We’re just going to come right out and say it: rail trails are the best.
Across the US, from the crowded High Line in New York City to the secluded Bizz Johnson Trail in Northern California, abandoned train tracks are being transformed into public pathways that breathe new life into an often-forgotten part of American history.
And as it turns out, the folks in Dallas know a good idea when they see one.
Say hello to the Katy Trail, part of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (get it? Kansas-Texas, K.T., Katy). With a history that dates back to the latter half of the 19th century, the first north-south train line to bisect the Lone Star State continues to play a prominent role in the lives of Dallas residents – albeit in a much quieter fashion.
Find the Perfect Ride for Cycling the Katy Trail:
Nowadays, the Katy Trail has been converted into a pedestrian and bike-friendly passage connecting Uptown to Highland Park. These are some of the most densely packed sections of the city, but you’d never know it pedaling along the beautifully maintained 3.5-mile pathway. That’s because it runs alongside Reverchon Park and Turtle Creek, giving cyclists a refreshing feeling of privacy throughout the ride.
Speaking of refreshment, it wouldn’t be a Texas bike trail without all the hospitable fixin’s, including ample water fountains, detailed maps, and over a dozen street ramps for easy access to surrounding neighborhoods.
There’s also the small detail of the Katy Trail Ice House, whose bike-up terrace has become legendary in the Dallas running and cycling community. Located directly off of the pathway and across from the commemorative Katy Trail train car, it’s high on our list of fantastic places to rehydrate after a ride. And that’s saying something.
Being both relatively short and almost entirely flat, the only thing to complain about here is that there’s not more of the Katy Trail to actually ride. Thankfully, however, there are supplemental trails both within reach and slated for construction.
To the south, a little bike-friendly navigating on nearby Victory Ave and Hi Line Dr will connect cyclists to both the Trinity Strand and Trinity Skyline trails. This adds a few more waterside miles to your day, and provides a pretty thorough tour of northern and western Dallas. To the north, the extension from Glencoe Park to Worcola is slated to put riders within striking distance of the Ridgewood Trail, which could conceivably take you all the way out to White Rock Lake.
Taken on its own, however, the Katy Trail is still a formidable piece of rail to trail development. Take a ride and see for yourself. Just remember to save us a seat on the terrace when you’re done.