Places Covered in this Article
When people say Dallas, images conjure up of a city skyline peeking through rolling Texas prairies. Paddle boarding does not immediately spring to mind for this land-locked metropolitan city. Don’t let this fool you!
There is more to Dallas than their cowboys and the eponymous hit TV drama. Look past the Big Tex cowboy get-up and discover lakes and rivers perfect for SUP exploration and experience. Think peaceful lakes and winding rivers just waiting for you to start paddling.
Whether you are a beginner paddle boarder or an experienced paddler, you will be able to find some suitable water to get on. Before you know it, you too will be paddle boarding Dallas in no time with our detailed guide below.
Citizens of Dallas have worked hard over the recent years to clean up Trinity River and make it what it is today. Now, it is one of the more popular paddle boarding locations in the Dallas area.
This spot is well known for trail riders, hikers, wildlife photographers, and fitness enthusiasts. The river itself is 710 miles long and carves its way through the State all the way to the coast at Houston.
There are three key areas to Trinity River you need to consider before taking your SUP gear and hitting the water:
All three areas offer slightly different paddle experiences worth considering. As always with river paddling, be sure you check the height and flow rate so that you don’t exceed your stand up paddle boarding experience level.
About an hour’s drive out of the city, head north past Lewisville Lake to pick up the Elm Fork of Trinity River. This is a great spot for a weekend day trip to get on the water.
Launch your board from either Lake Lewisville Dam or Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area to make use of the easy access and slow currents. From either of these points, you can meander up and down for several hours under the treetop shady canopies.
The thick forestry banks to the river offer great opportunities to spot a wide array of wildlife along the way. With little obstacles, this location is great for any level of paddler.
Other drop-in spots include McInnish Park (Carrollton), T.W. Richardson Grove (Valley Ranch), and California Crossing Park (Irving).
It is recommended that you bring your own equipment here. While you can easily rent kayaks, paddle boards are harder to find at the moment.
Over on the other side of Dallas and Trinity River is West Fork. This part of the river winds through the Northern side of Texas, heading down to Fort Worth before heading into Dallas city.
Despite the muddy looking water, this is actually a vibrant location for a spot of SUP fishing and a welcome cool relief from a hot Texas day.
As you make your way down the river you will catch glimpses of Fort Worth’s skyscrapers and city views over the banks.
Rental shops are available from nearer the city. If you want to start your paddle from further up the river to then drop down onto the city, then you need to take your own gear up with you.
Do you fancy staying more central to the city? No problem. Head to one of the many rental stores to get your gear, or take your own and launch straight into Trinity River.
You will obviously get great views of the city as you paddle under bridges through the downtown parts of Dallas.
After paddling under the Loop 12 bridge, notice the scenery change into dense forest filled with wildlife including hawks, herons, and storks.
Hop off Trinity River and jump into Lake Worth. This isn’t just any lake. Explore the little islands that are dotted throughout the water and meandering lush wildlife hiding away in secluded spots.
Even though you are within the concrete jungle, you won’t feel like you are in a city when exploring Lake Worth.
The lake offers a whole day worth of paddling for the more advanced paddlers. If you are a beginner looking for a test ride, stick close to the beachy shoreline for a more gentle session.
White Rock Lake is the outdoor haven of Dallas. Locals escape the skyscrapers and sidewalks, while tourists soak up the scenery. Due to its popularity, this spot does get crowded over weekends, so hit it up in the week if you are after a more tranquil experience.
This spot is great for all experience levels, however, beginners should be cautious of the wind on the open water.
Heading west on White Rock Lake you will discover various parks and wildlife protection zones, perfect for a complete escape into nature.
There are plenty of rental stores available in the area if you are in need of some gear.
Another firm favorite for paddling Dallas, Lake Carolyn is actually a private lake, so you have to get your gear from one of the outfitters. We recommend heading over to SUP NTX.
You will find this calm water lake in the Irving area in the DFW Metroplex. Make use of the fantastic facilities here, perfect for a family day out with the kids on the water.
From here you can also access the Mandalay Canals to explore something a little bit different.
Lake Grapevine is a great representation of flat water paddle boarding. This spot is easy to access from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and popular with both beginners and more advanced paddlers.
Up in the far northern reaches of Dallas lies the Greenbelt Corridor. This is a remote location to paddle through prairie land with a whole assortment of wildlife.
There are acres upon acres of hiking trails, equestrian rides, and miles of river to paddle. The water is slow flowing meaning you can even paddle upstream.
The remoteness of this location makes it truly special and worth the travel time to access from DFW.
Wanting to escape the city? Head north and discover Lake Texoma just under two hours’ drive away.
This spot is a true escape to paradise to relax with nature. Enjoy the stunning calm waters and dreamy sunsets. Maybe even cast your hand at trying some SUP fishing if you are looking for something to pass the time.
There are paddle board rental stores up here, so you are all set if you don’t have your own gear yet.
And last but not least, we have Brazos River. This spot is a two-hour drive out of DFW which makes it an ideal place for a proper weekend getaway.
The beautiful scenery has plenty of opportunities for you to tie up to the banks and take a break for a mid-paddle break.
Head up here in the Spring for the best conditions for bird spotting, water temperatures, and river levels.
Have we convinced you to get paddle boarding Dallas yet? Even if you don’t have your own gear yet there is nothing stopping you from hitting the water paddling.
Head over to one of the recommended paddle board rental shops to grab your board or perhaps even a lesson:
By now we hope you can see that Dallas has lots to offer for the paddle boarder. This Lone Star State gem is full of great spots to explore on the water so, get out there and discover a whole new side to Dallas!
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