Fascinated with all things outdoors? How could you possibly choose?!
You don’t need to pick a topic to be a student of nature. What will it be today? A walk through the woods, a painted prairie in full bloom, a bird’s flight through binoculars, or a fossil from an ancient ocean? With so much to discover, there’s no time to waste. Nature calls!
Dallas-Area Parks for The Naturalist-In-Training
Explore the What Kind of Naturalist Are You? Interactive Map.
|PARK||FEATURES FOR THE NATURALIST|
|Arbor Hills Nature Preserve||200 acres of Blackland Prairie. Upland riparian forest ecoregions with creeks. Nine miles of paved, dirt, and DORBA trails, some with interpretive signage. Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Site. Partner in American Kestrel Partnership. Monarch migration stopover. Parking lot biofilter for rain runoff.|
|Breckinridge Park||400+ acres. East of Rowlett Creek: Home to Texas champion Box Elder. Deep woods on south end. West of Rowlett Creek: Limestone outcroppings and plentiful fossils in Beck’s Branch. A wildflower meadow with loop trail supports a vigorous Eastern Bluebird population.|
|Cedar Hill State Park||1200+ acres of rugged limestone hills with pockets of Blackland Prairie along 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake. Off-road biking/hiking loop maintained by DORBA, with some interpretive signage. Home to over 200 bird species, including the endangered Black-Capped Vireo. Overnight camping, swimming, fishing.|
|Cedar Ridge Preserve||Nearly 10 miles of well-maintained, rugged trails explore 600+ acres of steep limestone hills and soaring 755-feet escarpments with epic views. Lush valleys, riparian corridors, and ponds. Blackland prairie restorations. Butterfly garden. Site of native Texas orchids. Great spot for birders.|
|Coppell Nature Park & Biodiversity Education Center||A few miles of gentle trails through 66 acres of Eastern Cross Timbers, Blackland Prairie, and riparian Cottonwood Creek corridor. Natural springs that flow north (a rarity) are found along the creek. Butterfly garden. Center offers naturalist training for children and guided nature walks.|
|Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center||Three hiking trails of varying difficulty trace the canyon floor up to the hill tops—one trail with a view all the way to Arlington! Dogwood grove flowers in spring. Superb bird watching. Rich in native plant species and pollinators. Excellent visitor center with talks and events for all ages.|
|Elm Fork Nature Preserve||Quiet, deeply wooded preserve along Trinity’s Elm Fork with 14-acre pond, wetlands, and wildflower meadows. Loop walking path through the woods and along the pond.|
|John Bunker Sands Wetland Center||Wetlands purify wastewater and provide habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. Home to nesting pair of bald eagles. Sightings of over 260 varieties of birds. Fantastic views of the wetlands from the one-mile boardwalk and a trail to the Trinity River. Water education center. Monthly public days.|
|Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA)||1100+ acres where Blackland Prairies and Eastern Cross Timbers meet. Bobcats, wild turkeys, river otter, beaver, wide variety of reptiles/amphibians. Wading and woodland birds and the iconic dickcissel in its prairie habitat. Two blinds for wetland wildlife viewing. 10+ miles of trails, including boardwalks and paddling trails. Pollinators, damselflies, dragonflies, and beetles galore! Guided walks/workshops.|
|Mountain Creek Preserve||60+ acres of wooded riparian habitat on Elm Fork of Trinity. Great views of river, birds, and wildlife. Four-mile loop trail connects to Campion system. Canoe launch. Equestrian area.|
|Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve||800-acre park along Rowlett Creek with 13 miles of concrete and soft surface trails through Blackland Prairie, woods, wetlands. Zip line. Equestrian area.|
|Spring Creek Forest Preserve (Garland)||About 200 acres of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest with some of the oldest (up to 150 years), tallest (100+ feet tall), and widest (trunks 4 feet wide) trees in the county. Paved/soft-surface trails.|
|Spring Creek Nature Preserve (Richardson)||Over 100 deeply wooded acres along limestone creek. Several miles of paved trails with picnic areas. Trail links to Galatyn Woodland Preserve.|
|Trinity River Audubon Center||130 acres reclaimed from an illegal dump. Four miles of hiking trails and boardwalks with bird blinds through wetlands, riparian forest, and Blackland Prairie. Bottomland trail with river access. Pollinator garden. Excellent visitor center. Classes and events for all ages. Perfect place for new naturalists!|
|Trinity Skyline Trail||Paved 5-mile trail atop levees along channelized section of Trinity River with views of downtown Dallas. Dirt trails in river bottom. Waterfowl, birds of prey, and wading birds when river is up. Ronald Kirk Bridge for bicyclists/pedestrians. Connects to extensive trails going south and north.|
|Twelve Hills Nature Center||Wonderful getaway in heart of Oak Cliff. Gentle 5+ acres on former apartment site. Trails through woods and Blackland Prairie recreation. Pollinator garden. Outdoor classroom for elementary students.|
|White Rock Lake||Beloved 1254-acre lake with 10 miles of paved trails. Great birdwatching at northern end, Sunset Bay, and below spillway. Brown pelicans and other waterfowl migrators overwinter. Look for twiggy nests of monk parakeet colony at electrical substation and nearby towers off White Rock Rd. Naturalist museum at Bath House Cultural Center. 250+ acres of Blackland Prairie. Sailboating, canoeing, kayaking.|