Fort Worth Nature Center - Hiking

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Fort Worth Nature Center is a remarkable park and nature education center located on Fort Worth, just north of the city of Fort Worth. The park includes a small herd of bison, a prairie dog city, alligators resident in the lake, and the Hardwicke Interpretive Center with exhibits on the flora and fauna of Lake Worth.

Written by

Brian Witte


0.1 miles

The Fort Worth Nature Center has several trail options, ranging from around 1.5 miles to 5 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

41.4 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

0 hours

Depends on the trail you choose.


All Seasons

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits


$5 per adult, $2 for children, $3 seniors. $1 discount with military ID. Texas State Parks Pass does not apply.



Fort Worth Nature Center offers a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna within the DFW metroplex.  Although none of the trails are especially rigorous or remote, the mix of interesting animals, old growth forest and wetlands rare in this part of Texas make for a worthwhile weekend visit.

What Makes It Great

The Fort Worth Nature Center has several trail options.  All of them cover relatively flat terrain near Lake Worth.  There are a few trail sections that pass through prairie regions, but most of the trails are under dense forest cover, which can make for much more pleasant summer walking.  Unfortunately, there is really no part of the park outside of the range of traffic noise as it is surrounded on all sides by major thoroughfares.   

Greer Island is a pleasant ~1.5 mile lake-level walk along soft, forested trails with a chance to see the Lake Worth marsh up close.  The network of looping trails on Greer Island can be a little confusing, but if you keep taking the right fork, you’ll come back to the start point before too long.

The Cross Timbers Trail, across the Trinity River from the rest of the park, offers the closest approximation of wildness.  The river bottomland here is one of the few places in North Central Texas that has not been logged.  Many of the trees here are huge and sample cores have shown that many of them are several hundred years old.  Although Cross Timbers trail is only 3.5 miles round trip from the trailhead, it is possible to put together a longer loop. 

Starting at the Hardwicke Visitor Center (with it’s chilled water fountains and indoor flush toilets), a counter-clockwise path along the Trinity River on the Riverbottom to Deer Mouse to Oak Motte (via a left turn), to Wild Plum South, to Forked Tail Creek, to Marsh Board Walk, and back along the Riverbottom Trail adds up to ~5 miles.  This loop would cover riverside, prairie and wetland habitats, along with close-up views of the bison and prairie dog habitat.  Adding in the Cross Timbers Trail mentioned above would bring the hike to over 8 miles, with a minimum of backtracking.  If you began your hike elsewhere, such as the Bison Range parking area, the visitor center would make a perfectly placed half-way pit stop.

Who is Going to Love It

Hikers looking for a quick dose of nature on moderately challenging trails, people looking to see native Texas animals, families with children and hikers looking for a taste of nature without leaving the metro area.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The Fort Worth Nature Center is 10 miles from downtown Fort Worth, 55 miles from downtown Dallas at 9601 Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Worth, TX 76135.

Open 7 am - 5 pm on weekdays and  7 am – 7 pm on weekends.  The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am – 4:30 pm.

Call 817-392-7410 to check trail conditions.  During the record rainfall of May 2015, many trails were underwater.


Fort Worth Nature Center Hiking

9601 Fossil Ridge Road
Ft. Worth, TX, 76135
32.843443, -97.477225

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