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Parks & Recreational Areas

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Suburban Plano manages this 200-acre park. Behind the large shaded playground and picnic pavilions are entrances to trails for hiking and biking. The paved hiking trail is 4.4 mi, but visitors are free to roam unpaved trails as well. The off-road biking trail is 2 mi. Explorers are rewarded with beautiful views of undeveloped land—a rarity in these parts. 6701 W. Parker Rd., Plano, TX. 972/941–7250. Free. Daily 5am–11pm.

Cedar Ridge Preserve. Sandwiched between residential neighborhoods is the hidden Cedar Ridge Preserve, 633 acres of undeveloped land managed by Audubon Dallas. Head here for solitude and some challenging trails—10 mi in all. There are a few picnic tables at the park's entrance. Once inside the preserve, you'll find signs and markers for specific trails. If you have 90 minutes or so, try the 1.25-mi hike to Cattail Pond. From the pond, you can admire the great expanse around you, and you can look up to see how far down you've traveled—and how far you'll need to climb to get back. At the pond you'll hear the nearby highway traffic, the only obvious clue that you're still in the DFW area. No bicycles allowed. Take plenty of water; there are no concessions on site. 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy., Dallas, TX. 972/709–7784. www.audubondallas.org. Tues.–Sun. sunrise–sunset.

Katy Trail. The scenic 3.5-mi Katy Trail follows the former route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The tracks were abandoned in the 1980s, and today the area is urban parkland. The trail provides a scenic oasis from nearby development, and there's a sense of community among the active neighbors who bike and walk on the paths. There are a few benches along the trail in case you need to rest; parking is free at the American Airlines Center when events are not taking place Trail endpoints: American Airlines Center (2500 Victory Ave.) to the south; Knox St. and Abbott Ave., west of Central Expressway, to the north., Dallas, TX. 214/303–1180. www.katytraildallas.org.

White Rock Lake Park. Before Dallas was so big (read: before central air-conditioning), families would flock to White Rock to fish, swim, go boating, and picnic. Swimming's not allowed anymore, but folks still head to the lake to walk, run, bike, fish, go birding, and go boating (small motors are allowed). A 9.3-mi trail loops the lake, offering beautiful views of the water, stately homes, and Downtown Dallas to the southwest. The annual Run the Rock marathon in December circles the lake. 8300 E. Lawther Dr., East Dallas, Dallas, TX. www.whiterocklake.org.

On the shore of the lake is the Bath House Cultural Center. The restored 1930 building serves as a community center and hosts art exhibits and theater, music, and dance productions, and houses a small lake museum. 521 E. Lawther Dr. 214/670–8749.

A nearby bicycle shop, Bike Mart, rents bikes and helmets for $21.75 a day. 9040 Garland Rd. 214/321–0705.

Participant Sports

In addition to biking and hiking in Dallas-area parks, golf is an enjoyable pastime throughout the year in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Golf

Tripp Davis designed The Tribute Golf Club to pay homage to the renowned courses of Scotland. Golf fees on this 72-par course are $90 Monday through Thursday, and $125 Friday through Sunday. 1000 Lebanon Rd., The Colony, TX. 972/370–5465. thetributegolflinks.nemexinc.com.

Tour 18 re-creates some of the most legendary holes from courses across America, including No. 15 from Crooked Stick, No. 11 from Augusta National, and No. 17 from Pine Valley. Golf fees on this 72-par course are $75 Monday through Thursday, $85 on Friday and Sunday, and $95 on Saturday. 8718 Amen Corner, Flower Mound, TX. 817/430–2000. www.tour18-dallas.com.

Spectator Sports

Baseball

The Texas Rangers haven't made it to the World Series yet, but the club does have a rich history of beloved players including Nolan Ryan (now the club's president), Jim Sundberg, Oddibe McDowell, Ferguson Jenkins, Charlie Hough, and Juan Gonzalez. The team plays at the beautiful Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, one of the most pleasant parks in the majors. 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX. 972/726–4377. texas.rangers.mlb.com.

Basketball

When the Dallas Mavericks are hot, game nights at the American Airlines Center are electric. The Western Conference team, owned by the fiery Mark Cuban, is still chasing its first championship (they came close in 2006, but fell to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals). 2500 Victory Ave., Victory Park, Dallas, TX. 214/222–3687. www.nba.com/mavericks.

Football

It's impossible to exaggerate the passion fans feel for their Dallas Cowboys. You can feel the love at Texas Stadium through 2008, and at the new stadium in Arlington beginning in 2009. 2401 E. Airport Freeway, Irving, TX. 972/438–7676. www.dallascowboys.com.

Hockey

There isn't much naturally occurring ice in Big D, but the city learned to be a hockey town when the Dallas Stars moved here from Minnesota. Die-hard fans were rewarded with the Stanley Cup in 1999. 2500 Victory Ave., Victory Park, Dallas, TX. 214/222–3687. stars.nhl.com.

Catch up-and-coming hockey stars at a Texas Tornado game. The minor league team fields 16- to 20-year-olds who compete in the North American Hockey League. 2601 Ave. of the Stars, Frisco, TX. 972/335–9800. www.tornadohockey.com.

Soccer

FC Dallas has represented the area in Major League Soccer since 1995 (they were first called the Dallas Burn). Their home field, Pizza Hut Park, seats up to 27,000 fans. 6000 Main St., Frisco, TX. 214/222–3687. web.mlsnet.com.