Date: February 10, 2018
Location: Cedar Ridge Preserve - Dallas, Texas
Distance: 6 miles
Trails: Cattail Pond to Cedar Brake to Cattail Pond to Fossil Valley to Trout Lily to Fossil Valley to Cattail Pond to Cedar Brake (here's a map)
It was a surprisingly cold morning and I was running way later than I would have liked, but it turned out just fine. I didn't quite expect it to be under 40 degrees when I left the house, but that's why I keep gloves in my daypack. Chewy the dog prefers cooler temps, and I could tell bringing him wasn't going to be a mistake.
We arrived, deposited the $3 in the tube (always support your local parks if they ask for donations) and went to the trailhead sign. Chewy, as usual, had to do his business right away which is fine because then I don't have to carry it. If you're the type of person that doesn't pick up after your dog, or leaves bags tied to trees or on the side of the trail for later, you're not a nice person. If you can't double bag it and put it in an outside mesh backpack pocket, inside your bag, or on your dog's harness, then don't bring your dog. Please pick up, leave no trace that your dog did their business, and move along.
We took the main path down to the Cedar Brake trail and the first part is downhill, but almost immediately you go back up. The first hill is a long, tall one, but not nearly as challenging as other along the way. I've been doing pretty mild, yet long, hikes so the hills were a welcome change of pace. The temps had dropped even more since starting, the wind was whipping through the bare trees, and I swear I saw a single snowflake hit my glasses. We made our way back to the Cattail Pond, and I was debating if we were going to stick to the original plan of doubling back on the Cedar Brake trail or taking the easy, shorter way back to the car. I ended up choosing the more challenging way back and I'm glad I did. I was getting that "high" feeling from hills and those last two miles were all goofy smiles while my head emptied thoughts on the trail behind me. Hills are good for the brain, too.
Things to Know about Cedar Ridge Preserve:
- There are plenty of hills to tackle, but there are ways to go through without encountering any of the really strenuous ones - so if you're not up for the hills, you can still enjoy this lovely place.
- Trail runners love this place, so be on the lookout for them. We can all work together to share the trail, just use common sense.
- The only trash can is at the main trailhead, so plan accordingly. ALWAYS pack out your trash - including your dog's.
- Getting there early is in your best interest on a normal day with normal temperatures. There is a big parking area and several overflow areas. I usually like to get there between 6:45-7:45.
- The Cedar Brake trail will have the least road noise from neighboring freeways.
- Check out the park website here and the trail profiles here for more planning resources.
This place has been one of my go-to locations when I can't get away from the metro area. The trail vary in difficulty, the trees are a nice touch, and it's well maintained. I highly recommend this to anyone - whether you're in town for a minute or live here - it's a great place to escape the concrete for a bit. Happy hiking, see you on hike 7!