Ray Roberts Lake State Park consists of 9 subsections that straddle the intersection of Denton, Cooke and Grayson counties north of the DFW metro area. The Greenbelt corridor, following the Elm Fork of the Trinity River for much of its 10-mile transit to Lewisville Lake, offers something unique in North Texas: parallel foot, equestrian, bicycle and paddle trails.
What Makes It Great
Unlike many long trails in the DFW area, the 10 miles of the Greenbelt are in a single straight shot, rather than a densely twisting series of loops that never get very far from the trail head. With some planning and an extra vehicle it’s possible to arrange a one-way hike of 4, 6 or 10 miles through mostly quiet riverside forest.
The Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt is something really different from other DFW-area parks. Where most metro-area parks offer long trails that are bent and twisted to fit into a park with a relatively small footprint, the Greenbelt sprawls over 10+ linear miles. Most of the countryside it traverses is quiet farmland, so traffic noise is at a minimum once the trail heads have been left behind. Better still, the Greenbelt follows the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, so you have a constant companion on your walk. The trails themselves are packed soil (on the dirt no-horses trail) or fine gravel (on the horse-positive trail), and vary little in elevation. There are two parallel trails for most of the length of the park. One allows horses, foot and bikes, while horses are not allowed on the other.
On the northern half of the park, between FM 428 and 455, the parallel trails are on opposite sides of the river. In the southern half of the park, between FM 428 and US 380, the trails are close together, but can offer at least a small change of scenery in-bound vs out-bound.
Having FM 428 bisect the trail, however, allows for quite a few options in setting up a hike. Consult the map to figure out your best options. Note, too, that drinking water is available only where the trail meets FM 428 and FM 455.
Who is Going to Love It
This is an excellent hike for people looking to cover some real distance without feeling like they’re walking in circles. Due to the relatively flat terrain and tree cover, this can also be a good hike for hot summer afternoons, or for those looking for tennis-shoe-compatible trails.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Seasonality: 6 am – 10 pm daily. There are camping sites and a lodge available at the near by Isle du Bois unit.
Fees/Permits: $7 per person per day. 12 and under free. $70/year Texas State Parks Pass allows free entry. Camping $10 for primitive sites, $25 for water and electric, $30 for water/electric/sewer. Reservations available online.
North end: “Starting Point of Ray Roberts Hike” (google maps search term) Aubrey, TX 76227
South end (on US 380): “Greenbelt Corridor Park” (google maps search term) Denton, TX 76208