Nature & Open Space


Cedar Hill sits at the northern edge of the Balcones Escarpment and marks the start of the Texas Hill Country. Along the escarpment, the ecosystems of East, West, and Central Texas converge to make the area home to a unique combination of plants and animals unlike any in the state. This distinctive collection of natural assets and wide-open green space spans more than 4,000 acres in one of the largest planned preserves in North Texas. Each year, thousands of active outdoor enthusiasts flock to this area to hike, bike, bird, and run through the varied terrain.

The Cedar Hill City Council, recognizing the important role that open space and access to nature plays in wellness and quality of life, has set a goal to preserve 25% of land in Cedar Hill as open space. The open spaces and critical ecosystems in this corridor are preserved and maintained through partnerships with Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, Audubon Dallas, Dallas County, Texas Parks & Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local schools, among other organizations.

Scroll through the information below to learn more about open space and nature and in Cedar Hill and ways for you and your family to get out and explore!

Developed Parks & Preserves

These are parks and preserves that have been developed for public access and recreational usage. Be sure to check each facilities for specific hours and permitted activities.

Cedar Hill State Park

1570 W. FM 1382Green grassy hills and cedar trees with white flowers in the foreground
The beauty of the rugged limestone bluffs covered with forests of dark green cedars attracted early settlers to Cedar Hill. Those same cliffs border the fertile soils and abundant grasslands of the Blackland Prairie, creating an area rich in biodiversity. Cedar Hill State Park protects remnants of the tallgrass prairie that once stretched all the way to Canada. 

Tucked inside Cedar Hill State Park is the historic Penn Family Farm. Spend an afternoon exploring the Penn Family Farm, and see why the family fell in love with this area. Prefer something more modern? Bring your mountain bike and check out the Dallas Off-Road BikingAssociation (DORBA) trail system within the park. The park also boasts several more hiking trails, some great fishing, and plenty of paddling opportunities. Whether you prefer the birds and the trees, or a little bit of modern history, Cedar Hill State Park is a community where you’ll feel right at home.

Visit Cedar Hill State Park Website

Cedar Mountain Preserve

1300 W. FM 1382Pink wildflowers on a green meadow
Preservation of the natural assets in Cedar Hill would not be possible without collaboration between local, state, and federal governments and nonprofit organizations. As an example, Cedar Mountain Preserve is owned by Dallas County but maintained and operated by the City of Cedar Hill. The preserve encompasses 110 acres of natural overlooks with sweeping vistas, secluded valleys, and forested canyons. Visitors can explore the natural beauty of the preserve on 0.3 miles of paved trail and 0.7 miles of natural surface trail.

Visit Cedar Mountain Preserve Website

Cedar Ridge Preserve

7171 Mountain Creek PkwyWater flowing over a limestone ledge with a wooden bridge in the background
At 880 feet above sea level, Cedar Hill has the highest elevation in Dallas County. Each year thousands of active outdoor enthusiasts flock to this area to hike and run the trails. Cedar Ridge Preserve, managed by Audubon Dallas and maintained by dedicated volunteers, offers more than seven miles of trails for a variety of ages and skill levels.

Visit Cedar Ridge Preserve Website

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

1206 W. FM 1382Purple flowers in front of a building
Set at the mouth of a forested canyon, the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill preserves over 200 acres of pristine forest. The Center is a sanctuary to the most colorful and vocal songbirds in our region, from the well-known Painted and Indigo Buntings, Red and White-eyed Vireos, Black-chinned and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, to the lesser-known Louisiana Waterthrush, American Woodcock and Broad-winged Hawk. 

The land is a unique convergence of Blackland Prairie, Eastern Cross Timbers, and Texas Hill Country escarpment ecosystems, a product of its geology and location.Vast colonies of trout lilies, several species of native orchids, and other native plants like green dragon, Texas buckeyes, Texas mulberries, and ancient ashe junipers, were protected from prairie wildfires and human plows for thousands of years within the canyon. Visitors enjoy the quiet solitude of its steep slopes near the highest point in Dallas County on three miles of hiking trails and scenic overlooks. The C.E. Doolin Visitor Center includes a children’s nature play area, accessible indoor and outdoor bird viewing, gift shop, classrooms, special events, and programs.

Visit Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center Website

Lester Lorch Park

1823 Texas Plume Rd.Lorch Park - Pond Yellow
Lorch Park was the first preserve in Dallas County's open space system. Donated by the Lester Lorch family in 1976, the park boasts 82 acres of mature trees and grassy meadows. In the spring and early summer, these meadows feature a colorful collection of wildflowers. The park also contains a five-acre lake that is enjoyed by recreational fishermen and that has been the home for a family of beavers. Lorch Park also has a very popular disc golf course.

Visit Lester Lorch Park Website

Joe Pool Lake

1570 W. FM 1382Woman paddling a kayak in the lake.
Joe Pool Lake is an important recreational, economic, and environmental asset and a water source for the region. Built in 1986, the 7,500 acre lake was built in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Trinity River Authority, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and the Joe Pool Lake Planning Council. 

The lake is located in the cities of Cedar Hill, Dallas, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Midlothian and is fed by two creeks, Walnut Creek and Mountain Creek—a tributary of the Trinity River.

 Joe Pool Lake is a favorite destination for boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. Anglers enjoy fishing the largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, and channel catfish found in the lake. Hiking trails, swimming beaches, campsites, and picnic areas surround the lake and are easily accessed through Cedar Hill State Park.

Visit Joe Pool Lake Website

Undeveloped Preserves

These are properties that have been acquired as open spaces and nature preserves, but have not been development for recreational usage and have no public access at this time.

Calabria Nature Preserve

Singleton Preserve

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