Visitors to Dallas tend to focus on the spectacular display of shopping centers, office buildings, and artistically designed bridges, but insiders know there’s much more to the city than meets the eye. Even in a city filled with gleaming glass and steel, it’s possible to enjoy some outdoor adventure. You just need to know where to look.
There’s nothing more Texan than a horseback ride. Saddle up with Widowmaker Trail Rides, just 10 minutes from the Dallas Fort-Worth Airport, for a rousing good time on the range. Don’t let the name spook you; the horses are selected based on the level of experience and comfort of the rider. You can choose a one-hour or two-hour trail ride.
You might not expect it thanks to all the freeways and overpasses, but Dallas is home to more than 200 miles of off-road bike trails. If biking is your thing, don’t miss the 22-mile Northshore Trail that runs alongside Grapevine Lake. This combination hiking and biking trail has some challenging, rocky terrain, but the eastern half of the trail is a great place for novice or rusty riders to hone their skills.
You won’t find any mountains to climb in the Dallas area, but you can still get in a good hike. One of the most scenic and enjoyable spots for hiking is Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve, which looks more like the Texas Hill Country than South Dallas. Thickets of trees on 600 acres with trails leading to ponds, waterfalls, and other natural surprises make this a great escape.
Whether you prefer to paddle in a kayak or a canoe, the Dallas area has a surprising number of paddling trails that can give you a whole different view of Texas. If you want great views of the Dallas skyline and various new bridges throughout the city, take the Dallas Trinity Paddling Trail. This 10.2-mile trail snakes through downtown and provides some pretty spectacular views. Take note: Novices are better off avoiding the Dallas Wave Whitewater Feature and sticking to the calmer portions of the trail.
For something entirely different, swing through the trees at Trinity Forest Adventure Park. Located in the Great Trinity Forest, just south of downtown Dallas, this park gives a whole new meaning to “logging on” and offers an unexpected nature break just minutes from the city. Choose from a Canopy Tour, Challenge Course, or Zip Line, depending on your interest (or your fear of heights).
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