Situated in Dallas in the Uptown District, the 3.5 mile Katy Trail is a paved trail that is a favorite among locals. Once a long time eyesore of abandoned railroad tracks, it has since been turned into a major recreational hub for urbanites.
In the year 2000, Dallas started construction on the old MKT (Katy) rail line in order to turn this abandoned set of tracks into an urban park. Today, this area is known as The Katy Trail. Situated in Dallas in the Uptown District, this 3.5 mile paved trail is a favorite among locals. This long time eyesore has now been turned into a city getaway to local Dallas enthusiasts for major recreational activity. Add to it the numerous restaurants, bars, and shops along the trail and one can understand the major draw this location has for locals and visitors alike.
What Makes it Great
Unlike many traditional trails and roadways for running, the Katy Trail has numerous access points to service runners from a variety of neighborhoods. The trail starts at the American Airlines center to its south, and provides an open trailhead to its downtown Dallas and West End patrons. Over 3.5 miles to it’s north, the trail ends near SMU at the Mockingbird station.
Along the trail itself, the Friends of the Katy Trail has commissioned and built over 4 official entrance plazas with water fountains and benches. In addition to these entrances there are several unofficial spots to enter the trail. With this type of easy access, The Katy Trail is widely used on a daily basis. The mainstay of the trail is anchored with a 12 foot wide concrete road. This road is used by bikers, walkers, skaters, and runners. For those looking to run long distances, 3 miles of the trail has a 8 foot wide soft surface running path that can be run back and forth to log your miles. This can save a runner's knees, and keeps the runner off the main path when traffic is at its peak.
Along much of the north end of the trail, tree canopy covers the paths and provide welcome shade from the hot summer sun. The south end runs through a total of 3 parks, and provides plenty of side runs if one chooses to veer off the main road. Spectacular views of Dallas dominate the scene on this run, and can be seen through the tree canopy and when running over the old rail bridges on the trail.
Who is Going to Love It
Business professionals will benefit greatly from this trail. With its easy access and close proximity to the business districts of Dallas, an early morning and afternoon run is easily fit around a busy work schedule. Seeing that it runs through many neighborhoods, locals will benefit from the trail access as well, providing a closer running option than the beautiful White Rock Lake Trail.
Directions, Parking, & Fees
One major complaint about the trail is the parking access – which is why mainly locals visit it. At either trailhead there is street parking and meter parking available. There are various parking garages that can be found along the trail as well, with varying costs. In addition to those options, street parking can be found throughout the many neighborhoods along the trail if you know which entrance you’re aiming at.
*Aaron Stavinoha is the co-founder of MissionSummit.net, an organization that raises money for a cancer patient fund through outdoor activities and mountain climbs.