“An outdoor oasis in the middle of a busy suburb filled with a combination of paved trails and dirt singletrack.”
— John Shuttlesworth
Birding · River/Creek · Wildlife
Open 7 days a week from 5am - 11pm.
All unpaved trails for running and cycling are closed when wet to prevent erosion and trail damage.
Dogs must be on leashes no longer than six feet.
Skateboards, longboards and all motorized vehicles (including hover boards) are prohibited at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a peaceful, expansive nature preserve within a large suburban city. It is a special place left largely undisturbed where visitors can have the pleasure of being surrounded by nature and experiencing animals, plants and eco-systems found in North Central Texas.
The Arbor Hills Trail is located only 20 miles north of downtown Dallas in the northern suburb of Plano. The paved pathway loops through a 200-acre wooded nature preserve and offers access to a large variety of unpaved running and mountain biking trails.
Need to Know
This is a Nature Preserve so be watchful for wild animals, venomous snakes, insects, and poison ivy. Don't forget to bring your sunscreen and bug spray. Chiggers can be prevalent during the summer months.
There is a DORBA maintained mountain bike trail located in the nature preserve as well. For more information on the trail check out MTB Project atmtbproject.com/trail/701235…
Paved trails are easily navigable as well as a seemingly endless variation of dirt trails to enjoy. As with any forest trail, pay attention for roots and rocks on unpaved portions, as they are prevalent in the preserve.
The main paved trails start at the large parking lot just off of Parker Road. A couple of large pavilions, restrooms, and a playground are located at the beginning of the paved trails.
Once on the trail, it winds through shady forested sections and open prairie grasslands. There are some small elevation gains throughout the preserve which can be a pleasant change to a normally flat local landscape. There will then be a turn-off for the Outer Loop Trail
that will take you on unpaved paths around the western perimeter of the nature preserve.
Once you make the turn eastward, you'll then take the Old Road Trail
to the south where you link back with the Tower Trail
. There you'll hang a right and have an opportunity to enjoy some scenic views from the Observation Tower. The trail then winds back around to reconnect with the Arbor Hills Loop
where you'll turn to the north. Follow that trail all the way back to the parking lot as you wander across a couple of creeks, via footbridges, and find your way back to the parking lot.
Unpaved pedestrian-only trails are dispersed throughout the preserve with most starting points located off the main paved trail. The trails that occupy the northwestern section of the preserve provide the best chance for solitude as they are pressed along the northern border, farther away from the, at times, crowds of stroller-pushers and dog walkers that occupy the paved trails. Overall, the the unpaved paths of Arbor Hills give you limitless options for hiking, trail running or just general exploring.
The paved trails in their entirety cover roughly three miles with the unpaved trails covering about 3.5 miles, respectively.
Flora & Fauna
The preserve is teeming with wildlife offering many viewing options especially for local bird life. The preserve is also blanketed in local prairie grasses and wildflowers (during appropriate seasons). A great place to grab the binoculars and guidebook to go enjoy some of the many local bird species. The preserve is also home to all manners of typical forest dwelling creatures, which does include snakes and healthy patches of poison ivy.