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The Cotton Belt Trail follows the former St. Louis Southwestern Railway, nicknamed the Cotton Belt line, which began running in the late 1800s and was discontinued in the 1970s. Today, it is part of the planned network of Dallas-Fort Worth trails called the Veloweb.
The rail-trail consists of two disconnected segments: a section running from North Richland Hills to Colleyville and a shorter section in Grapevine. The corridor is shaded in many places, passing among neighborhoods, business districts, and city parks.
In Colleyville, the trail ends at John McCain Road near the Grapevine Highway (SR 26). From here, it's just a short distance to the Grapevine segment, which picks up at SR 26 (also known as Ira E. Wood Avenue), where it intersects Pool Road/Brumlow Avenue. On the south side of SR 26, you'll find the Pool Road Trail. The Grapevine segment continues to run parallel with Ira E. Wood Avenue, past more light industrial and business sectors to end at Ball Street.
At Dick Faram Park in North Richland Hills, the Cotton Belt Trail also intersects with the Walker's Creek Trail. There are plans to extend the trail southeast from North Richland Hills through Haltom City and into Fort Worth.
North Richland Hills is a western suburb of Dallas-Ft. Worth and lies just off I-820. To access the trail, you can park at the municipal complex located just west of Iron Horse and south of Dick Fischer; parking is also available at Dick Faram Park adjacent to Amundson.
I commute on this trail. It has undergone some recent re-construction...but that is all complete. I start in North Richland Hills on the John Barfield trail and link to the Cotton Belt trail. I have seen many bunnies while riding this trail, as well as coyotes. I ride all the way into Grapevine on the trail and then, from Grapevine, on to Coppell where I work.
Just a scant couple years ago this was a much more enjoyable ride. It still suffered from a lot of road crossings that broke it up, but at least most of it was still open and pretty. Sadly, rampant development has caught up with it. I was sad to see what had been pretty groves of live oak, and a very vital marsh were all gone, plowed under for housing. I suspect we won't be riding this one again.
It's good to have a trail, but couldn't it have been set amongst a few more trees or further from the road? I suppose not with the way the area is developed. One other thing, it doesn't seem to have very distinct access points with designated parking.
6/23/18- Headed toward NRH, the trail was shutdown at mile 9 for construction. Nicely kept, clean trails. Moderate incline from grapevine to NRH, but mostly flat terrain. We enjoyed the ride despite killer winds there and back.
I only ran a brief 1.5 miles on this Trail from the Ball Street (northern) end point, but I did want to mention that there is a relatively new (2-3 year old) sidewalk from up Route 26 going past Gaylord Resort, Great Wolf Lodge and the Embassy Suite/Bass Pro that makes this trail very accessible and great for a long run or ride from any of those properties. The sidewalk is very wide and goes along 114 into downtown Grapevine (Main Street is very cool), and then along Ira E Wood Ave along a commercial strip and then transitions into the Cotton Belt trail.
At the Ball Street entrance there are several businesses where you can probably park and access the trail with little difficulty (chiropractor office, etc).
I didn't have a chance to go too far on the actual Cotton Belt so I can't vouch for the scenery. I stopped when I was about to run under an interstate.
Love this trail! Highly recommend for any who loves a challenge.
The other reviews do a good job describing the trail. I just wanted to update and say the section from John McCain Rd to the Grapevine section is no longer under construction. It just follows 26 and isn't too scenic here as it is mostly industrial, but its done.
I love having this trail in the middle of the metroplex. You pass the marsh behind Lockett Park and are able to observe Herons and all types of wildlife. Continue past Pleasant Run Road and you are in a tree-lined area where the leaves shroud the path. On one side are the tracks for the Tarantula train, and on the other are a series of ponds that you pass by where abundant turtles and other interesting wildlife can be seen. It is secluded and quiet on this section. Go west, and the path takes one all the way to I-820. The only negative of this path that I see is that it does cross several roads, but it is a very pleasant journey from John McCain to I-820, and I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy this path. In the near future when construction is complete on Highway 26 (Colleyville Blvd), the section between John McCain and Pool Rd. is scheduled to be extended to join the sections at those roads.
This is a great trail with some nice scenery. The best views are in the area draped with trees near John McCain where you see turtles and fountains. Further west there's always a group of interesting birds in the marsh behind Lockett Park. And if you're lucky, your ride, run or walk will coincide with the Tatatula TrIn. Happy Trails!
There are numerous road crossings (not just a couple as claimed by someone else). Some crossings are quick and easy but several cross 6 lanes of traffic and can entail quite a long wait to get across. The paved trail is in good shape and is okay in width. You travel along roads for a while and stay close to the Cottonbelt rail line most of the way. You pass suburban backyards and industrial buildings along with a park or two thrown in. With all the road & train noise, a quiet, peaceful ride it isn't. However, the trail is better than having no trail at all.
I enjoyed riding this trail over the weekend. The pavement is very well-done and wide. It's safe with only a small number of street crossings that are all clearly marked and with traffic signals. It wasn't very crowded at all but no completely abandoned either.
Some parts of it are reasonably scenic as you get further northeast to the more residential parts but the southwestern end is much more industrial and warehousey. There are a good number of long inclines that gave me some trouble after a while but that was more of function of my tires needing air than of the hills being all that awful (I need to remember to check that before I leave the house). As you're coming down they look a lot more significant than they are. At first I thought, "My god, this is going to KILL me on the way back!" But it didn't.
My only disappointment was that the longer NRH to Coleyville leg leg does not connect to the Grapevine in any way. There should at least be a sidewalk or even a shoulder on the adjacent road you can work with to get there but instead there is NOTHING. If you want to continue to Grapevine it's just you and the 'Gone In 60 Seconds' auditions we call DFW traffic.
This is a great stretch of trail, I am training for a full marathon and lucky to run out my door and run on this trail and run back. It's clean and some areas are wooded and not crowded. There are a few intersections but nothing compared to running on the street!
The section of the trail from Pool St to Ball St in Grapevine is no longer there due to the construction in the area.
The completion of the Hurst portion has made the trail a real nice run from North Richland Hills to Colleyville.
Some of the trail has a rural feel to it. There is a small swamp along the way. Numerous nice houses, with well landscaped yards, back up to a good portion of the trail.
The trail is not very hilly and is close to help if you need it. There is lots of shade and the surface is smooth concrete. Very little traffic on the trail the 3 years I have been riding; but always some traffic, which is good to have.
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