Located on the western border of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park featuring vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity.
- Paved recreational trail (approx. 3 miles)
- Natural unpaved trails for pedestrians only – open dawn to dusk (approx. 3 miles)
- Designated off-road cycling trail (approx. 2.8 miles)
- A natural biofilter for cleaning surface run-off from the parking lot before it reenters the ground water tables
- Observation tower
- Pavilion (click here for reservation information for the pavilion)
TRAIL MAINTENANCE INFORMATION
During periods of wet weather natural surface trails will be closed to prevent erosion and trail damage. This may last a few days beyond the wet weather in order to allow trails time to dry appropriately.
Watch a video of the Mountain Bike Trails at Arbor Hills. For updated Arbor Hills trail condition information, please call our hotline at 972-941-7788.
Stewardship is everyone’s responsibility – help us preserve your Preserve!
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a natural respite within our suburban city. It is a special place left largely undisturbed where visitors can have the pleasure of being surrounded by nature and experiencing animals, plants and ecoregions found in North Central Texas. Environmental stewardship means responsibly using and managing land and resources so they can be used and enjoyed now, and just as much in the future. In order for Arbor Hills to remain a healthy nature preserve, it is important that all users act as stewards of the park. Your proactive stewardship of this park will help especially when you
- properly dispose of litter
- deposit pet waste in trash cans
- do not disturb plants, animals or any part of the environment
- stay on trails that are clearly designated for use
Want to help preserve your Nature Preserve? YOU can make a difference. Volunteer to clean-up trash at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Thanks for your help! Click here for information on how you can volunteer.
INTERPRETIVE TRAIL MARKER SYSTEM
The department has developed an interpretive trail marker system to help you identify more details about the park. Markers indicating specific points of interest are placed throughout the park. An accompanying Interpretive Trail Map is available by clicking here. We hope you will enjoy the park and it’s various wildlife and plants. For more information on the park, please call the Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Office at 972-941-7250.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a natural respite with three distinct ecoregions:
1. Blackland Prairie – Appearing from Beneath
Prairies contain large expanses of grasses and wildflowers with few trees. This region is called the Blackland Prairie because of the black clay soil. Early settlers to our area encountered many miles of prairie, which were later disturbed by farming, ranching and building cities. The prairie areas at Arbor Hills are being restored by mowing, controlled burning, and seeding.
The most common plants of the prairie are grasses, and the dominant grass is little bluestem. In late spring the prairie blooms with an abundance of wildflowers. Bluebonnet (our state flower), Indian blanket, winecup, horsemint, and many types of yellow daisies bloom here at Arbor Hills. Birds of the Blackland Prairie include killdeer, scissor-tailed flycatcher, and turkey vulture.
2. Riparian Forest – Tangled and Growing
Riparian Forests grow along a creek or river. The word riparian comes from the Latin word for river. The tangle of trees, shrub and vines growing thickly along the creeks at Arbor Hills can create the feeling of a jungle. A wide variety of trees including the majestic Bur Oak and Red Oak are found here. Poison ivy and other vines climb the trees, and willows even grow in the creek. Owls and woodpeckers inhabit the trees, and water birds such as egrets and herons look for fish in the creek. The two branches of Indian Creek are home to turtles, snakes, fish and many insects.
3. Upland Forest – Unusual Location
The Upland Forest is found at higher elevations in the park and at a distance from the creeks. The Upland Forest at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is unusual because of most of the forested areas in our region are found along waterways. Cedar elm is the most common shade tree in this area. Small flowering trees such as redbud and Eve’s Necklace bloom in the spring. The cool shade and relatively open forest floor make the Upland Forest a pleasant area for walking on hot days. The hooting of an owl or the rustle of leaves as a rabbit runs away can be heard if you walk quietly. Coyotes and bobcats still roam the Upland Forest, but are rarely seen. (excerpts from the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Park Information and Interpretive Trail Guide)
Did You Know?
Wildlife is affected up to 200 ft on either side of a trail used by humans.
Arbor Hills is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Site in accordance with the stringent program guidelines established by Audubon International. To find out more information on the program click here.