John and I both had Good Friday off from work, so we decided to put our grading and lesson-planning on hold yesterday and take the day for ourselves. We spent the morning and early afternoon hiking at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, which is a 40-minute drive from our house. I had been there before, but it was many years ago as a young Girl Scout. The Preserve was called the Dallas Nature Center back then.
Upon arrival, we headed down the Preserve’s main trail, Cattail Pond, a 1.2-mile moderate trail that ends at the trail’s namesake (see pictures above and below).
We immediately took to the Preserve. There were other hikers there, but it never seemed crowded, and the terrain offered hills, creeks, scenic outlooks, and the early signs of spring. If not for the nearby housing developments and the sound of I-20 in the distance, we could almost have imagined ourselves out in the country rather than in the midst of the Metroplex.
While the hike to Cattail Pond had been fairly easy, we got in our workout for the day with the next 2 trails: Fossil Valley and Cedar Break. From Cattail Pond, we took off (and up) on Fossil Valley, a 0.9-mile difficult trail. I, sadly, was a little out of breath on the inclines. Clearly, my twice-a-week walks and elliptical machine sessions are not nearly enough to get me in shape!
The Cedar Break trail was longer (1.7 miles) but rated at the moderate-difficult level. It featured several good hills, but it also meandered among cedar trees for stretches of time. We encountered only a few other hikers while on this trail.
We had packed a lunch, so we took a short break at one of the many picnic tables near the trailheads. Afterwards, we had just enough energy left to tackle one more trail: the Bluebonnet Trail, a 1-mile moderate loop. We had hoped the trail’s name indicated that we would spot bluebonnets on our walk, but for a while we were disappointed. Finally, we rounded a bend and found a few young bluebonnets making an appearance among the prickly pear cactus.
It was a lovely way to end our hiking for the day. All told, we walked about 5 miles at the Preserve. It was an excellent place to hike, with well-marked and maintained trails. I just wish we lived a little bit closer to it so that it would be a viable weekend option more often!