Burleson, Texas, a small city (burlesontx.com) close to Fort Worth, features a number of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. For those looking to do some hiking, the city itself offers only a few tame walking trails in well-manicured parks. But by venturing into the area surrounding Burleson, would-be hikers will find a number of serious trails, including opportunities at nearby state parks and wildlife preserves.
A state park about 20 miles east of Burleson, Cedar Hill State Park (tpwd.state.tx.us) offers camping, fishing and boating in addition to hiking. It also contains over 10 miles of mountain bike trails. For those who prefer to travel by foot, Cedar Hill is home to 4.5 miles of hiking trails with a tall-grass prairie backdrop. The park is also home to almost 200 different bird species, making birdwatching a popular activity for hikers.
Another state park located near Burleson, Dinosaur Valley (tpwd.state.tx.us) is about 35 miles southwest of the city center. Still, the interesting hiking opportunities at this park might well be worth the drive, as Dinosaur Valley features "some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world," according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Dinosaur Valley contains more than 1,500 acres of land and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails. Many of the dinosaur tracks are located on a riverbed section of the hiking trail, so guests should call ahead to ensure that the bed is dry and accessible.
The first of two wildlife reserves less than 30 miles from Burleson, Cedar Ridge Preserve (audubondallas.org) protects the natural habitat of native plants and animals on over 600 acres. This includes a number of butterfly gardens that host thousands of the insects every year. For hikers, the reserve features nine miles of trails, though guests should be wary of bicycles also allowed on these trails.
Fort Worth Nature Center
The second of the two nearby preserves that welcome hikers, the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge (fwnaturecenter.org) is about 25 miles north of Burleson. The center features prairies, forests and wetlands full of the natural plants and animals of Texas. Owned and operated by the city of Fort Worth, the Nature Center covers about 3,621 acres of land, making it one of the largest such preserves owned by a city in the United States. In addition to its overall acreage, the Nature Center also offers over 20 miles of trails devoted specifically to hiking.
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