I’ve read several good things about the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve and was excited to hike it. I had also read some disconcerting comments about stray dogs on the trails and didn’t want to walk it alone. That’s why I asked my friend Regan to join me. She was enthusiastic but also worried about the dogs so she asked her brother-in-law if he had seen any. He bikes there often and said that the OCNP dogs are a known issue but he hadn’t seen them in a while. He also told us to carry big stick, just in case. Here we are looking really tough with ours.
The hike started out nicely enough. The weather was perfect and there was a cool breeze. We appeared to be the only ones out there and ultimately no stray dogs were seen. We chose the first loop-trail that we found but it didn’t “loop” as much as it forked and meandered. It also wasn’t marked well which is probably why we got horribly lost. It was funny at first but after an hour and a half we started to actively search for a way out. I pulled up the map on my phone but it wasn’t much help, so I called the number they had listed for advice. Regan thought this was really funny and captured the moment on film.
The Parks and Rec worker I spoke to in Austin was really sweet and she told me to follow the White Trail to get out. We tried but kept ending up on the Blue or Yellow Trails, which took us even further away from the parking lot. We eventually had to use the compass on Regan’s iPhone to get out, like a couple of old Girl Scouts. Thankfully, Regan kept her sense of humor throughout the hike. She screamed dramatcially any time I asked her to check me for spiders (I walked through about 800 webs) and even offered helpful hints like, “Next time bring bug spray and toilet paper.” It wasn’t until we stumbled across a pile of clothes and abandoned Big Gulp that we both officially freaked out. Creepy, right?
That is why I really CAN’T recommend the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve and I’m giving it 1 out of 5 stars. I would only attempt this one if you’re going with someone who has hiked it several times before. Make sure you TRUST that person though because the OCNP is pretty and offers great terrain for mountain bikers but it’s also an excellent place to hide a body.