Use DART as your guide to hit the trails

bikes-White-Rock-Lake
Think the Dallas area isn’t green? Think again. Hidden among the high-rises and shopping centers, there are plenty of outdoors destinations perfect for an early spring bike ride or stroll.

Whether you’re looking for a vigorous workout or a day in the park, DART is your gateway to our region’s large – and growing – hike-and-bike network.

Here’s where:

White Rock Lake Trail is the granddaddy of local hike & bike trails, and it’s much more extensive than the ring around the lake. From just east of White Rock Station, you can head south to that familiar nine-mile loop, or shoot north to the less-traveled, forested White Rock Creek Trail, which follows the rambling creek seven-plus miles to LBJ Freeway.

Bachman Lake is another mainstay for local hikers and bikers, with a paved trail that meanders along the lake’s shore, passing geese, ducks, groves of cypress trees and such. It’s also the premier spot on Earth for sighting orange-and-purple planes – Love Field is situated immediately south of the lake. With a length of precisely 5 kilometers, this is the perfect place for serous runners to time-train. It’s located just to the northeast of Bachman Station.

Since opening in 2000, The Katy Trail has quickly become one of Dallas’ most popular hike-and-bike trails. The former rail corridor extends from the American Airlines Center – where it is accessible via Victory Station through the Turtle Creek greenbelt running through the heart of the city, to the edge of Highland Park north of Knox Street. Around the midway point of this 3.5-mile trail, you can pause for refreshment at a couple of al fresco cafés that directly face the trail.

When the Orange Line opened last summer, it forged yet another rail-to-trail connection: The Campion Trail is a paved path extending through both wooded and open areas along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River from North Irving just east of Las Colinas Urban Center Station, north six and a half miles to Valley Ranch. This trail offers a bonus to mountain bike riders, as there are several unpaved detours that lead to wilder areas off the, well, beaten path.

Cottonwood Trail wends its way roughly from Spring Valley Road to Royal Lane– and it can be accessed from the southwest corner of the parking lot of Forest Lane Station. (Just south of the station, the trail’s southern terminus meets up with White Rock Creek Trail.) The paved path is fairly new and very smooth, making it a great choice for roller bladers. It runs through mostly through residential areas, and features extensive landscape and sitting areas. Envisioned as a “livable cities” project that provides a viable transportation option for bikers and pedestrians, the trail offers access to major shopping areas, transportation, medical facilities and educational institutions.

The Chisholm Trail in Plano is a good half-mile from Downtown Plano Station (take 15th Street west, just across U.S. 75) but it’s worth the trek: The trail connects a strand of city parks and extends north along the banks of Spring Creek all the way to Legacy Drive. The mostly flat greenbelt eventually joins a second greenbelt— the east-to-west-running Bluebonnet Trail—just before reaching its northern terminus.

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