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The Denton Branch Rail Trail is constructed on the right-of-way of the former MKT Railroad, Denton Branch, between Denton and Lake Dallas. For 8 miles of its route, the 8-foot-wide concrete trail follows along the commuter rail line, the Denton County A-Train, a 21-mile rail commuter line between Denton and Carrollton, where it connects to the DART Green light rail line into Dallas.
The Denton Branch Rail Trail generally parallels I-35, passing among schools, shopping centers, medical facilities, manufacturing plants and urban residential areas. The trail extends from the new Denton Downtown Transit Center on Hickory Street south to Swisher Road in Lake Dallas, with many trail access points at public streets. In addition to the downtown transit center, the trail also connects with the station in Med Park.
Trail access points include the City of Denton, City Hall East at the north trail head on Hickory street. Other major points of access include the Golden Triangle Mall area at Loop 288 near Target Department Store, North Central Texas Community College at Corinth Street and 15 other public street crossings.
Was glad to find this trail relatively close to home. Fairly well maintained and a nice ride with two exceptions: 1. Far too many intersections with pretty heavy automobile traffic. Too many drivers has very little regard for bikers and you have to be extremely careful crossing. 2. In the Lake Dallas area for some reason they have placed giant barricades over 3/4 of the bike paths at each intersection with the road. These are very close to the road, requiring even more caution and manipulating to not only avoid traffic, but navigate around to continue on the trail. I even scraped my leg on one barricade while trying to get by it.
Having moved to North Dallas from South Dallas, I have been hard pressed to find some nice trails. This trail does not disappoint. There are frequent crossings that can be tricky. What is nice is that there are areas one can veer off for more challenging biking up hills. There are beautiful neighborhoods throughout. I will look forward to taking this trail again.
4 stars because at times the trail feels a little unsafe and remote from a female perspective.
I am visiting friends in Shady Shores and I found that this trail was a great way to get to an Al-Anon meeting
in Denton at noon today at the Methodist Church on S. Locust Street. I highly recommend both.
After a long hiatus from riding, this trail was a good one for reconnecting with our bikes¿¿.
If you need to get across town on your bike this is a great way to go. I am glad this trail is here. If you want to get out and ride don't bother. A few road crossings? I think I counted 6 in the first 6 miles. The train station at mile 3 is really weird. I had to open a gate and ride down a sidewalk before getting back on the trail. Not a good ride.
I had high expectations of this trail because Denton is a beautiful city and kind of set a high bar. I liked that you can park your car right where you Park and Ride and the beginning of the trail is literally right there. But here are my issues: you have to cross multiple major busy intersections and many smaller intersecting streets where vehicles may come from either a curve or a hill and it's difficult to see them. There is long grass and tree branches that are are almost obstructing the trail, it is not very well taken care of. I lost my momentum many times when I had to wait for a light to be able to cross a street. I wish I would've been able to just ride the entire way without these inconveniences, it was rather annoying.
Did the complete circuit and found it was leisurely, with a few grades and intersection-crossings that keep your attention. A few areas of foliage over-growth, and the North route can pose some headwinds. All-in-all, a really enjoyable ride and easily can be completed, 17.5 miles, in less than 90 minutes, (I'm a slow-poke rider, on a mountain bike).
Rode the Denton Rail Branch from McKinney St. depot to Swisher. Nice ride. 6 feet wide concrete with a few stop signs at road crossings. A few slight hills, enough to get some lower gears, not enough to drop into granny for the riders.
The overpass for Loop 288 wasn't complete so we detoured through an apartment complex, down Loop 288 sidewalk, made a right at the gas pipe network, then got back on between the Home Depot & Target. Easy detour.
About halfway there is another depot across from an apartment complex - at the apartment playground there is a gate to cross the tracks - the trail crosses the tracks there. Not a big deal if you miss it, you'll figure it out.
Ends at Swisher. Clocked 9.7 miles one way.
On a scale of 1-10 for DFW area rides it scores a 7. Worth riding if you're looking for something new in the 20 mile range.
Denton Branch Rail-Trail is a very good concept. Side walks are wide and clear in most areas. Unfortunately, I could only recommend this trail to an experienced in-line skater.
Back in February I attempted this trail and quickly realized that it was far beyond my ability. While the trail does provide smooth surfaces, it is also very challenging due to the numerous intersections, hills, and terrain changes. The trail goes through residential and industrial areas, as well as the DART rail line. There is one major intersection at Loop 288 and Colorado Blvd. This intersection is very busy and hazardous. Accessing the sidewalk entrances at intersections is a bit of an obstacle as well. The entrances are not adjacent, but intstead you must go up and then back to get to them. Some are also very small with overgrown weeds.
On the day that I skated, there were very few other individuals around, and I was very glad to have a friend with me to provide guidance and security. I was unable to make it much further past the Loop 288/Colorado Blvd area due to lack of lighting.
The trail does provide several areas for in-experienced skaters to practice on a straigt away. In this users opinion, this trail is more suited to walking, hiking, biking, and experienced in-line skating.
The new "Denton Branch Rail Trail" is now open with a completely reconstructed 8' feet wide concrete trail. The new trail has been constructed along side the new Denton County Transportation Authority(DCTA) commuter rail line between Denton and Carrollton for 21 miles.
The new Denton Branch Rail Trail is 8 miles connecting the Denton Downtown Transit Center, Med Park rail station as well as many public facilities as school, shopping centers, medical offices, hospitals, community college, and residential neighborhoods and apartment complexes. The trail's southern access point is at Swisher Road at Lake Dallas.
For maps and more information, refer to the Denton Parks and Recreation website or www.dentonparks.com Call the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department at 940-349-7275 for more information or details.
The Denton Branch Rail Trail is now under re-construction as part of a major construction project by the Denton County Transportation Authority(DCTA) to place a rail commuter line back on the original rail bed and build a new trail along side the railroad. Information and construction updates can be found at www.dcta.net or www.mya-train.com It is expected this construction will continue until January 2011 when the rail line will open. Parts of the trail may open earlier as construction progress permits.
"Due to construction on Loop 288 at milepost 724, it is recommended trail users by-pass this construction area by using Brinker road to Spencer Road back to trail at Woodrow lane crossing. Construction is expected to last until 2009. Contact City of Denton, Parks and Recreation for updated details 940-349-7275. "
"Just wanting to update everyone about the break in the trail at Loop 288.
Construction is still going strong there. Traffic on Loop 288 is one lane in each direction and is busy there. You don't want to cross the road there and should use the detour.
I have walked this whole trail before and never have felt unsafe even in the northern portions. However, everything south of the Loop 288 is much more rural and a lot nicer hike. (or bike)
There are a couple of stores and businesses along the way right off of the trail that makes it possible to get drinks and snacks.
I heartily recommend starting south and going north."
"My wife and I rode this trail on Saturday, 11/19/05. We started at downtown Denton, but did not like the parking and surroundings, so we went south to the mall. Unfortunately, the trail is still split by Loop 288. It comes to an abrupt end there, and you have to make about a 1/4 mile detour, including crossing (better walk your bike) Loop 288, which was at a crawl. Past 288 proceeding south, it was great riding to Corinth. Brush had recently been cleared on the sides, so trail was wide open. We only met one hiking couple on the entire ride, but felt safe, due to proximity to civilization the whole way (hospitial, school, new subdivisions). We considered this a good trail, although the 288 mess is an inconvenience."
"I haven't been out there since they tore down the bridge and severed the trail at Loop 288. Does anyone know if there has been any steps to repair this break in the continuity of the trail?
**REPLY FROM RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY**
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reminds trail users that contacting the local entity that manages individual rail-trails is the best way to get the most up-to-date information on a particular rail-trail. For the Denton Branch Rail-Trail, additional information can be obtained by contacting the Denton Parks and Recreation Department at 940-349-7275 or by viewing their Web site on the trail at www.cityofdenton.com/pages/parksrailtrail.cfm."
The Denton Branch Rail-Trail would be much better if it was extended and made much longer. It ends too abruptly in both directions.
"I have been walking the trail weekly for the last month. The construction has made it difficult becauses of parking issues. North of the Loop is not as pretty as the south end although it does have several parking locations. There are not many places to park along the trail at the access points on the south end.
Yesterday I found a great parking spot near NCTC, behind the RV dealership literally next to the trail at a mile marker. I like this section of the trail the best as it's very scenic with a lot of vegetation and a couple of bridges. Just walk northward, it will be 3 miles before you come to the Loop.
What a great time of year. Get out and see fall begin!"
"This trail is now threatened by road construction at Loop 288 right beside the Target store. My guess is that they're widending the road and tearing down the bridge, which will leave trail users cut off from the rest of trail."
"The Denton Branch Rail-Trail has been completed and is open for use as of May 2002. The trail is eight miles long with mile markers posted every 1/4 mile (Mile Post 721.5 to 729.5).
One bridge is out between Mile Post 721.75 and 722 necessitating trail users to detour around on the following city streets: Morse Street, Lakey Street and Praire Street.
The trail is receiving a lot of use."
"We live near the trail and use it often. It has taken a while for it to be completed, but it is awesome. Unfortunately, DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) has purchased the right-of-way. It is in preliminary planning stages, but it looks as if it may become a commuter rail line, unless we do something about it. Help!?
NOTE FROM RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY: Chris, an option that Dallas Area Rapid Transit and local public officials could consider is a ""rail-with-trail"" project that incorporates both the commuter rail line and the trail into the same transportation corridor. For more information on these projects, please see the RTC study ""Rails-with-Trails: Design, Management and Operating Characteristices of 61 Trails Along Active Rail Lines"" found at www.trailsandgreenways.org under the Technical Assistance and Full-Text References headings."
"The trail needs to be maintained and it also needs to be finished. In Corinth, the rail track is there where they stopped, but the city of Corinth needs to finish it. Denton needs to make it attacch to the Greenbelt trail from Lake Ray Roberts. Currently, the trail ends rather abruplty."
"The trail is not well maintained but is servicable to the end at Burl St. in Corinth. The southern end of the trail is several blocks away from a convenience store. I'm glad I rode it, but until it extends further south toward Dallas, I won't ride it again."
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