Exploring the Trinity River, Part 3

By Victor Simon, an intern at Trinity Park Conservancy, and part of the Mayor’s Intern Fellowship Program. For his internship, he is researching and exploring different sites and features along the Trinity River.

According to TrailLink, the Santa Fe Trestle Trail is “the first off-road trail in Dallas to cross the Trinity River—opened for use in late 2011. The centerpiece of the trail is a steel rail trestle that was originally built for the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company in 1879. The current bridge was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company in 1903-1904. 

While most of the rest of the abandoned corridor was taken by DART in 1992 for a light rail line, the agency opted to construct a new rail bridge over the Trinity instead of using the old trestle. The newer light rail bridge is clearly visible to those using the Santa Fe Trestle Trail, providing a constant reminder of the rich railroad history of the region.

It was rebuilt a number of times during subsequent years, and the Trinity Project has taken it back to its original splendor. The City worked closely with the Texas Historic Commission to update the bridge for today’s safety and aesthetic standards, while still preserving the majority of its original attributes.”


The location is mainly dry, not many trees, get a good breeze and contains a lot of wetlands. Even though it’s short trail just under 1 mile long, the trail and railroad provides a great connectivity for the residents of the neighborhood of Oak Cliff. The trail can be accessed from Riverfront Boulevard or on the west side of the levees at Santa Fe Avenue.


The trail starts at the DART station on Eight Street. If you are visiting the trail it takes you across the Trinity River and gives you a nice view of it and Downtown.


Santa Fe Trestle Trail is the beginning of the Great Trinity Forest. You will receive a beautiful view of the forest along with some nice shade. As you are further up on the bridge you will see different areas of water tunnels that lead into the river. One of the tunnels is the boat launch for people who would like to kayak the river.


When I went to the trail I noticed one area that looked weird and had a crazy smell to it. The water was white and it just smelled bad , officials in Dallas Water Utilities and the Office of Environmental Quality said they believe the smell was “organic material”. It could be spoiled food such as rotten fruit and vegetables, according to this Dallas Morning News report


Although there are things to do at the trail such as walking, jogging, or hiking in the Great Trinity Forest. It was mainly quiet when I visited the only loud noise was DART trains passing over the trail.

Victor Simon is a rising senior at Kimball High School where he is a part of their varsity football and track teams.