Whether you're a marathoner or in week two of Couch to 5K, running feels easier when there's a view. It also feels easier when there aren't really hills, though some people love the torture of a climb. But that view and flat run are achieved on the Trinity Skyline Trail, which winds around the river with some gravel and some paved sections on a wide trail. Don't come here for shade, but do come for the swaths of wildflowers, that perfect view of the skyline beyond the flowing river on the trail under Sylvan Avenue and certain fauna if you time it right.

Jacob Vaughn

Joppa Preserve is a 307-acre park established in 1986. The park was originally named after a body of water in the area called Lemmon Lake. A smaller one, called Little Lemmon Lake, also sat in the park. The wetlands there often attract migratory water birds and other species year round. In 1991, the name was changed to Joppa Preserve to reflect one of the county's first "freedmen" towns of former slaves after the Civil War. For a long time and to this day, it's been a popular spot for family reunions and Juneteenth celebrations. Joppa Preserve is located along the five-mile Trinity Trail, which connects to the Trinity River Audubon Center.

We had plenty of new superstar faces in DFW this past year. The Rangers brought in Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, who are now the building blocks of the franchise; the Stars saw Jake Oettinger dominate during the 2022 playoff series versus Calgary; and Spencer Dinwiddie brought the Mavericks depth and experience, which helped guide them to the 2022 Western Conference Finals. Despite their impact, none quite compare to the addition of Micah Parsons to the Dallas Cowboys. The then-22-year-old linebacker dominated in his first season, earning NFL Rookie of the Year and AP All-Pro honors. Parsons' speed, athleticism and strength should keep Cowboys fans on their feet for years to come.

Daniel Rockey

This is for those of you who always know which way is north. You're inside and point the right way when you talk about Canada, you confuse people when you tell them to "head west" on Main Street and navigating a trail is easy as pie. Here you're in a space that lacks sufficient way-finding, where people have routinely made their own, unofficial cut-throughs to different paths, and the trail winds seemingly every which way as the trees tower over you, preventing you from seeing helpful shadows from the sun. But it's not a scary place: Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is beautiful, and it can take you out of your element to get closer to nature. If you've been wanting to try forest bathing, this is your place.

Located off Central Expressway in Plano, Eastside Dojo has been teaching the martial art judo, an Olympic sport, since 2013. From the start, they've had Olympic judokas and black belts running their classes for both kids and adults. They hold practices five days a week, Monday through Thursday plus Saturday, and also have an in-house weightlifting facility for those who feel like keeping their training going after practice ends. It's one of the largest judo training facilities in the country, and it's full of friendly folks from an international background willing to take the time to help newcomers learn the sport.

Established in 1996, the Dallas-Fort Worth Table Tennis (DFWTT) club is one of the largest and most established of its kind in DFW. But this isn't your dorm hall pingpong. They're serious players, and if you want to learn how to up your game (even if it's just for the sake of smashing on some dude bros in the dorm), then this is a great place to take lessons and get some practice in with skilled table tennis players. In fact, they've grown so much in recent years that they have multiple locations around town. Check their website or give them a call to find the onr closest to you.

Grab your ball, some friends and those dirty cleats in your closet: It's time to play some soccer. At this Richardson indoor field, lovers of the sport can compete against other passionate players on different days of the week by joining a team or coming in as a free agent. Visitors can also enjoy the Azzurri Pizzeria + Bar inside the facility and purchase some slices and pints to commemorate a win (or forget a disappointing loss).

Mike Brooks

Slow down, DORBA reader. This one is for the road cyclist, but you're welcome, too. The Santa Fe Trail should be at the top of the list if you've mistakenly cycled on a certain north-south trail in Dallas and had to slow your roll to an annoyingly low speed. Not on the Santa Fe, which will get you from White Rock Lake to Deep Ellum safely. It's wide enough, and while it has more foot traffic around the Mount Auburn neighborhood, it's smooth sailing with enough people to feel safe but not too many to cause you to slow down. (But be nice: Do announce yourself and don't be a speed demon.) While we wait for The Loop to allegedly connect things, the Santa Fe is one that does connect well. You can use the sad but technically present bike route on Main Street in Deep Ellum, hop on the Santa Fe and go to Fair Park or up to White Rock. From there, hop along another fantastic trail, the SoPac, and make a day of it.

Just 15 miles from downtown Dallas, Ascend Camp and Retreat Center offers 54 acres of nature where you can channel your inner cowboy. Enjoy a one-hour trail ride through the woods or ride inside the corral, where you can meet the horses up close and pose for selfies. No prior riding experience is required. For serious equestrians, Ascend has in-depth classes on horse safety, how to groom and saddle a horse properly, and how to ride a horse correctly with balance and communication. Even if horses aren't your groove, Ascend has many reasons to visit. A ropes course, archery, paintball, hiking, a swimming pool, soccer and so much more await visitors to this urban oasis. Check the website for special events.

There's plenty to do at Ray Roberts Lake — hike, ride horses or take a bicycle ride, to name a few things — but it's also one of the best places to take a freshwater dip on a day trip from Dallas. It's a little more than an hour drive from downtown Dallas, but it's worth the haul. There are two designated beach areas where swimming is allowed, the Isle Du Bois Unit and the Johnson Unit. If you want to work up a sweat first, go on a jog or a nice walk through the forest trails. Entry is $7 for adults as of this writing, and free for children 12 and under.

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