When people think about Dallas they think shopping malls and highways. They should think about tree-covered paths and limestone escarpments. Cedar Ridge Preserve sits 20 minutes to the southwest of downtown Dallas. The eight miles of trails in this nature area run up and down ridges that give a scenic view of Joe Pool Lake and ample exposure to the North Texas Blackland Prairie ecosystem. Many of the trails in this nature preserve have lookout towers.
What Makes It Great
Cedar Ridge Preserve maintains their 13 trails well. The majority of them have a pebble covering. Rebar-enforced logs or stones stabilize all of the serious inclines. Many short trails, the longest at 1.9 miles, make up the area. Runners looking for smoother footings and more mild inclines should start with the trails to the north of the Education Center: Bluebonnet, Mulberry, Prairie, Park in the Woods, and Backstage Pass trails.
Sure-footed runners looking for a good cardio challenge would enjoy the trails to the south of the Education Center. To access those areas follow the Cattail Pond and Escarpment trails, both of which follow the top of a ridge and have little elevation change until the end where they descend toward the pond and connect to the more difficult inclines found on Fossil Valley and Cedar Brake trails. Fossil Valley Trail contains the two most dramatic inclines and a great view of the area. Cedar Brake Trail makes a loop that starts with a descent and incline, follows the ridge top, and then ends with another descent and incline. Escarpment Trail serves as a maintenance road for this area of the preserve.
Who is Going to Love It
Even if you’re just looking for a picnic stop, this preserve supplies relief from the buzz of traffic. Many short trails connect to either the Education Center or off of Cattail Pond Trail. These short trails enable a multitude of running routes without repeating the same one over and over, providing a varied workout experience.
Adventurers who love wildflowers, birds, and old trees, but would prefer to have them all to themselves should consider visiting on a weekday. The trails tend to fill up on Saturday and Sunday. Both the Education Center and Little Bluestem Trail provide handicap accessibility. This preserve welcomes dogs on leashes.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Follow I-35E South from downtown Dallas. Keep right at the fork to stay on US-67 S for Cleburne. Take the Danieldale Rd exit and turn right. Stay on it until you see the Cedar Ridge Preserve sign on the left. Park at the Educational Center. You can’t miss this area, the entrance road off of Mountain Creek Parkway leads right to it. Restrooms, drinking fountains, picnic tables, and dog waste stations ensure your run won’t be ended short by needing to head to a nearby gas station. Cedar Ridge Preserve requires no fee but suggests a $3 donation.
The area closes on Mondays and preserve hours change for summer and winter. All year the preserve opens at 6:30am. In the summer, April 1st to October 31st, it closes at 8:30pm. In the colder season, November 1st through March 31st, it closes at 6pm.