Hiking is our favorite thing to do as a family. We love going places and exploring nature and the outdoors as much as we can. We like discovering new places and just getting immersed in nature and the calm it brings. Since both of mine have turned into toddlers, our hikes are way more enjoyable and easier and since we dont need a baby carrier or extra essentials, we can just pack our backpack and head out. I wanted to write about our favorite hidden gems. These are all located in DFW area.
1. Heard Museum: https://www.heardmuseum.org/
We have a membership here and we love hiking their trails. This is located in McKinney, Texas. Now my kids are educated on posion ivy and snakes. We have showed pcitures and they know to stay away at all cost from certain things. Our favorite trails at the Heard are the following. These are all the perfect distance for toddlers.
Hoot Owl Trail
A self-guided ½ mile easy-to-moderate trail with a nice combination of upland and bottomland terrain.
Cedar Brake Loop
A self-guided 2/3 mile trail with beautiful, seasonal native wildflowers.
Wood Duck Trail
A 1 mile wetlands boardwalk and overland trail with the best view of the wetlands.
A 1 mile (round trip) moderate trail with the best view of the Heard’s prairies.
A 1¼ mile easy-to-moderate trail with deep shade and large, old trees.
2. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. https://www.plano.gov/facilities/facility/details/Arbor-Hills-Nature-Preserve-20
This is my favorite park to run at and even take family photographs. In May, you will see beautiful flowers all around and its surrounded by a little stream. This hidden gem in located in Plano, Texas. I attached the trail map you can download and print off and take with you. We usually start at Mockingbird Alley and just get lost in the different trails and nature. My kids love playing in the creeks and finding treasures.
3. Waterloo Lake: https://www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec/page/waterloo-lake-regional-park
Waterloo Lake is a 52 surface acre lake located at 1001 Waterloo Lake Drive in Denison, TX. It has a 7 mile Hike and Bike trail circling the Scenic Waterloo Lake! However, we did just the easy 1.5 mile easy hike. There is a boat ramp and be sure and take the Cave trail to see the really neat Cave. We found so many neat things along this trail. You can also bring a kayak or fish off the pier.
4. Hagerman Wildlife Refuge: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/hagerman/
This is little gem is located in Sherman, TX consisting of 12,000 acres. We found so many lady bugs and it was beautiful lush and green. There were so many beautiful yellow flowers when we went. We parked at the visitor center and did the hilking trail adjacent to it. There are many different trails here. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Hagerman/visit/activities/hiking.html
Hallers Haven Trail- 2.7 miles
Harris Creek Trail-2miles (This is the one we explored)
Crow Hill Trail Map-3/4 mile
Meadow Pond Trail- 5.7miles
5. Cedar Ridge Preserve:http://www.dallasparks.org/217/Cedar-Ridge-Preserve
This little slice of heaven is 20minutes from downtown Dallas. It has 9 miles of trails and wildflowers and butterfly gardens. The link below shows the map and different trails you can explore. They all vary in length. https://audubondallas.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/TRAILS.jpg
6. Erwin Park: https://www.mckinneytexas.org/885/Erwin-Park
Another one of my favs. This is were I got engaged and it will always have a special place in my heart. My husband and I love this park. He likes to mountain bike and I love bringing the kids to hike. There are 10 miles of trails at this park and you can also go camping there. Download the trail system below and go explore the outdoors. This little gem is location in McKinney, Texas.
There you have it. I hope this article inspires you and your family to get outdoors. My kids are 3 and 4 years old and can hike 1.5-2miles easy now. My favorite part every time is our conversations that we have when we are immersed in nature. I hope you continue to follow my blog for more tips and tricks for hiking with toddlers. Don’t forget to slow down. Everything is new in the eyes of toddlers. Go with flow because they will stop and look at everything. Thanks for joining my happy place and please comment below or share any pictures you take during your visits there. Hike away Mammas.
“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Henry David Thoreau