This past weekend, we had wonderful weather for some outdoor fun! We decided to venture into Plano to visit the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. We have been to Arbor Hills before for birthday parties, hikes, and photography sessions. The nature preserve itself is massive, and you can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon there if you want to.

Hiking Trails

Many people visit Arbor Hills for the hiking and cycling trails. There are multiple trails to take, depending on what you are in the mood for. There are multiple paved trails that all loop back to the entrance for an easy, leisurely hike. If you are more adventurous, there are also off-road trails that take you on some slightly more difficult, natural terrain. There are even designated off-road cycling trails, if that is more your speed. All of the trails and routes are clearly marked, and there are multiple maps and signs along the way. Despite the size of the park, it is actually quite difficult to get lost there. There are also many scenic overlooks and footbridges that provide great scenes to stop and admire. As this is a nature preserve, there are also wild animals out and about. We didn’t see anything other than birds this past weekend, but we have heard about sightings of other wildlife.

The interior paved trail is about 1.3 miles if you do the entire loop, so it’s not terribly difficult, just be prepared and bring some water and sunscreen. If you’re ambitious, the longest paved and unpaved hiking trails measure at just about 3 miles long. The cycling trail comes in at 2.8 miles. There are plenty of options for people of all fitness levels. To repeat, the trails all eventually loop back to the entrance. More importantly, at least according to my kids, all trails lead back to the playground!


The playground is nicely nestled in the trees and has plenty of shaded areas to play. There are multiple slides, ramps, ladders, and stairs for children of all climbing abilities to access the raised areas and get back down to ground level. The undersides of the playground have neat areas to play as well. My kids had a blast exploring all of the nooks and crannies. The swing set is also reasonably large and has swings suitable for children, toddlers, and babies. The playground at Arbor Hills also includes an attached pavilion. So, parents can easily relax in the shade while watching their children play.

Covered Pavilions

Did I mention covered pavilions? Including the one that is playground adjacent, there are a total of 4 pavilions at the entrance of Arbor Hills. They are all plenty big enough to provide ample space to relax in the shade or sit down for a picnic during your visit. You can even reserve a pavilion of you wish to hold an event or party!


The most recent additions to the nature preserve (they weren’t there on previous visits) are a number of rentable electric scooters. We did see a couple abandoned scooters along the trail, but they were kept out of the way and did not impede travel. So, if scootering is your thing, you may be able to speed through the paved trails on an electric scooter too!

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