2020 - Walk with Amy : McCommas Bluff Preserve
Photos and Text from Amy Martin

McCommas Bluff Preserve is one of those legendary Dallas wild places. It shows as a big dark-green blob northeast of Trinity River Audubon Center. A primal preserve with an aura of danger from wildlife, two-legged and otherwise. A few months back, a hiking partner and I took the short grassy trail off the Trinity Forest AT&T Trail into the preserve all the way to Elam Creek, but it was too high to cross into the preserve. I’ve yearned ever since.

Scott Hudson showed me the way. We met at the Great Trinity Forest Gateway and Horse Trail Park at Dowdy Ferry and I-20 in the forest’s southern reaches. With most of the park focused around a large pastoral pond and picnic facilities, and a video-monitored parking lot, it’s a safe place to leave your car.

So odd to have a wide concrete trail way out here, and its hydrology engineering often times is atrocious. It proceeds through a wide cleared area that can feel sun-blasted, the cooler forest so far away. We walked past illegal dumps of tires and tiles, but through some nice woodsy areas, too, past a huge cemetery, to the wild end of Riverwood, definitely not a place to leave your car.

Right there at Riverwood are the bluffs of McCommas Bluff, shored up with vertical steps of rock-filled wire gambions that pinch the Trinity River, creating mild rapids. The flow was fierce, far fuller than recent mild rains would cause. Must be a water release from Lake Lewisville, Scott informs, showing why you should always hike with someone smarter than you.

More details in the upcoming hiking report for GreenSourceDFW: chance encounters with park rangers, an encampment of neer-do-wells that has its own Google Maps placeholder, adjacent landowners who help themselves to timber and gravel, the beautiful yet weird woods at the end of Fairport, the deep wet woods near I-20 ravaged by ATVs, the many tiny sun-blessed meadows of native beauty.
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