access to the Preston Ridge Trail, which connects to the Cottonwood Creek Trail — and which, in turn, connects to the White Rock Creek, White Rock Lake, and Santa Fe Trails. Add in a street connection between the Dallas and Plano portions of Preston Ridge, and that’s more than 37 miles of trails stretching from Deep Ellum all the way to the edge of Frisco.
How to get there: Take bus route 400 to Belt Line @ Meandering Way (stop 20042). The trail system can also be easily reached at other points, including the Cottonwood Creek Trailhead at Forest Lane Station and the White Rock Creek Trail at White Rock Station.
To explore all that the Dallas area has to offer (both outdoors and indoors), check out our full list of DARTable Gems at DART.org/dartable.