Hikers can be strange birds. They like to travel alone or with only a few friends, looking for solitude and commune with nature. Hiking with a small army tramping through the bushes is no fun. Maybe that’s why we haven’t been able to find any hiking clubs in the Plano-Frisco-McKinney area.
There is a Meetup group, Dallas Wildlife, a rather loosely organized group of enthusiasts who hike around the Metroplex, and travel to the Hill Country and other Texas spots. The club has a good following but some of their outings can get a little crowded.
Because the area is so developed, there aren’t a lot of places to go hiking in Dallas and Collin counties. There are several in South Dallas, but for this article we’ll stick with the options for hikers in north Dallas County and southern Collin County.
The Trinity Trail at Lake Lavon is a shared hiking and horseback riding trail, watch where you step. It’s 9 miles long and travels around the southwest border of the lake near the intersection of CR 384 and 389. Not much tree cover, but it can be a fun hike.
White Rock Lake in northeast Dallas has a 9.3 mile paved trail. The section on the east side of the lake has some tree cover and shade. It can get crowded on the weekends, and you share the trail with joggers and bike riders.
There are several nature trails at the Heard Museum in McKinney. The longest is a little over a mile and takes you through wooded environments. They re rated easy. The only problem is you have to pay an admission fee to access the trails.
There are two trail areas in Plano. The Arbor Hills Nature Center is a city park on the west side at 6701 W. Parker Road. It covers 200 acres and has both paved and dirt trails. The Outer Loop trail leads you to a creek bed for those who enjoy creek walking. Oak Point Park is at Jupiter Road and Los Rios Blvd. It’s over 800 acres and has numerous trail options, some in deeply wooded old growth forest. No bikes are permitted on the soft trails.
If you want to drive a little, the Eisenhower State Park at Lake Texoma in Denison has three hiking trails. The Armadillo Nature Trail runs less than a mile and is an easy shaded walk. The Ike’s Hike and Bike Trail is a shared trail with mountain bikers. It runs a little over 3 miles and is considered moderate, maybe even a little difficult in some areas. The Chinquapin Ridge Trail is really for dirt bikes and ATV’s, but hikers can use it too. It runs 3.3 miles and is rated easy to moderate.
D Magazine had a particularly good article on area hiking several years ago. It’s still available online.