The Bushwhacker's Guide to Exploring Dallas

Urban Explorers are ignoring history and unearthing real nature in Dallas. Now it's your turn to follow the trail they've blazed.

Gateway golf course entrance. Coordinates: N32 45.434 W96 42.350. It's on down Jim Miller from the ball diamond less than 0.1 mile on your left. Go into the entrance to Grover Keeton Golf Course. Go the rear parking lot right (north) of the clubhouse. You will see a weathered trail sign on the edge of the lot that says "Gateway Trail." It's an easier way in than the others.


No, Look, This is SERIOUSLY Out There


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Tune Avenue: Nature Post-Apocalypto

Score: 1 (Civilized 0, Wild 10, Skeezy 9)

This place used to be way worse. Groundwork Dallas, a nonprofit, came out here with armies of volunteers and, we hope, gallons of bug repellent, and pulled out vast mountains of tires and other junk dumped in the woods over a half century. Barely visible beneath the undergrowth now are the bleached bones of streets and foundations where a neighborhood was erased decades ago to solve flooding problems.

What you see now is nature coming back with a fury to reclaim the land. It's a window on a process that's the opposite of what most of us have observed all our lives. We've seen cities and suburbs sprawling across the land and erasing every vestige of nature. Here you can see deer, bobcat, coyotes and incredible bird life flooding back in to restore nature's hegemony, as well as wonderful plant and tree diversity and one hell of a lot of poison ivy. What you do not want to find out here — but might — is an occupied pot farm or zombies. Then you need to outrun the deer.

Coordinates: N32 44.556 W96 43.519. Take I-45 south from downtown to exit 283B onto U.S. Highway 175 east toward Kaufman. Go four miles to the 2nd Avenue/Bruton Road exit. Turn right or south halfway around the little cloverleaf, look for Tune Avenue, barely visible on your right. You will see a locked gate ahead. The strange car-wrecking people live just down the little dirt track to your left. You don't want to go down there and poke around. Do you?


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Goat Island: Huck Finn's Hideout

Score: 9 (Civilized 0, Wild 9, Skeezy 0)

A sandy trail lane leads you deep into forested land along the Trinity River. If there was ever an island here, it is no more, but you can sure go deep into the woods and never guess you're 20 miles from downtown. Take water and bug repellent.

Coordinates: N32 37.965 W96 39.736. Go south on I-45 12 miles from downtown to Fulghum Road. Turn left or east on Fulghum Road and go 1.9 miles to Post Oak Road. Turn right (south) 0.3 mile on Post Oak. Post Oak jogs left or east after another 10th of a mile. At the corner where it jogs south again is the entrance to Goat Island.

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19 comments
pooua
pooua

As a photographer, I judge the natural features of an area heavily on their aesthetic value. As an amateur historian and geographer, I am curious why a town is at a certain spot, instead of 10 feet or 10 miles away. As an entrepreneur, I consider the measure of true appreciation for my work the willingness of others to purchase them. Texas in general and Dallas in particular do not rank very high on my list of impressive natural locations right now, as little I find here merits interest.

 

My main intentional photographic types are landscapes, nature and female nudes. I began hiking several years ago to help me find beautiful natural locations where I could photograph nude models. I also discovered that I greatly enjoy skinny-dipping and nude recreation. Unfortunately, Dallas is not a great place for any of these interests. No one wants to see photos of a scrub-choked lot, even if I have a naked woman posing on it, an opinion I base on the willingness of people to pay for copies of such photos. I have an aversion to skinny-dipping with alligators and gars (and copperheads, cottonmouths, snapping turtles, etc.).

 

As for the reason for Dallas' existence... I'm still waiting for that one. The scrub lots next door aren't the answer. But, thanks for the article. I may yet find a great location, and I love to explore.

TiminGRLND
TiminGRLND

Did I miss something; "We've also included a list of valuable websites"?  I swear I didn't miss this when I read the article.  I even came here (online) to see if it was just missing in the print version.

 

Can a more observant reader or the editor/writer clue me in where these websites are listed?

 

Jim and the rest of the writers for Dallas Observer: I enjoy your work and thoroughness on many issues I find important even if officials would prefer me to nevermind (e.g. white water park!, fracking, missing 1.1 million in dallas dump, bicycle lanes, trinity river development that isn't a highway, water quality testing... and so forth)  Keep up the good work.  

Randy
Randy

Rename this article "Where to dump a body in DFW"

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

Thanks for not mentioning this place near Mountain Creek.  Great for exploring, but I think it's owned by an energy company and set for gas drilling.  32.65242,-96.990272

 

Oh, as Perry would say: "oops".

 

Also, thanks for not mentioning this place:  32.685186,-96.978342

Okay, I did that one on purpose.

 

For both of these, the "wild" and "sketch" levels would be scored in exponential nomenclature.  But they are quite pretty and peaceful.

 

Neither of these are park land.  It is probably against the law to go on these properties.  Don't do it.

BillHolston
BillHolston

thanks Jim for this great article. I think it's worth mentioning a couple things: People really should be prepared out there. Hat, water and insect . Jim Flood deserves a lot of credit for being such a great resource on this Forest. He's quick to point out he was inspired by the late great Ned Fritz. Tim Dalby is a walking encyclopedia about the history of this area, including bison, mammoths and native america sites. There's much to explore. Ben's blog http://dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com/ is the best resource out there on this. Thanks for the article Jim. 

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Jim,

This is a great article. I try to remind people that there are plenty of natural places to walk and explore in Dallas county. They just have to be willing to leave their cars and look for the places that others rarely go to.

California Crossing is a great example. I used to work in Las Colinas. I would often go there during lunch or after work and walk the trails. On weekdays, I usually did not see another soul on my entire walk.

South_Irving_Refugee
South_Irving_Refugee

"Some of it is rough going — places where no one should wander alone or unawares. In some, you could get lost or injure yourself in wild and unforgiving terrain. In others you might stumble into criminal activity — never a welcome encounter on a Sunday-morning hike."

 

This is great article on the natural environs of D/FW. You forgot to add avoid the Mexican Cartels and native Negro population on the trails. Otherwise no complaints.

 

 

 

chris02569
chris02569

@TimJordanDFW Explore the big D lol :)

Newtonianphysic
Newtonianphysic

@Dallas_Observer great article. Can't wait until it cools off to head to some of these spots . Less chance of skeezy interaction then.

ClaytonBurris
ClaytonBurris

@kirby_kiefer @Dallas_Observer interesting! and good read... Did you send this to BB?... I hoped it was about werewolves getting bushwacked!

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @South_Irving_Refugee Good point. I will add it here: Persons who ave lived their entire lives in very small gene pools, especially those who are frightened by people who do not look like their cousins, are advised to stay indoors.

kirby_kiefer
kirby_kiefer

@ClaytonBurris that's what I was thinking

South_Irving_Refugee
South_Irving_Refugee

 @JimSX  @South_Irving_Refugee Honestly Jim, I do love your articles and have followed you since I was old enough to read the "Dallas Times Herald". You do slap around the vacant North Dallas clowns with ease.

 

However, the many beautiful public venues in DFW are not safe. You know this and I know this.

 

When's the last time you hung around Fair Park?

 

Fair Park should be a showcase for Dallas. Instead it's a derelict warzone.

 

When has Deep Ellum been anything substantial prior to 1986-7?

 

I've live all throughout Dallas County, including Old East Dallas. It's a third-world crap hole. Swiss Avenue on one side, Gaston Avenue on the other.

 

Gene pools aside, I've traveled the world and seen brutality and violence you wouldn't believe. Our own special variety we brew in Dallas is nothing new.

 

That the Observer wants to promote parks in DFW is commendable. But be honest. Why are these parks not currently being utilized?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chris02569
chris02569

@TimJordanDFW I have some obscure 2nd cousins there, I may have to visit for the D one day lol

chris02569
chris02569

@TimJordanDFW Haha, I am counting on it!

TimJordanDFW
TimJordanDFW

@chris02569 you totally should! That whole "everything is bigger in Texas" thing, pretty much a FACT. :-D

 
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