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Escape to Adventure: Dallas

Travel Insider Guides Teva: Escape To Adventure
by Kristin Conard Jun 17, 2011
Kristin Conard lines out quick adventures with easy access from Dallas, Texas.

TEVA has teamed up with Matador’s global community of outdoors fanatics to show you how to escape to adventure in 12 cities across America. In addition to the article series, we’ll be running an ongoing photo contest. Send us a photo of yourself adventuring abroad or in your back yard and you might win a free pair of new TEVAs.

DALLAS IS THE NINTH largest city in the country, and if you consider the Dallas and Fort Worth together, the city sprawl can seem a tad overwhelming. But with the benefit of generally good weather year-round and some insider tips, you can be on your way to adventure.

Adventure: Hiking

Escape time*: 30 — 40 minutes
Payoff: Lake views and woodland trails

Cedar Hill State Park (easy to moderate, 2.5 to 10 miles) – Near Joe Pool Lake, the park has four hiking trails. The Dorba trail is the largest, and it’s shared with mountain bikers, so keep an eye out and hike counter-clockwise (just follow the signs). It’s a loop trail with differing mileage options from 2.5 to 10+ miles. The Talala trail has a few ups and downs and doesn’t give any lake views, but it winds through open grassland and woods.

Adventure: Canoeing, kayaking, and sailing

Escape Time*: 20 — 40 minutes
Payoff: Views of the Dallas skyline and quick ways to leave the city behind

    • White Rock Lake – You can see the Dallas skyline from the 1015 acre city lake, and the sunsets and sunrises while out on the water are spectacular. It’s also a good spot for bird watching. Boat launches are on the east side of the lake near the Boat Club and on the west side of the lake near Fisher Road.
  • Elm Fork of the Trinity River (easy, ~34 miles) – Flowing south from Lake Lewisville, you can paddle towards Dallas along the river through banks lined with oak and willow trees. There are three dams where you’ll need to portage, particularly the Carrollton Dam, but otherwise it’s a slow, easy ride.
  • Denton Creek (easy to moderate, ~11.5 miles) – Depending on the flow and with some chutes and turns, the flatwater stream Denton Creek between Dallas and Fort Worth is good for beginners and more skilled paddlers. If you’re a newbie, give this one a pass after a heavy rain. You can take it slow and make a day of it, or push through for a half-day trip.
Adventure: Windsurfing

Escape Time*: 40 – 50 minutes
Payoff: Lakes for all winds

  • The manmade Lake Ray Hubbard has four launch sites for windsurfing. One of the most popular is Windsurf Bay Park, also known as “Fire Ant” Park (don’t let the name put you off – the fire ant problem is under control), and it’s best for SE to S winds. For N winds, head to Robertson Park.
  • On Lake Grapevine northwest of Dallas you may have to watch out for power boats, but you can get big swell when the winds are from the NW. From Rockledge Park, the N winds will be offshore with SE and NW winds sideshore. The spot has a good grassy rigging area.
Adventure: Mountain Biking

Escape Time*: 10 – 30 minutes
Payoff: Challenging terrain for all skill levels

  • Boulder Park (beginner to moderate, 9 – 10 miles) – With several single-track options, this park in southwest Dallas has clearly marked trails through the old-growth woods. Once you’re off the paved section, there are creek crossings, a handful of steep hills, and limestone staircases. Shortcuts are available for beginners to bypass some of the tougher parts.
  • Big Cedar Wilderness Trail (moderate to advanced, 9 miles) – You’ll need to have a waiver on file with the park, but it’s worth it as this is considered the area’s best trail. There’s a separate downhill and trials area for experts. The moderate loop trails, a mix of single track and fire roads, wind through hardwood forest and into valleys of mesquite trees and cactus.

*Escape times don’t include possible traffic wait times.

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