I’ve lived in my house for almost two years and just last week I discovered a great park for hiking with my three young children just 15 minutes away. Actually, Eagle Mountain Park was discovered for me by my sister-in-law but our shared love of spending time with our combined six children had us both heading over there twice in the last two weeks. Located just north of Fort Worth, Texas not far from highway 287, Eagle Mountain Park offers a selection of trails that all lead down to the shores of Eagle Mountain Lake.
Something about exploring the woods makes my children happy to spend hours walking along these rustic trails. The park prohibits bikes, dogs and camping. The trails are not stroller friendly and there are some spots that were challenging for the youngest in our group. My four-year-old son stumbled up a few rocky inclines but was more than happy to dance down stone steps and pick up sticks to sword fight with his cousins.
The highlight of our first trip was at the bottom of the purple/yellow trails. After hiking a little over a mile we took a break on the shore of the beautiful Eagle Mountain Lake. The clear waters, clean shoreline, and a sandy bank were a great spot to reenergize for our climb back up the trail. The kids enjoyed wading in the cool water, throwing rocks, and watching the boat traffic. It isn’t a beach and it was a bit of a challenge getting all the kids down a 3-foot bank and onto the sandy shoreline but it was perfect for our group. On our next visit we walked the red trail and discovered much more extensive and easily accessible shores. Clearly we were not the only ones accessing the water. We found a myriad of animal footprints that were fun to track and invent stories around.
Though the park closes 30 minutes after sunset it was too hard to resist watching the sun set over the lake and we had to push the kids to get back up the trail to the parking lot. We were grateful that although the gate was closed to incoming traffic it opened easily to allow us to depart. Heading out of the park just as dusk arrived we got to see another great asset of the park.
Hiking out that first day we spotted a coyote that was probably just waking up and deer creeping through the woods. On our subsequent trip we saw snakes, armadillo, and hawks. The trails are clear during this time of year it was easy to spot animals through the bare trees.
Eagle Mountain Park offers plenty of parking at the head of the trails. All of the trails are well marked and maps are provided throughout the park. Bathroom facilities are available at the head of the trails and again about half way down the purple trail. All the hiking we did was in sneakers but there were a few more determined hikers wearing boots. I know we will visit the park again and I hope other outdoor lovers don’t miss out on this opportunity just because it is not a well-advertised area.