Over the Labor Day weekend we decided to take a drive to the Elm Fork Nature Preserve in Carrollton, Texas. The trailhead is actually nestled away inside the McInnish Sports Complex, but there are signs directing you right to where you need to go. My expectations for these hiking trails were not very high, considering there is only about one mile of natural trails. Unfortunately, the park lived up to my expectations.
As you wind your way through the sports complex, you will come upon the trailhead, and a parking lot with about 10 spots. The trails are well marked, and there are only two ways to go from the trailhead, so it’s less complicated than some other larger preserves. You will immediately be immersed in thick foliage, and one of the best features of the preserve are the tree markers, which are liberally dispersed throughout the trail.
The hiking trails at Elm Fork Nature Preserve are definitely not the best trails in the Dallas area. There is one main trail that runs about one mile long, and has very few elevation changes. The trail is also very close to the George Bush Tollway and LBJ Freeway, so there is a constant drone of traffic in the distance. Fortunately the trail is heavily shaded, so you are at least protected from the heat of the Dallas sun.
The trails may not be challenging, but the scenery is very nice and the trails are well maintained. The park offers a ton of different trees, and most of them are well marked with the previously mentioned signs. The trail also runs along a creek and later a pond, so you are not just looking at trees and dirt for the entire hike.
I knew this preserve only offered one mile of hiking trails, but as we approached the trailhead I was hoping to be surprised. Unfortunately I was not. If you are looking to take a light walk and you want to avoid concrete paths, then this trail probably won’t disappoint you. If you are looking to keep in shape for challenging hikes on trails with elevation, then you will want to avoid Elm Fork Nature Preserve. Considering how close this preserve is to Arbor Hills, you will get a much more challenging hike at the latter