Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hiking in North Texas Part 3: Arbor Hills

Since yesterday was overcast and not too hot in the morning, my family decided to go hiking again to build up our endurance for hiking on a vacation we have planned for early next year. We really want to try Cedar Ridge Preserve, but since we had already been in the car with the kids for 12 hours this week we were not looking forward to another 2 hours in the car. So we decided to hike the paved trails at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. (Even though I really don't consider walking paved trails hiking, more like recreational walking).

The parking lot was quite full, and I was surprised to see there was a new parking lot expansion since the last time I was there.

We got out of our car, and my husband took one of my kids to the restroom before we got started. While they were in there, I looked at the park map in front of us. And I was surprised to see the Arbor Hills now has a whole series of un-paved nature trails! I guess it really had been years since I've walked around there. I still remember the observation tower and new paved loop under construction. The online maps still do not show these additional trails, so it was a very pleasant surprise. So we decided to take the Outer Loop trail.

We had to walk on the paved trail for a little while until we got to the turn-off for the Outer Loop trail. The first mile or so was very shaded.

We came across a few benches on the trail:

Best buddies...

...but we had to separate them only minutes later.

The trail went close to a fence and apartment building in the back, and eventually opened up into this meadow. This area had no shade and we became real hot and sweaty.

We saw the observation tower eventually, and decided to alter our path to check out the view.

This was the view:

We then walked the paved path for a while again:

And took another detour on the Old Pond path.

Finally, we made it back to the parking area, with the playground we promised the kids could play at after our hike.

We were all hot and exhausted by this time. We had walked about 2 1/2 miles. My daughter crashed on the sofa after we got home. I think we are going to put our hikes on hold until the fall when the weather is a little cooler.
Arbor Hills Pros:
*  Close to our house
*  Plenty of parking
*  Free!
*  Playground and picnic facilities
*  Paved and unpaved trails
*  No bikes allowed on unpaved trails, there is a separate mountain bike trail

Arbor Hills Cons:
*  Crowded on a Saturday morning
*  The unpaved trails were not labeled nearly as well as at Oak Point. There were a lot of smaller trails that broke off from the main trails that were not labeled, and we had a hard time knowing which way to go.

We will keep Arbor Hills on our hiking rotation for the fall. Have you been there lately?

No comments:

Post a Comment