Hiking up to the Scyene Overlook at Piedmont Ridge. (Photo by Ben Sandifer)

Coronavirus

The Best Trails to Visit When Avoiding the Katy Trail and White Rock Lake

Get out and hike—and avoid others this weekend and beyond.

Last weekend, Dallas Parks and Recreation had to keep you away from each other. The popular Katy Trail and White Rock Lake were magnets for antsy, homebound Dallasites, so much so that County Judge Clay Jenkins had to threaten shutting them down. It didn’t come to that, but it did come to fliers and light warnings and, at White Rock Lake, the closure of vehicular access points, as Trace Miller detailed yesterday.

It doesn’t have to be like this. It shouldn’t be like this. And even though rain is in the forecast this weekend, you will need the following words in the future: go to another trail. If you’re reading this, I bet you either live in Dallas or you live close to it. And Dallas is home to the largest hardwood urban forest in the United States. If you’ve driven south on Interstate 45, you’ve seen the dense trees that surround the highway for miles.

You can, and should, explore it. The fauna, which is depicted here by artist Cynthia Mulcahy, is diverse and magnificent. You’ll forget all about the fact that there are skyscrapers just a few miles away from you.

It’s April, but our March cover story was prescient. It was a version of this piece, which attorney and naturalist Bill Holston put together for us. The Trinity River Audubon Center serves a trailhead for four miles through the wetlands that attract birds year-round.

The Texas Buckeye Trail leads you two miles to a patch of buckeyes deep in the forest. Master naturalists maintain these trails, and you can place an order for curbside pickup at the nearby Bonton Farms and bring back food for the week. Further east, the Scyene Overlook and Piedmont Ridge offer some of the best views in all of the Trinity Forest.

These hikes don’t see a ton of traffic, making it easy to physically distance yourself from others. And if you need any convincing, I have uploaded photos from each of the trails in the attached gallery. It’s far more beautiful than a sweating jogger. Take it from Bill Holston, who wrote the feature on this.

“I support whatever our great city and county leaders need to do, in order to enforce social distancing and to flatten the curve. Unimproved nature trails in remote areas are about the safest places,” he said. “As long as people do not congregate, do not hike as a group, and space out on trails they should remain open. It’s especially important to be healthy now, and walking in your neighborhood does not replace being immersed in nature.”

If you missed the link higher up, here it is again. The best places to hike in Dallas.

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