I'm a lifelong runner. Which is to say that I ran track in high school and have always owned a pair of running shoes. I typically pull them out only when I'm leaving the dumpy phase and headed into the frumpy phase. Or when I've eaten one too many delivery pizzas by myself. My current roommate is workout crazed, which has made it increasingly difficult to ignore my bright pink Mizunos. This list is as much for me as it is for you.
White Rock Creek This is not the same trail as the one around White Rock Lake. Let me type that again. This is not the same trail as the one around White Rock Lake. It does however reach White Rock Lake if you can run that far. The 7.6 miles of wide concrete start near the intersection of Alpha and Hillcrest in North Dallas and send you past soccer fields and through small forests, as you run alongside the tiny creek on your way to White Rock Lake. Traffic: Busy on weekends, mostly bikes Street Crossings: Rare
White Rock Lake This is one of the most scenic places in Dallas, and not much of a secret. The trail around the lake stretches 9.33 miles with water fountains every mile or so, thanks to the donors of Friends of the Lake. On the weekends, it's not a rare occurrence that you'll run by horses, picnics, bird watchers and boaters. My favorite place to park is at Winsted and Garland by the spillway. Traffic: Crowded on the weekends with bikes and runners Street Crossings: None
Katy Trail The better the weather, the more likely it is that this Uptown trail will be packed. There will be walkers, runners, roller skaters, unicyclers, and the occasional biker who thought to himself, "I'll just hop on the Katy Trail to get through Uptown." That biker almost always regrets that decision. The Katy Trail is 3.5 miles of total madness most of the time, but that can make it fun. If you're just looking for a run and not a social club, try it early in the mornings or when the weather's crummy. Traffic: Crowded. Street Crossings: 1-2. The one at Knox Street can be tricky.
Santa Fe Trestle Trail I can't claim to have run this scenic piece of concrete yet, but I have walked through parts of it and it might be the one of the prettiest places on the list. It's also the shortest official trail, measuring in at .9 miles. Park in the 8th Street DART stop overflow parking. Best if combined with Trinity Skyline Trail. Traffic: Empty Street Crossings: None
Trinity Skyline Trail This is that line of concrete you can see from the Commerce Street bridge winding through the floodway on the levees below you. In the summer, there is little escape from the sun. It's mostly used by bikers, but there is plenty of space for your pedestrian self. If you do the full loop, the Dallas Parks website says it's 4.6 miles. Traffic: Minimal Street Crossings: None
Santa Fe Trail Of all the trails I've run, this is one of my favorites. It's also the one that as a petite woman I won't run by myself, except on a sunny weekend day. It starts near to downtown Dallas and stretches to White Rock Lake, but as a runner it's not worth starting until the Beacon Street intersection. Before that you'll be the solo runner dodging cars at busy intersections and keeping one eye out for stray packs of dogs. After Beacon St. it's beautiful though. You run through hills you didn't know Dallas had and you can stop off at The Lot for a beer when you're tired. It's 4.5 miles if you run the whole thing, but you won't. And you shouldn't. Traffic: Empty Street Crossings: Too many.
Bachman Lake Trail It's a bit of a hike from my East Dallas home to get to Bachman Lake, but it's a little oasis of beauty up in northwest Dallas. The trail around it stretches about 3.5 miles, but it can get pretty crowded on the weekends with families strolling around the lake. Traffic: Crowded on the weekends. Street Crossings: None
Northaven Trail I was a remember of the running club at the Preston and Forest Run On! store last summer and I heard quite a few horror stories from women running solo on this trail. Apparently some of its neighbors are rough around the edges. In my experience, it's a great use of extra land along 2.5 miles of power lines. Hop on at Preston and Northaven. Traffic: Moderate. Street Crossings: One major and three minor.
Trinity Strand Trail This trail looks pretty when I catch glimpses of it on my way into Slow Bone. That might be the downside of this trail, watching hungry diners heading in for a delicious rack of ribs. My understanding is that it it's supposed to connect to the Katy Trail eventually, or it already does. I'll run it this weekend and report back. Traffic: Street Crossings:
Am I missing your favorite trail? Leave it below in the comments and I'll drag my legs there soon.