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Trinity River Paddling Trail

The Trinity River Paddling Trail consists of 130 miles of river accessed by 21 official launch sites. The paddling trail traverses 9 municipalities including Dallas and Ft. Worth, and is located in the middle of America’s 4th largest metro area with a population of 7.5 million people. Over 5 million people live within 30 minute drive of the trail.

photo: West Fork view of Cowtown

Length: 130.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: National Water Trails System
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
     Fort Worth Nature Center charges $5 per person Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Center charges $5 per vehicleAll other sites are free to access.

Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Boating, Motorized
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Boating, non-motorized: Rafting
Heritage and History
Wildlife Observation

     Education/ Environmental Awareness. There are 5 Learning Centers focused on education along the Paddle Trail. There are bike trails, both paved and unpaved along most of the Paddle Trail. There are some equestrian trails along the Paddle Trail.

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Location: The trail location is the Trinity River including Fort Worth, Lewisville, Dallas and 6 other cities. This trail, Trinity River Paddle Trail is 130 miles long with 21 existing access points.
State(s): Texas
Counties: Tarrant, Dallas, Denton
Longitude: -96.964697
Latitude: 33.067109

Driving Directions

To first trailhead: From I-820 just west of Fort Worth take Rt 199 / Jacksboro Hwy northwest approximately 3 miles. - Take the Buffalo Rd Exit - At Buffalo Rd turn Northeast into the Fort Worth Nature Center ($5 entrance fee) - Once in the Nature Center follow the signs to the big river boat ramp.• The Trinity River Paddling Trail is approximately 130 miles long with 21 put-in / take-out locations and 3 future put-in / take-out locations along the trail. The directions to each of the launch / retrieve locations along the trail are listed below.


Trinity River Paddling Trail Summary Description

The Trinity River Paddling Trail consists of 130 miles of river accessed by 21 official launch sites. The paddling trail traverses 9 municipalities including Dallas and Ft. Worth, and is located in the middle of America’s 4th largest metro area with a population of 7.5 million people. Over 5 million people live within 30 minute drive of the trail.

Over the years, the cities on the banks of the Trinity River have built a number of amenities accessed by the river. Currently there are 5 learning centers, over 50 Parks and preserves, and many miles of paved hike/bike trails adjacent to the paddling trail.

The Trinity River is a major water source for the state of Texas, with approximately half of all the state’s residents receiving their drinking water from the river. The paddling trail incorporates 3 major tributaries of the river, including the Clear Fork, West Fork and Elm Fork. The final 40 miles of the trail are the start of the river’s Main Branch, which begins on the southern edge of Dallas’ central business district, and then exits Dallas County’s southern boundary on the way to the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston Bay.

Throughout history the Trinity River has been a significant part of the life of this part of America’s southwest. Native Americans built settlements on the river banks, as evidenced by a 3,000 year old spearhead recently found near the river by a student on a field trip organized by one of the learning centers. President Sam Houston camped on the river bank at Big Spring while he was negotiating a landmark treaty with the Native Americans in the 1840’s. The California Crossing canoe launch site that is part of the paddling trail is named for the section of the river crossed by the 49ers on their way west to California in the gold rush.

As the Trinity River Paddling Trail receives more attention as part of the National Park Service’s Recreation Trail System, usage is expected to significantly increase, and more launch sites are expected to be built. Eventually the paddling trail may even be extended the remaining 375 miles from its current end all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Over the last few years Dallas has focused on the underserved communities, which is primarily southern Dallas. Along with Dallas the Trinity Coalition’s mission is to include the people of southern Dallas and southern Dallas County, all underserved communities, in participating in their paddling trail. Southern Dallas and Southern Dallas County are the start of the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban hardwood forest in America. The city has created a natural preserve around some natural springs in southern Dallas. The Trinity Coalition and the Army Corps of Engineer, working with the city of Dallas, have opened several recreational activities, including hiking and biking trails. Please see: http://dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com/2013/09/natural-springs-in-dallas-radiocarbon.html

Dallas and the Trinity Coalition have also helped open some commercial interests including an equestrian center and a word class golf course. The idea of a National Recreation Trail was actually born out of intercity cooperation with the Trinity Coalition. The TC is planning the next three river access points to be in southern Dallas and Southern Dallas County.

The Trinity River Paddling Trail has five learning centers along its banks with the largest and most active being the Trinity River Audubon Center (TRAC) in southern Dallas on the banks of the Trinity River in an underserved community. Residents of that area are given free admission to TRAC, with the $6 admission fee being waived.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: Rock, boulders
Rock, smooth
Water, still

Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Brochure: A detailed description of entire paddle trail including launch site photos, portage information and photos, and trip information.
Brochure: Screenshot of event information for multi-day paddle event on Trinity River Paddle Trail.
Brochure: Document listing details about the 5 learning centers located along the Trinity River Paddling Trail.
Brochure: A brochure with basic information and high level map that is available at outdoors stores and retailers.
Brochure: Flyer/Poster PDF of Paddle Trail Map w Launch points and Legend with section descriptions.
Other: Event: Clean up for national Public Lands Day.
Other: Announcement after huge cleanup at Frasier Dam Recreation Area on the trail.
Other: Event announcement for Trinity Trash Bash fall event on the Trinity River Trail.
Other: Event announcement for Pop-up cleanup along the river.
Other: Combined document of letters of support from various cities outfitters, and clubs.
Other: Document showing wayfinding signs and Kiosks as well as letters of approval for installation.
Other: A screenshot of the Trinity Coalition Facebook Page supporting the paddle trail.
Other: A screenshot of the Facebook Group centered on the Trinity River Paddle Trail
Other: Document detailing emergency access points for first responders
Other: Document detailing current and future vision for Trinity River Paddling Trail
Website: Trinity River Paddling Trail Association Public Group

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Public Contact:
Teresa Patterson
Paddle Trail Manager
Trinity Coalition
100 Crescent Ct
Suite 1150
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 478-7856
[email protected]

Trail Management:
Dale Harris
Board Member
Trinity Coalition
1309 Lakebreeze Dr
Garland, TX 75043 -1866
[email protected]

Trail Management:
Alex Dubovsky
Board Member
Trinity Coalition
4205 Grandbrook Ln
Plano, TX 75074
(214) 415-7747
[email protected]

Trail Management:
Stephen Smith
Board Chair, CFA
Trinity Coalition
100 Crescent Court
Suite 1150
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 880-4601
[email protected]



2020 NRT Photo Contest Winner - Water Trails. Photo by Teresa Patterson.

2020 NRT Photo Contest Winner - Water Trails. Photo by Teresa Patterson.


Great Paddling

I have only been on the Trinity River in my kayak at two access points, but both times, I found it to be a pleasant experience. The access on Hebron Road is first class . The river is scenic and provides lots of opportunities to see birds and other wildlife. I am so happy to see our beautiful river as a part of the National Water Trails System.

November 4, 2020



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