Description - Cedar Hill State Park is a 1,826 acre urban nature preserve located on the 7500 acre Joe Pool Reservoir. The Park's proximity to major metropolitan cities makes it an ideal destination for families who want to enjoy the great outdoors without spending precious time driving. The ruggedness and scenic beauty of the area combined with over 100 miles of shoreline and the water based recreation on Joe Pool is a major attraction. The Metroplex skyline reflects on Joe Pool at night adds to our relaxing wilderness atmosphere.
In 1854, John Anderson Penn settled in the rugged cedar-covered hills of southwest Dallas County, an area known as the Cedar Mountains. Today, remnants of the original Penn Farm survive intact in the confines of Cedar Hill State Park. The park was acquired in 1982 and was opened in 1992.
- Probably this biggest attraction to this 1,826 acre urban State Park is its location. The park sits a mere 10 miles south west from Dallas. Visitors to this excellently equipped State Park are spoilt for choice, for Cedar Hill caters for a diverse variety of interests.
The area features 355 mostly wooded campsites with a shade shelter over some of the picnic tables. Each site has water, electricity, a fire-ring, a lantern pole, and a picnic table. All campsites are within walking distance of restrooms with hot showers. Additionally, there are 30 primitive campsites.
Cedar Hill State Park is home to the premier North Texas mountain bike trail. The DORBA trail, named for the volunteers of the Dallas Off Road Biking Association, was built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Over 1200 acres of prime mountain bike landscape are crisscrossed with 15 miles of intense riding. This exciting trail is closed after rainfall so call 972/291-3900 and press star 2 for trail conditions.
Bird watching is a popular activity year-round at the park. The most sought after bird at the park is the Painted Bunting. Painted Buntings abound in the Park from the first week of May through August each year. The park is home to other neotropical migrants including the Yellow-billed cuckoo, the Indigo Bunting, the Chuck-will's Widow and many others. Fall and winter brings: Ruby-crowned Kinglets; Yellow-rumped Warblers; Gold Finch; American Kestrel; and Cedar Waxwing. Resident birds include the Eastern Bluebird, the Greater Roadrunner, the Loggerhead Shrike, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Great Horned Owl, both the Turkey and Black Vulture, and the Bewick's Wren. The park's bird list contains almost 200 species!
The Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and The Texas Parks and Wildlife have joined together in the battle against pollution and over used landfills. Their efforts are showcased at Cedar Hill State Park. The Park is home to the premier compost demonstration site in Texas, and possibly nationwide. The demonstration site portrays step by step examples of how to turn yard clippings into valuable fertile soil instead of landfill waste. Compost amends existing soil and is perfect for organically producing giant vegetables. In addition, composting reduces the amount of chemicals needed to gain the same results organically. Come by and see science in action!
Penn Farm Agricultural History Center pays tribute to the disappearing Texas' family farm and affords a glimpse into agrarian history as farm machinery took the place of the horse and mule almost a century ago. The Farm is open 7 days a week to self-guided tours. There are reconstructed and historic buildings from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s. The farm is also home to a variety of farm animals including, Hector, the pack mule and Vern, the fainting goat. There are chickens and various other farm animals. The farm also has an organic vegetable garden, and a gift shop. The Penn Farm is operated by Park Hosts and Volunteers and there are opportunities for you. The Penn Farm has a very relaxing atmosphere and is perfect for family walks.
The park has over 200 picnic tables with waist-high grills, and most have a view of the lake. Additionally there are two two lighted fishing jetties and a stocked perch pond for youngsters. Lake fishing includes largemouth black bass, crappie , and catfish. Slot limit on Joe Pool is 3 largemouth bass limit of fish under 14 inches or over 21 inches. Crappie must be over 10 inches and the limit is 25 fish. The park has a gravel swimming beach surrounded by picnic tables with grills. There are no lifeguards on duty; therefore, swimming is at your own risk. Playgrounds: The park has 4 playgrounds conveniently located throughout the park.
Two concrete four-lane boat ramps welcome boating enthusiasts. There is also ample lighted boat trailer parking. Joe Pool Marina rents ski boats, bass boats, jet skis, and pontoon boats for family activities. In addition they have an indoor/outdoor fishing barge. They have a convenient store that sells bait, fishing gear, and camping gear, as well as some food products. Yearly boat slip rentals are available. They can be contacted by calling 972/299-9010.
The park is refuge to 5 native tallgrass prairie remnants which are federally listed as endangered. The tallgrass prairie remnants are the most important natural resource in the park. These small remnant prairies are dominated by Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Sideoats Gama, Switch Grass, and many other native grasses. Other plants of interest in the prairie land include Rosin-weed, Old Plainsman, Wand Milkweed Antelope-horn Milkweed, Celestials, Spiderwort, Sensitive-briar, Purple Coneflower, Bluebell, Blue Sage, Fleabane, Ladies Tress, Iron Weed, Engleman Daisy, Maxamillion Sunflower, Downy Paintbrush, Heath Aster, Trout Lilly, Standing Cypress, Eryngo, and others. Eastern Gamma grass was reintroduced by park staff in selected areas as well as Meadow Pinks. The Cedar Hill area is unique in that historically it is where two climax ecosystems converge.
The tallgrass prairie and its rolling black clay soil clashes with the rugged limestone escarpment. Hundreds of years ago an ancient cedar forest covered the escarpment. It was in that rugged ancient forest that Golden-cheeked Warblers thrived. Sadly the Golden-cheeked Warbler is on the verge of extinction due to habitat destruction. The last Golden-cheeked Warbler was seen in the area in 1969. The tallgrass prairie was migratory habitat for the Eskimo Curlew now thought to be extinct. The transition zone between these climax ecosystems was full of brush, interspersed with grasses and small trees that were burned frequently by the prairie fires. This was home to the endangered Black-capped Vireo last seen in the area in 1993. Overall, the park is dominated by upland forests that include cedar elm, honey locust, mesquite, and juniper trees. In the scenic, wooded hills, common animals include bobcat, coyote, fox, squirrel, armadillo, and raccoon. Lake fishing is good for largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, and catfish. The park is also an excellent flyway for Neotropical birds.
Cedar Hill State Park has a multitude of wildflowers including Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Wild Hyacinth, Celestials, Wild Foxglove, Wild Larkspur, American Basket flower, Clasping Coneflower, and Indian Blanket. The roadsides, in the park, have many bluebonnets. The Native prairie remnants have a wide variety of wildflowers, and many of the best displays are visible only to those on foot. Many of the roads to the park are dotted with wildflowers. Spur 408 between Dallas and I-20, I-20 between Arlington and I-45, and FM 1382 from I-20 to Cedar Hill State Park, usually have good displays of bluebonnets mixed with Indian Paintbrush. The peak roadside wildflower blooming is expected from the last week of March through the 3rd week of April. The peak blooming displays for off road wildflowers should be from the beginning of April through the 3rd week of May. The park has scheduled off-trail walks on the prairie, with a discussion of the area's natural history and wildflowers. Dates are April 7th, April 21st, May 12th, and May 19th. Long pants and chigger spray are recommended.
The topography is unique in that the blacklands roll into towering limestone escarpment. The escarpment has outcrops that run from Mexico to Kansas. The park is reminiscent of the Texas Hill Country and one will forget they are in the Metroplex while visiting Cedar Hill State Park.
Not far to the north, the Dallas and Ft. Worth Metroplex contain such attractions as professional sports teams that include the World Champion Dallas Cowboys football team, the Texas Rangers Baseball team, Dallas Stars Hockey team, Dallas Mavericks Basketball team, and the Dallas Burn Soccer team. All just 20 minutes from the Park. Other attractions include Ft Worth Stockyards and Water Gardens, Omni Theater, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera, Billy Bob's Texas in Ft Worth, Dallas and Ft Worth Zoo, horse racing at Lone Star Park, Nascar racing at Texas Motor Speedway, Traders Village flea market, Farmers Market, Deep Ellam night life Dallas Zoo, Dallas Nature Center, JFK Memorial, Six Flags Over Texas, Ft Worth Botanical Gardens, Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, DFW International Airport , Ammon Carter Art museum, Will Rogers Coliseum, and the State Fair of Texas in October.
Camping fees vary; entrance fee. For reservations call 512/389-8900. Current conditions including fire bans and water levels can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities offered by the Cedar Hill State Park includes, camping, nature study, viewing interpretive sites, fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, waterskiing and bird watching.
Climate - Cedar Hill State Park is located at an elevation of 237 feet. Temperatures within the park range from a January average low of 36 degrees to a July average high of 95 degrees. The average first freeze is around November 13 and the average last freeze: is March 23. The wettest months are April and May. Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.
Cedar Hill is located 10 miles southwest of Dallas, 4 miles southeast of Grand Prairie, and 3 miles west of Cedar Hill and is accessible via FM 1382. From US Highway 67 exit FM 1382, 2 1/2 miles north on the left. From Interstate 20 exit FM 1382, 4 miles south on the right (on the Joe Pool Reservoir). The park is skirted by FM 1382 and Mansfield Road.