Actual Mountains Or No, There’s Plenty Of Good Mountain Biking Trails In Dallas.
When one thinks of mountain bike destinations, Dallas is one of the least likely places they would consider. However, the Dallas Off Road Biking Association (DORBA) has spent thousands of hours working to transform Dallas’ flat features into fun, challenging mountain bike trails for the public to enjoy.
There are over 20 trails listed on the site, all within an hour’s drive of Downtown Dallas, all of which are maintained by the DORBA volunteers and ready for your riding pleasure.
What are the best trails though? Which ones should you try? Which ones are good for beginners? And which ones should you avoid at all cost? Here we attempt to point your knobbed tires in the right direction.
7601 Greenville Avenue.
Assuming you live in the city of Dallas, this is by far the closest and most convenient trail for the beginner to intermediate rider. Hidden on the north end of White Rock Lake behind a Buckeye liquor store, this six-mile trail provides enough features to wet your whistle, but does not offer up much in the way of technical challenges. Don’t think the lack of challenge means this trail isn’t fun, though. Quite the contrary, this is a fast, twisting path with several fun drops thrown in for good measure. It is suitable for a seasoned CX rider or the whole family. One major downside to this trail is the trash that accumulates from it being so close to Walnut Hill, which serves as an unsightly distraction from the escape of being in nature. Such is to be expected being in the center of the big city, unfortunately. This is a go-to trail if you want a fast, convenient park without having to pack up for a haul across the Metroplex.
2875 Pierce Street.
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is located in the middle of Oak Cliff off West Illinois Avenue and Westmoreland Road. Don’t let the industrial setting of the park fool you; there is an impressive amount of technical mountain biking packed into this small footprint. The eight-mile trail is split into six loops of varying difficulty, with a small jump park located in the middle for the more adventurous riders. This trail has some fast, flat sections for beginners and boasts technical climbs that will knock the breath out of even the more seasoned riders. However, as many of the regulars will tell you, stick with it and the terrain will become second nature. This park is best suited for beginner to intermediate riders, but there are a couple of challenging sections for expert riders to enjoy. Be sure to watch out for hikers, though, the tenants of the adjacent apartment complex like to walk the trail with their families and block the entire path with a slow-moving human wall.
2525 Castle Drive, Garland.
Located at the northeastern outskirts of DFW, on the border between Garland and Rowlett, lies this unassuming trail. Rowlett Creek Preserve is one of the best trails for those who want convenience, don’t mind flat parks, and are looking for a place where they can pick up the speed. The 12-mile trail is, for the most part, flat and twisting, but there are some impressive technical climbs and drops to keep the intermediate to expert riders interested. The northern loops feature more technical challenges while the southern loops are longer, flatter stretches of trail.
11 Saddleridge Drive.
Fun fact about this location; one of the highest peaks in Dallas is located atop this trail, measuring in at a whopping 780 feet above sea level! Big Cedar is the closest thing to a mountain that Dallas can claim and, as such, it has become one of the meccas for local mountain biking connoisseurs. The trail is located on private church property, known as “Prayer Mountain,” and requires a waiver to be filled out before riding. But it’s totally worth the trouble. There are over 28 miles of well-maintained trails to keep you busy, and there’s some especially well built jumps close to the entrance for the braver mountain bikers and BMX riders. This trail has a bit of everything; suitable for the beginner or the advanced rider.
880 Simmons Road, Flower Mound.
Located on the northern side of Grapevine Lake, the aptly named Northshore is the most famous and well ridden trail in Dallas, hands down. This trail is the crown jewel of DORBA, and the one that is unanimously considered the one to ride in DFW. It has a bit of everything: fast sections, tight tree paths, technical climbs, water features, rocks, drops and jumps. There are over 22 miles of trails to explore, split into two main loops, the east and west. The east loop is for the beginner/intermediate rider, and the west loop is considerably more technical, intended for the more intermediate and expert level riders. However, with the recent flooding issues born from last year’s record-breaking rainfall, Northshore has been out of commission for some time. The US Army Corps of Engineers has been keeping tabs on the area and provides updates on the water level conditions. As it stands right now the trail is currently about six feet below water, but DORBA eye-witness reports state that the level is decreasing daily. So keep checking their site for updates on when it becomes rideable again.
Isle du Bois Unit 100 PW 4137, Pilot Point.
This is the worst trail in DFW, period. There is nothing fun about this trail, and to add insult to injury, Lake Lewisville even makes you pay to ride it. If you enjoy masochism, rocks, hills and sand, then by all means ride this trail. If, like most people, you want to have fun, stick to any one of the trails mentioned above. This trail is 11 miles of swearing, walking you bike up rocky hills, walking your bike through sandy tracks, running out of water, throwing your bike down in frustration and wishing you were anywhere else. Forget Guantanamo, this place is real torture. Technical challenges are a wonderful part of mountain biking, but this trail does them so poorly it drains everything great out of the sport. The lines lack flow, sand sections aren’t traversable and the rocky hills are unnecessarily rough, almost unmaintained. This is a trail that only gluttons for punishment would dare enjoy.