(214) 670-4100 - Dallas Parks & Recreation Dept.
• Hours: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
• Follow RED markers for the entire Boulder experience. Blue markers bypass more technical sections and are more family-friendly (6 miles).
Boulder Park in Dallas
is a nice flowing trail system. There are two total trails, a red loop
(10+ miles) and a blue loop (~ 6 miles) both with adequate elevation
changes and some advanced sections. The singletrack is well groomed
and spends most of it's time in the dense tree cover of old growth North
Texas forests; all while residing in a serious urban area (Redbird airport
is across one street and Texas Highway 67 across another). Aside from
the hum of traffic, the sound of single engine planes taking off from
the neighboring runways and the occasional 'outcropping' of asphalt,
here repurposed as technical obstacles, you'd swear you were miles out
in the country.
The trail is a great combination of singletrack, technical climbs and descents, a spillway crossing and climb and some north shore style bridges and ramps. Some incredible work has been done on the trail by the DORBA (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) members and trail stewards.
The trail is well marked with the loops called out by red or blue arrows along the track. Also, there are sections marked by black, Expert half diamonds and white, non-Expert half diamonds to inform you of up coming section changes.
The trail snakes its way through old growth deciduous forest on the Southwest Corner of Dallas County near the intersection of Hwy 67 and I-20. There are a few creek courses that run through the park (formerly known as Bailey or Red Bird Park, but it look as if the city has finally purchased and begun to maintain the property with the help of the DORBA members) and these offer both a chance to practice your creek crossings as well as a view into their deep gullies along several long singletrack runs.
The difficulty of the course is about a high-medium on the scale, especially if you take all of the expert sections available on the red loop. There are some challenging climbs and some technical descents, but nothing a skilled rider could not clear. Also, due to the efforts of the trail stewards, many of the more technical sections have a non-technical by-pass available (marked in "Green Arrows") to show the easier path for those not up to the challenge of the more technical paths.
The trail is definitely single-speed accessible, but a geared bike can definitely come in handy on some of the more sustained and technical climbs. A full suspension bike is mostly overkill and the extra weight is something you'll find best left behind on the trail while winding through the trees. Several of the single track sections are narrow enough to make clearing them with full width (non-cut) bars a bit difficult. A nimble bike is definitely an advantage on a lot of the single track and switchbacks. Also, watch for poison ivy (2008 has been a good year for the plant all across Texas), as there are sections of the trail under heavy tree cover with a nice carpet of the plant covering all the space beneath the canopy with the trail being the only part not covered by the plant. If you're highly allergic take any and all necessary precautions (Tecnu® soap will definitely be welcomed if you run into/through any of this plant).
While on the trail, expect to see garter and ribbon snakes (also, I think I spied a copperhead out of the corner of my eye near an abandoned city park bench near the end of the loop, but it moved away so quickly as I dismounted that I could not confirm this), cotton tails are in abundance, red squirrels and a road runner or two.
All-in-all, a beautiful trail in the heart of the metroplex, well worth the trip from anywhere in Texas or Oklahoma. I recommend running the red loop if you only have time for one. If you have adequate time to spend on the trail, hit the red loop and follow it up with the blue loop and then one more of mix and match between the two. If you don't feel like you've been out for a serious ride after this, then you should be going Pro soon. Post your race schedule so we can track your progress.