Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hiking in North Texas Part 2: Ray Roberts Lake State Park Greenbelt Corridor

Earlier this month we tried a new hiking place, and this weekend we decided to explore another hiking destination in the Dallas area. We went to the Ray Roberts Lake State Park Greenbelt Corridor, which is a 10-mile hiking and biking path that starts at 380 and ends at the dam at Ray Roberts Lake. It is 10 miles each direction, so 20 miles round-trip. It also has a separate equestrian trail and a canoe/kayak launch site, since the greenbelt path follows the Trinity River and connects Lake Lewisville with Ray Roberts Lake.

To get there from McKinney, we went west on 380 until shortly before Denton. The entrance to the trail is easy to miss, but there is a brown sign you can see from the road on the right side.

 The parking lot off of 380:

The trail map:

The self-pay station:

There were "chemical toilets" at the start of the trail:

The trail is crushed limestone and is 10-15 feet wide:

There are a few trail off-shoots that lead to the Trinity River:

And we crossed under a railroad track bridge:

So we walked almost 2 miles up the trail and then decided to turn back because I wasn't sure how far my 3-year-old could walk with the round-trip included.  Here are the pros and cons for this hiking trail:

*  Ample parking
*  Wide trail that is suitable for bikes and jogging strollers
*  The first several miles are shaded by trees
*  We could hear a lot of birds and woodpeckers

*  Since it is a state park, the entrance fee is $7 per person. Kids 12 and under are free.
*  The toilets really stink. When we were returning, we could smell them from quite a ways off. We do use the bathroom in a lot of parks, but my kids were really grossed out by these.
*  There is no water fountain here--the closest one is 6.5 miles up the trail when it crosses FM 428.
*  There were no mile markers on the trail, which I thought was odd since there were so many runners.
*  The scenery did not change. We were surrounded by trees, but it all looked exactly the same with almost no variation. The trail has a scenic overlook that overlooks a meadow further up, but it was about 5 miles up the trail. The river was muddy and had trash on the side.
*  While there were a few picnic tables in the parking lot area, there were no benches or tables on this trail. We just moved to the side of the trail to rehydrate and refuel.
*  I was warned about this from a website before we arrived, but there appears to be a lot of poison ivy here on the sides of the trail.

We are glad we tried it, and we were able to hike a good distance with the kids, but I think this trail is better suited for cyclists or runners who can go a further distance and cover more ground with a better variety of scenery.

Have you been on this trail? Do you like it?

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