CITY HIKES: The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve- A Serial Killer’s Paradise

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.


  1. Hi Julie,

    I think I am the one that you spoke to on the phone about the trail to get back to the parking lot. I’m sorry to hear that you had a difficult time finding your way out of Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (OCNP). Thousands of hikers and bikers have safe experiences visiting OCNP every year and continue to visit the park for recreational purposes, volunteer work days, and time spent in nature. We are concerned that the strong language in your post will deter visitors to the park, and we’re reaching out to you to ask if you could revise it to use less extreme language or remove your post. Safety is important to us and we regularly maintain the trails so that everyone can enjoy them.

    Rachael Garbowski
    Texas Land Conservancy

    1. Hi Rachel & thank you for helping us in the reserve last week. First, you should know that my blogs are very tongue in cheek. I think that my readers know I’m joking when I call The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve a “Serial Killer’s Paradise.” That said, everything else in my blog is 100% true. The trails are poorly marked and because of that, we got lost. After we talked to you, we called a friend who is familiar with the trails to see if HE could help us get out. When he heard we’d gotten lost he said, “It’s easy to do there.” I’ve been reviewing DFW hiking trails for about 3 months now and have loved it. That said, I don’t imagine LOADS of people are reading these reviews and planning their hikes around them (if that makes you feel any better). If someone does though, I would want them to know EXACTLY what they’re getting into when they visit a trail I’ve reviewed. Sorry, but I simply have to be honest.
      Thank you for your feedback,

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