White Rock Lake-Quiet, serenity for sailboats, kayaking and running trails

Located about five miles from downtown Dallas, White Rock Lake is a very large urban lake that covers 1,015 acres. As part of the Dallas Parks system, White Rock is one of the most heavily used parks in the system and serves as a major recreational location and is the chosen location for many runs and other special events. White Rock Lake offers plenty of opportunities for active Texans to enjoy natural areas and wildlife very close to a major city.

There are many things to see and do around White Rock Lake, including a nearly-ten-mile hiking and biking trail. The most notable activity on White Rock Lake is rowing.

Rowers of all ages and types launch their boats off the historical boathouse and dock and they hold races regularly, often as people on sailboats, kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards watch them. All of those activities are very popular on White Rock Lake, and most are available by rental. In fact, cancers, kayakers, and paddle boarders in the Dallas Metroplex consider the lake a major hotspot. There are also several fishing piers dotting the lake.  (Swimming, skiing and large boats with motors are prohibited.)

Surrounding White Rock Lake is White Rock Lake Park, which features a 9.33-mile trail for hiking, running and bicycling, the Bath House Cultural Center and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which features 66 acres with 11 lush display gardens.

Because of the variety, there is seasonal color year-round at the Arboretum, which may be one reason it sees more than 1 million visitors a year, from all over the world. It is certainly a reason why the Dallas Arboretum is listed among the best in the world. The Arboretum is home of the largest outdoor floral festival in the southwest, the Dallas Blooms. The Bath House Cultural Center was once the bathhouse for several crew teams, including SMU. Now, it serves as a museum, memorializing the history of the lake.

The White Rock Lake Trail is one of the most scenic trails in Dallas.  Considered the centerpiece of the Dallas trail network, it circles White Rock Lake and provides a heavy-duty workout for runners and joggers of all skill levels. For cyclists, White Rock Lake has been described as heaven. The only downside for them is that weekends can be crowded, which is why many cyclists stay off the trail and ride in the road. The road loop is a a bit longer, at 11 miles, but there is usually less traffic. On the north side of White Rock Lake is the White Rock Creek trail. Between both trails, it is possible for a cyclist to grab a 26-mile ride, round-trip.

Another very popular reason people in Dallas and elsewhere love to visit White Rock Lake, besides its proximity to the city center could very well be the Spirit of Dallas Sailing Center. You can’t beat the price, since it’s free to all citizens of Dallas, although you must make a reservation first. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the peace and tranquility of sailing on this 38-foot custom catamaran, and they are welcome to bring a picnic on board. While the boat will not sail in rough or difficult weather, on any sunny day, everyone is welcome to sail the beauty of White Rock Lake at their leisure.

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