Located just 20 minutes from Downtown Dallas, Cedar Hill State Park is DFW only true urban State Park, and a great place to relax in nature while still in town! It offers visitors many opportunities to enjoy being outdoors. Situated on the shores of Joe Pool Lake, it’s a popular destination year round for fishing, boating, camping, hiking and mountain bike riding.
Know Before You Go
Cedar Hill State Park is a popular park, so make Day Use Reservations before you go, especially on weekends and holidays. They do have a limited number of Walk Ups available, so arrive early if you can’t get a reservation.
Leashed dogs are allowed in the park, and on the trails, but not on the swim beach or inside state park buildings.
Hiking Trails There are 4 hiking trails at Cedar Hill S.P., one, the D.O.R.B.A. trail is a shared hike and bike trail and at its lengthiest is over 10 miles. When hiking on a shared trail, it’s always up to the hiker to beware and on alert for oncoming riders. The three other trails, the Overlook, the Duck Pond Trail and the Talala Trail, are for hikers only and provide a nice hike. The Talala Trail is the most challenging of the 3, and offers a variety of terrains and some nice overlooks of the lake.
Camping This is a large park with 350 campsites with electricity and water, 150 of those also have sewer. Each comes with a concrete pad and table, and a tent pad, fire ring and grill. There are no cabins in the park. I prefer the campsites on the south side, especially Coyote Crossing, although we’ve camped on the North side and enjoyed it, also. There are also 30 primitive, hike-in campsites.
We most recently camped at site 343, which would be nice with a tent, since the camping area, table and fire ring are down a few steps from parking and well separated from the other campsites with a trail down to the lake. However the shallow parking area, which many of these spaces offer, wasn’t ideal with our pop up and we were very close to the road.
Boating While the North Boat Ramp remains closed, the South Boat Ramp is open, water level permitting. They also have a self-service kayak and paddleboard rental kiosk here. Close to home for us, I really like the little coves around the park that are fun for kayaking.
Swim Beach Closed until at least 2022 for repairs. The swim beach offers a gravel bottom in a small cove, making a nice place to swim even on windy days. There are several covered picnic tables and grills, a playground and restrooms.
The Day Use Area near the DORBA Mountain Bike Trailhead has tables near the lake, a restroom and is probably the best place for swimming while the Swim Beach is closed. Be aware that there are not buoys out and watch for boats while swimming.
Penn Farm Agricultural History Center The land that the state park now occupies once belong to the Penn Family, and you can still see the remains of their homes, barn and buildings. A nice gravel trail runs through the farm, making a easy tour, even with a stroller. During the year there are many events held at Penn Farm, including mammal and reptile classes. When scheduled in advance, they will offer classes for scouts and other groups. My daughter’s Girl Scout troop earned a Try It here. Each December, join the park staff for a lantern tour of Penn Farm, followed by hot chocolate around a campfire and caroling! We did this for several years, and it was definitely one of the most unique and memorable holiday events!
D.O.R.B.A. Trails D.O.R.B.A. or Dallas Off Road Bicycling Association maintains the trail for both mountain bike riders and hikers. It is considered one of the top trails in the area, and often extremely busy in the spring and fall. For more information, click HERE.
Fishing There are several opportunities at Cedar Hill S.P. to go fishing, either along park’s long shoreline, from two lighted fishing jetties or at the perch pond. Fishing License are not required when fishing in a state park from the shore or a pier. Click HERE for more information. During the summer the park host a Learn to Fish event. To visit their calendar for more information, click HERE.
Sunsets Cedar Hill State Park sits on the Eastern side of the lake, making for some great sunsets out across the water!
Cedar Hill State Park
223 NE 4th Street, Fort Worth1570 W. FM 1382, Cedar Hill
Click HERE to visit their website.
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