Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
6701 W. Parker Rd., Plano
Parks office: 972/941-7250
Trail conditions: 972/941-7788
Hours: 5am–11pm daily
It’s easy to deduce from the throng of families walking their dogs, racing scooters, picnicking and tossing around footballs (remember to duck when you walk past) that Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is the place to cure your nature deficit disorder – or just to get outside and run wild.
For some family time in the fresh air, join the flurry of activity by dusting off your own stash of soccer balls, Frisbees or roller skates from the garage and heading out to the 200-acre expanse of woodland and rolling hills right next door to the Plano suburbs.
The southern end is designated solely for off-road biking trails, and paved walking paths extend all over the park with more dirt trails branching off from them. All this foot traffic scares away much of the wildlife, but posted signs and maps make great pains to educate readers on the park’s primary intention – preserving the land in its natural state, namely, the three types of ecoregions: the Riparian Forest, which runs along a creek, the Upland Forest and the Blackland Prairie. The park’s observation tower sits on the edge between the latter two. Take your camera along for the best view of the park and a great family photo op.
A trip to Arbor Hills would be remiss without ample time spent swinging and sliding at the playground, an expansive lot with its own pavilion and a separate play place for toddlers. On a busy day, you’ll fight for a parking space but the soon-to-be completed parking expansion will lessen the overflow.
Published March 2014