Prairies of North Texas

The native grasslands of the Blackland Prairie region in thus listrepresent the rare remainders of a vast ecosystem, of which less than 1% still exists. These important vestiges of our prairie heritage range from a few to over 1400 acres. Other types of prairies in North Central Texas, such as those found in the Eastern and Western Crosstimbers to the west, are also included, as well as some savannas.

Many of places listed are open to the public or by appointment with various organizations. Details, location and access information are at the weblinks. Please feel free to suggest additions and changes. To visit other prairies in Texas, visit this page at Native Prairie Association of Texas.

 

Metro Area

Collin County

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – Plano
A mix of native prairie and hardwood forest. Features: concrete and dirt trails, facilities and parking.

Beck’s Creek Tall Grass Prairie  — Richardson
A 13.6 acre blackland prairie remnant adjacent to Woods Park, now in danger of being turned into a residential subdivision. Commercially owned, so access should be coordinated with landowners.

Connemara Meadow Preserve — Allen
A 72-acre meadow site in the process of prairie rehabilitation. Open to the public. Features: trails.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary — McKinney
Nature preserve includes 289 acres of restored prairie habitat. The moderately strenuous mile-long Bluestem Trail affords the best view of the prairies. Features: dirt trails, facilities, visitor center.

Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve — Plano
An 800-acre park with some reclaimed blackland prairie parcels. Features: trails, facilities.

Parkhill Prairie — Blue Ridge
A 436-acre preserve in northeast Collin County with a 52-acre parcel of original blackland prairie. Features: trails, facilities.

Peters Prairie
A 4-acre prairie remnant. Contact NPAT before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests.

Rosehill Park — Garland
A park with 75 acres of prairie remnants mixed with wooded areas. Features: trails, facilities.

 

Dallas County

Cedar Hill State Park — Southwest Dallas
The mostly wooded site is home to five small blackland prairie remnants. All are unmarked except for one 13-acre tract, primarily big bluestem, known as Penn Prairie. Features: trails, facilities.

Cedar Ridge Preserve — Southwest Dallas
A Dallas County Park & Open Space Program near Joe Pool Lake, managed by the Dallas Audubon Society. A Dallas County Park & Open Space Program near Joe Pool Lake, managed by the Dallas Audubon Society. The 600 acres is a mix of blackland prairie and limestone escarpment terrain. The trails Little Blue Stem, and Prairie go through examples of original blackland prairie, with the largest pocket prairie is at the base of escarpment where it meets Cattail Pond. Features: trails, facilities, visitor center. 

Moss Park – North Dallas
Unmarked prairie parcels remain amid conventional park turf. Features: trails, facilities, off-road biking.

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve – Oak Cliff
Mix of hardwood forest and native prairie pockets. Open to the public through the Texas Land Conservancy. Trails maintained by Dallas Off Road Bicycling Association. Features: trails, off-road biking.

Frankford Church and Cemetery — Far North Dallas
A 12-acre blackland prairie remnant with a historic tree, church and cemetery. Contact owner before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests

Great Trinity Forest  — Southeast Dallas
Over 6000 acres of mostly undeveloped bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands with a few unmarked, original prairie patches.

Far northeast corner of the Great Trinity Forest along the Piedmont Escarpment of White Rock Creek, north of where it meets the Trinity River. Large acreage of preserved, undeveloped city-owned land, mainly wooded limestone escarpment with some blackland prairie, sprawls north and south of the Grover C. Keeton Golf Course.

Devon Anderson Park
Piedmont Ridge and related trails pass through some prairie patches amid the woodlands. Home to rare cacti and orchids.Location of Comanche Storytelling Place. Look for the trailhead off the northwest edge of the developed park area. Trail goes north toward Bruton Rd. and to the south. More information at the Dallas Trinity Trails page . Features: trails.

Grover C. Keeton Park — north
J. J. Beeman and related trails pass through some prairie patches amid escarpment woodlands and Scyene Overlook. Trails also extend deep into a walnut grove and the bottomland forest of the Oak Creek tributaries. Park at the far end of the north parking lot by the baseball fields. Look for the trailhead in the wooded area and for the trailhead kiosk. Visit the Dallas Trinity Trails page  for more information. Features: trails, facilities.

Grover C. Keeton Park — south
Piedmont Ridge and related trails pass through some degraded prairie patches amid upland woodlands with view of Dallas skyline. Location of trout lillies in February. Park in the lot just north of the golf course entrance. Cross the entrance road and head south to find the trailhead kiosk Visit this page at Dallas Trinity Trails for information on the multiple trailheads. Features: trails.  

 McCommas Bluff Preserve  — southeast Dallas
Trinity Forest Trail passes through some degraded prairie patches in the McCommas Bluff area. Use the trailheads at Eco Park (5215 Simpson Stuart) or Trinity River Audubon Center (4750 Great Trinity Forest Way). Features: trails.

Pemberton’s Big Spring  — southeast Dallas
Pemberton Preserve (42 acres) with Big Spring Historical Landmark (15.4 acres) features a prairie restoration in process Contact through Facebook page before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests.

Post Oak Preserve — Seagoville
The 335-acre site features one of the last large stands of post oak savanna. The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) manages the preserve and uses it as an outdoor classroom.

Trinity River Audubon Center — Southeast Dallas
Approximately 100 acres of reclaimed industrial land turned nature preserve. A mix of woods and prairie restoration parcels along the river. Nice pond with re-created wetlands. Visitor center has excellent displays on prairie and river habitats. Features: trails, facilities, visitor center.

Samuell North Park – Sunnyvale
Remnant native prairie pockets within the natural areas of the park. Features: paved trails, facilities.

White Rock Lake — East Dallas
About 250 acres of original blackland prairie (formerly a dairy farm) in 15 unmarked parcels on the eastern side of White Rock Lake. Museum about the lake, located inside the Bath House Cultural Center, has excellent displays on prairie and lake habitats. Features: trails, facilities, visitor center. 

 

Denton County

Barnett Ranch
Large, privately owned cattle ranch in western Denton County.  Available for group tours through Connemara Conservancy.

Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center — Denton
A gateway to the approximately 2900 acres of bottomland habitat with some prairie parcels at the confluence of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and Clear Creek. Features: trails, facilities, visitor center.

 

Tarrant County

Blackland Prairie Park — Arlington
A 13.5-acre blackland prairie remnant. Features: trails. Limited parking.

Botanical Research Institute of Texas – Fort Worth
Research enterprise near the Fort Worth Botanical Garden with reclaimed prairie parcels on the campus. The eco-designed visitor center has excellent displays on prairie habitats and the roof showcases a re-created prairie. Features: trails, facilities, research center.

Crystal Canyon Natural Area — Arlington
A 38.7-acre site with some reclaimed prairie parcels amid the wooded areas. Features: trails.

Eagle Mountain Park – northwest Fort Worth
Cross Timbers and native prairie pockets. Features: trails, facilities.

Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge — northwest Fort Worth
A 3621-acre preserve with significant grand prairie and western cross timbers acreage. Inquire at the visitor center for the trails to Farview Prairie, Little Farview Prairie, and other prairies, and Alice Ashley Savanna, Farpoint Savanna and others, plus Canyon Ridge Mesa. Be sure to visit the Prairie Trail with the prairie dog town. Features: trails, facilities, visitor center.

Oakmont Park – Benbrook
Wooded park with prairie pockets at west end overlooking the Clear Fork Trinity River.. Part of the Trinity River Trail system. Look for the nearby turnoff and trail to a state-champion bur oak tree.

Oliver Nature Park — Mansfield
An 80-acre site with a mix of eastern cross timbers and the blackland prairie. Features: trails.

Southwest Nature Preserve — Arlington
Eastern cross timbers and prairie pockets. Limited parking.

Stella Rowan Prairie — Fort Worth
A 70-acre original grand prairie deeded for preservation, but has been severely compromised by gas drilling and pipeline operations.

Tandy Hills Natural Area — east Fort Worth
A 160-acre original grand prairie known for its wildflowers and interesting trails with beautiful vistas. Features: trails.

 

Outlying Counties

Bowie County

Mary Talbot Prairie
A rare 115-acre parcel of original Silveus’ dropseed prairie. Owned and managed by NPAT. Contact before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests.

 

Cooke County

Leo Ranch and Pittman Ranch
Two large, privately owned cattle and sheep ranches with native grasses in the western part of the county. Access for group tours is available through either the Dixon Water Foundation or Connemara Conservancy .

 

Ellis County

Kachina Prairie — Ennis
A 30-acre parcel of original blackland prairie known for its wildflowers on the east shore of Lake Clark. Owned by Texas Land Conservancy and co-managed with the Ennis Garden Club and Indian Trails Master Naturalists. Contact before visiting.

 

Fannin County

Caddo National Grasslands
Approximately 20,000 acres of former prairie divided into two units: Bois d’Arc Creek and Ladonia.

Bois d’Arc Creek unit is mostly wooded with two lakes, fishing and equestrian activities. Features: trails, facilities, campground. A separate part of the unit, Lake Fannin, surrounds a spring-fed lake and overlooks the Red River bottomland. It has a historic stone lodge and camping ground, currently non-accessible. It has an undetermined prairie patch slated for rehabilitation. Features: trails.

Ladonia unit is cropland turned grasslands, with Johnson grass and other invasives being dominant.

 

Grayson County

Eisenhower State Park – Denison
Hilly park on the southeast shores of Lake Texoma with pocket prairies of Indian grass, switch grass, and little bluestem, plus echinacea, compass plants, and Maximilian sunflowers.

North Texas Wildflower Prairie
A 35-acre parcel of original blackland prairie known for its wildflowers.

Sneed Prairie Restoration Site — Austin College in Denison
Students and faculty are restoring native tallgrass prairie at the college’s 100-acre Clinton and Edith Sneed Environmental Research Area, the former Sneed family farm. Contact Sneed before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests.

 

Henderson County

Kilman Estate Preserve – Malakoff
Recently acquired lands in the Post Oak Savannah region to be owned and managed by Connemara Conservancy. Native prairie, hardwood forest and wetland preserve. Group tours available by appointment through Connemara Conservancy.

 

Hunt County

Clymer Meadow Preserve
The 1,400-acre Clymer Meadow Preserve is one of the largest and most diverse sections of the original blackland prairie, owned by the Nature Conservancy. Contact Clymer before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests.

County Line Prairie
Also known as Garrett’s Prairie, the approximately 20 acres of Blackland Prairie is owned and being rehabilitated by The Nature Conservancy.

Louise Hanes Preserve
A 73-acre parcel in the Sulphur River headwaters in the process of being rehabilitated into Blackland Prairie. Owned by the Texas Land Conservancy.

Matthews Prairie Preserve
A 100-acre plot of original Blackland Prairie, under conservation easement by The Nature Conservancy and being purchased by NPAT.

 

Kaufman County

Prichard Preserve
A 23-acre parcel of original blackland prairie currently being used for pasture. Contact owner before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests

 

Parker County

Bear Creek Ranch
Large privately owned cattle ranch south of Aledo, Texas. Access for group tours available through the Dixon Water Foundation.

Hillmont Ranch
Privately owned horse farm and Cross Timbers nature preserve. No facilities. Access to nature area for group tours available through Connemara Conservancy.

 

Red River County

Ken Bishop Memorial Trail Prairie – Clarksville
An approximately 30 prairie atop Annona Chalk limestone formation on the east side of the Langford Lake. Take FM 3150 off TX 37 and veer right at the split. Blackland prairie with Midwest wildflowers such as Missouri Coneflower and Narrow-Leaved Vervain at very southern end of range.

 

Wise County

LBJ National Grasslands
Over 20,000 acres of open grasslands with some small lakes. Features: trails, facilities, campgrounds.

 

Wood County

Edmoore Creek
A 392-acre mixed bottomland hardwood, shrub swamp, and open meadow complex. Contact NPAT before visiting. Usually open only for workdays, field trips and special requests

 

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6 thoughts on “Prairies of North Texas

  1. Grayson County: Eisenhower State Park has remnant pocket prairies with various indicator species such as compass plants, Maximilian sunflowers, echinacia, little bluestem, yellow Indian grass, and switch grass.

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