DORBA/Shadow Johns Blazing Hike & Bike Trails through Dallas/Oak Cliff

Oak Cliff is easily the most scenic part of Dallas. And with all due respect to Cedar Hill, Oak Cliff truly is where the Hill Country begins. I just bought a bike and I can tell you that there are more than enough hills to challenge walkers and riders.

To that point, I knew the Kiest Park loop couldn’t be my only non-street riding option. Katy Trail gets all the pub but I was sure there had to be something else out there.

Enter Shadow Johns and DORBADallas Off Road Bicycle Association. DORBA, which was founded in 1988, maintains 14 hike and bike trails throughout North Texas, including trails in Mc Kinney, Garland, Grapevine, and Cedar Hill.

Shadow Johns is the steward for two trails located in Oak Cliff: Boulder Park Trail (located at the corner of Hwy 67 and Red Bird Lane) and Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Trail.

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Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (OCNP) is a 119 acre tract of woodland and prairie habitats near Kiest Park. The land is protected by the Natural Area Preservation Association (NAPA), and was donated to NAPA in 1999 as part of a development agreement. Boys Scout and equestrian groups utilize the land for their nature outings as well. Over the course of 6 or 7 years, NAPA and DORBA planned to blaze hiking and biking trails through the preserve, but nothing seemed to get done.

See a map the nearest cross streets (Pierce and Saner) here.

See a satellite image of the Preserve and Kiest Park here .

Last year Shadow, who was already the steward at Boulder Park, was asked to get involved. Within a matter of months he began working on this unique piece of property in heart of Oak Cliff.”

View Shadow’s OCNP Photobucket here.

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve now has 3 miles of trails which consists of three loops. The trails cross a creek that runs through the property six times, including two wet water crossings. Shadow and DORBA rely on volunteer labor to blaze new trails on their projects.

They refer to these volunteer outings as work days. Work days typically occur on Saturday mornings where volunteers are asked to meet at the site around 8 am and choose a task. A recent work day saw 18 volunteers who used rakes, shovels, limb cutters, and other equipment to blaze 0.7 miles in one morning. Work days typically end around 11 and the group shares in some food and beverage before riding the trail.

sign.jpgAnyone interested in riding or helping to develop the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve trail can contact Shadow Johns at (214)641-1452. To get there from Interstate 35E, take Illinois west, and just past S.Hampton make a left on Pierce. Go past the houses and black fence, turn left into the back of the apartment complex, and make a right at the gate (dirt drive). Look for the sign you see on the thumbnail.

Make sure to take a minute to visit the DORBA website. It gives maps & directions as well as riding conditions at all the sites they maintain. Happy Trails!


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