Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trails in the Great Trinity Forest Dallas, Texas

Only started this blog to fill in a large gap of information that exists about the trails, trail network and recreation available in an area the City of Dallas calls "The Great Trinity Forest". It seems to be impossible to find any information about what exists in roughly 6000 acres of undeveloped land south and east of Downtown Dallas in an area bounded by I-20 on the south, I-30 on the north, Jim Miller on the east and I-35 to the west.

I started looking into what was down there several years ago and really did not come up with much. The "forest" is managed under an umbrella of government agencies federal, state, county, city. There is not alot of cross talk between them and their underlying goals seem to differ. The Corps of Engineers seems to take precedent over all others since their responsibility is flood protection, levees, the waterway and engineering. The alphabet soup of agencies seem to tie each other in knots.

In addition to government agencies a number of non-profit groups run nature centers, trail construction and activities in the area. The Dallas Audubon Center on Loop 12, The Texas Horse Park on Elam Road both are making substantial investments for the future in this area.

For more information visit their websites:

The non-profit responsible for quite a bit of soft surface/natural surface construction in the Great Trinity Forest is a group called Groundwork Dallas. They have built a number of miles of soft surface trail in the White Rock Valley south of Scyene Road and north of Hwy 175. They have also built trails in the Rochester Park area south of 175 and east of the Hwy 310 bridge.

They have built some exceptional trails in Dallas over the last several years.

I have often wondered why I never see others out on these trails. They are in the middle of the city, have some amazing views. I have been asked numerous times where or how someone can get to the trails but cannot point them in the right direction. Hopefully I can add some of what I know or have stumbled upon myself.


  1. First, this is a really great web site. Thanks.

    Second, are these trails connected? I would love to do a crazy 12 mile trail run from Riverwood Rd through Rochester park.

  2. Jason,

    You should be able run from McCommas Bluff at Riverwood to Rochester Park. I have done it on a mountain bike without any real problems. In order to do it you need to travel through the back gate of the Trinity River Audubon Center. If it's locked then you are in trouble since the detour is very long.

    Since many of these trails and paths are currently being built, you might try a run from the Joppa Preserve at Simpson Stuart Road, north through Joppa, across Loop 12 and then along the dirt road through the chain of lakes.

    If you give me an idea of how far you want to run and where I can give you an idea of where to go. Much of it depends on the weather, river and standing water.

  3. My name is Peter~ GroundWork Dallas~
    I would be happy to take any one on a driving tour of the forest and trails~
    just get in touch with us at to set it up!!

    1. Hi Peter,
      I would be very interested in taking the driving tour of the Forest
      and finding out where the trail heads and trails are. Mainly the dirt
      I have found a few, but a lot of dead ends or over grown.
      I do a lot of hiking and have to drive a long ways. So to find some
      good trails here in town would be great. My name is Joe at Thanks,

  4. Peter here again.

    If anyone wants to help maintain the trails in the northern part of the Great Trinity Forest, the 2 nd Saturday of the month is when we lead our volunteers out onto the trails.
    We also have an adopt a trail program that groups and community companies are welcom to be involved with.
    Contact us at our office 214-269-5692 for more information.

    Come and enjoy the magic of the Forest in our own back yard..

    If you start at the scyene overlook you can go several miles through the Dorset on connected soft surface trails all the way Dow to the story telling place.

    More trails will be coming on line over the next couple years.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I am the president of the Pemberton Hill Community Asc. and would like to know about the trails behind our properties. We have never been contacted about them, or about the Horse Park either. We have tried to be involved in the development of this area, but have been left completely out by the City even though we have tried for years to get the people in charge to contact us. "Community involvment" was cited as one of the three main priciples of the Horse Park, but our experience has been the opposite. I will email the above address for the ground works group and maybe they will be more helpful than the City.

    1. Wow! Just read this article. Please contact Tracie Reed. We have taken this very problem to another level. Don't want to talk much on this blog. Welcome to call me (214) 466-3365, I would like to share our strategy and what we have going on.

  7. Thanks for the note, President of the Pemberton Hill Community Association! I worry for the homeowners along Pemberton Hill Road. The city has a track record of not being very fair with people who call that area home. Many promises have been made with not much clarity on when or if anything will ever happen. Let me know if I can help.

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