As of September 2018, this page of the NTX Trails Progression Guide is incomplete. Please check back often for updates.
Greenways—also possibly known as greenbelts—are a perfect first step for newbie mountain bikers, especially for newbies who can’t find a riding buddy but still want to put down some miles.
Greenways are sometimes designated by signs bearing a white circle as shown in the chart above.
A greenway can be either a paved or non-paved surface that is mostly flat and very wide—think wide enough to drive a car on or wider. Greenways are typically home to two-way traffic that consists of both walkers and cyclists.
While a greenway may sound like little more than a sidewalk, they’re really much more than that in most instances. A greenway is typically purpose-built for multiple uses such as walkers and cyclists, and tends to be a long, contiguous surface that has minimal interruptions by cross streets or other motorized traffic.
A greenway is also often constructed near or through natural green spaces and preserves, whereas sidewalks are built close to neighborhoods and businesses for the purpose of aiding pedestrian traffic. In some municipalities bicycles are prohibited from using sidewalks, but rarely prohibited from utilizing greenways. If you can safely pedal a bike down the sidewalk or a street, you can pedal down a greenway.
Another reason greenways are a great first step is because it can be a new MTBer’s first exposure to riding a soft surface trail—which in the case of a greenway means hardened dirt or possibly gravel. Bicycle handling on dirt or gravel is somewhat different than riding on pavement, and if you’re using an actual mountain bike that bike’s handling will be better on a soft surface trail. Knobby tires actually don’t perform well on paved surfaces, and slick road tires don’t fare all that well on dirt or gravel.
Not sure what some of the words in this article mean? Be sure to check out our Glossary of MTB Terms and Slang.
New riders are often surprised how much stamina is needed to pedal their bike for several miles, so greenways are a smart choice to put in some saddle time and start building up endurance—both leg and rear end endurance.
Greenbelts also offer the lowest-risk type of trail riding possible. A rider on a greenway is extremely unlikely to encounter technical trail obstacles that might throw them from their bike. A greenway is almost impossible to get lost on as well. Most greenways are either mostly straight lengths of trail where the rider can bike to the end then turn around to come back, or a closed loop that begins and ends at the same place. Greenways usually have great signage as well, especially in the middle of the city.
When riding a greenway, always remember that walkers have the right of way. Be courteous and don’t go faster than you can handle, and slow down as traffic increases. It’s a good idea to get a bike bell and ring it as you approach walkers and other riders from behind. When you get close enough, announce yourself and your intention to pass by saying something like, “On your left!” This phrase is fairly universally understood, and simple enough for most English speakers to parse your meaning even when hearing it for the first time. Pass walkers and riders on their left shoulder and give them as wide a berth as possible—an abundance of caution and politeness will give you a great reputation with local users. Finally, don’t try to pass until the left side of the path is free of oncoming traffic. Remember, greenways are almost always home to two-way traffic.
The following is a list of greenways in North Texas. Just because a location is listed here does not mean all of the trails at that particular location are greenways—only that the location has at least one greenway. Always do your own research, know your own skill level, and don’t ride beyond what you’re comfortable handling. Never be embarrassed to walk your bike until your skills increase. Be aware that some soft surface greenbelts are closed when wet. Do not ride closed, wet trails.
Notable North Texas Greenways and Bike Paths
Here’s a quick list of some of the longer or well-known greenways, linear trails, and bike paths available across North Texas. We’ve linked out to websites with more information where possible. Remember, most of these trails will be concrete bike paths, but a few may feature gravel, crushed granite, or other natural surfaces. Some of the trails listed below can be connected together for increased distance. Also be aware that some segments of the trails listed below may not be open to cycling traffic. Please plan ahead.
- Watters Creek Trail-4 miles long
- River Legacy Trail—8 miles long (not to be confused with the River Legacy MTB trails at the same location)
- Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor—11 miles long
- Coombs Creek Trail—1.25 miles long
- Cottonwood Creek Trail—3.6 miles long
- Katy Trail—3.5 miles long
- Northaven Trail
- Preston Ridge Trail—6.3 miles long
- Santa Fe Trail—4 miles long
- Santa Fe Trestle Trail
- Trinity Skyline Trail
- White Rock Creek Trail—7.6 miles long
- White Rock Lake Trail—9.33 miles long
- The Loop—Under development: A planned loop connecting the system of existing linear trails around the perimeter of downtown Dallas.
- FORT RICHARDSON STATE PARK
- Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway—9.1 miles long
- LITTLE ELM
- MINERAL WELLS
- Lake Mineral Wells Trailway—20 miles long
- NORTH FORT WORTH
- Village Creek Historical Area Trail a.k.a. Bob Findlay Linear Park—5.7 miles long (connects directly to the River Legacy Trail in Arlington for more distance)
- PILOT POINT
- Isle du Bois State Park (paved trails only)
- Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve
- Preston Ridge Trail—6.3 miles
- Powerline Trail—2.4 miles long
- Rowlett Creek Trail—1.1 miles long
- Russell Creek—4.5 miles
- THE COLONY
- Tribute Shoreline Trail—3.11 miles long
- The Colony Shoreline Trail-3.50 miles long
- WICHITA FALLS
- Circle Trail—18 miles long
- The NETT (Northeast Texas Trail)—153+ miles long
- FORT WORTH
- JOE POOL LAKE
- Open Google Maps
- Click the menu in the upper left corner
- Choose “Bicycling” from the menu
- Concrete trails will be shown in dark green
- Dedicated on-street bike lanes will be shown in light green
- Off-road greenways and bike trails will be shown in dashed dark green
- Bike-friendly road (without a dedicated bike lane) will be shown in dashed light green
- Dirt/unpaved roads will be shown in brown
How to Find More Greenways and Paved Trails
While NTX Trails doesn’t focus on listing all of the greenways and paved trails in the area, there’s an easy and fairly reliable way to find such cycling opportunities near you. Here’s how:
Looking for Some Great Gravel Routes in North Texas?
Some of you love grinding gravel, but it can be hard to find and connect a good long stretch of the crushed stuff in one ride. Check out this list a gravel routes we’ve discovered. We’ll keep adding more as we learn about them.