Explore the crown jewel of Dallas’ parks

White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas, 2007.

Dallas is visible in the distance across the stretch of water that is White Rock Lake. Couples skirt the lake’s edge, peering into the water, and families lounge in the shade, hiding from the heat of the day. Bikers speed down the trail that encircles the lake.

White Rock Lake is where locals go for afternoon walks, family picnics and to walk their furry friends. The lake and miles of trails provide a little something for everyone. Boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, biking, strolling– it’s all here, 5 miles from downtown Dallas.

If you’ve never been to White Rock Lake, figuring out the best course of action is difficult. The lake is large, it would take over 3 hours to walk the entirety of the trails circling the lake. Plugging the lake’s address into your GPS will take you to a neighborhood near the lake, not an entrance or parking lot.

Don’t shy away though, White Rock Lake is a great way to get to know Dallas. A little planning can enhance your trip and make your time well-spent.

Like I mentioned before, following your GPS to White Rock Lake is not the best way to find your way. Decide what you want to do first and plan where to park from there. Use this map to plan your trip.

Trails and Wildlife


White Rock Lake is the destination to go to if you want to walk, bike, or discover beautiful views of nature.

The trail circles the entire lake, and on weekends, is packed with bikers and pedestrians. Exploring White Rock Lake this way is the most flexible. Parking in any of the free parking lots will give you access to the lake and trails. There is a parking lot designated for cyclists and a parking lot designated for runners off W. Lawther road. You are not required to park in those lots to do those activities, but it can be a nice way to meet other people invested in the same activity.

The entire lake is beautiful, but the most scenic areas are on the northeastern portion of White Rock. Wildflowers grow in abundance and bloom in late Spring. The fields are beautiful any time of year and are full of wildlife, perfect for pictures.

A post shared by Katherine Leal Unmuth (@kunmuth) on

For the best chance of encountering wildlife, head to the old fishery on the southwestern side of the lake.

On the Lake


Swimming isn’t allowed in the lake but there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the calm waters of White Rock.

Catch Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish and White Crappie from the lake, just make sure to pick up a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department fishing license from a tackle store or Wal-Mart before you cast your line.

Thanks to a prohibition of large motors, White Rock Lake is a calm body of water perfect for rowing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.

There are rental areas around the lake. Most rentals are by the hour, play for an entire day or a short morning jaunt, just make sure to get your rental back to the rental shop before it closes.


A post shared by Callie (@calypsomai) on

You can take small motorboats out onto the lake to fish or explore. There is a launch point for boats on the western side of the lake off W. Lawther Road. Just make sure your outboard motor is no more than 10.5 HP.

White Rock Lake also provides the opportunity to sail. Visit White Rock Boat Club or the Corinthian Sailing Club, both on the east side of the lake, or go to their websites for information on membership.

Four-Legged Friends


You will notice dogs of all kinds enjoying the trails at White Rock. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all time but there is a dog park at White Rock where your furry friend can run free and jump in the lake.


Vivian Farmer
After reading books about far off places as a child, Vivian was hooked on travel writing. She traveled during her college years and wrote about wine, oil painting and wild hogs. She's planning her next adventures and writing about anything and everything travel related.