Local Adventures,  Texas

Local Adventures | Trinity Trail & the Gigantic Sycamore Tree

We found out about this gigantic sycamore tree via Chris’ mom’s landscaper. We tried to find a back way into this park but to no avail, so we went the long way from the Highland Park trailhead at Lake Lavon. It is 4.5 miles one way to the tree, but well worth it. This is a multi-use trail so in addition to foot traffic, horses are allowed on the trail.

Where: Trinity Trail at Lake Lavon, Highland Park Trailhead
Trip Distance: ~9 miles round trip.
Coordinates: Entrance is located at 33° 6.191’N 96° 32.583’W
Additional Information: Trinity Trail Riders, Trail Map, Scroll to C2: Highland Park, TWPD site
Bring water and snacks! Some of this trail is in the shade but some sections are in the open, so a hat is recommended

Instead of lugging around my dDSLR I opted for a point and shoot this time around. It was heavenly!

The gate down to this road at this sign (where I put the coordinates for the entrance above) was closed when we arrived. There is a trail head parking lot just to the south of this entrance and you can walk via the trail this way as well, which adds on an additional 0.5 miles. We started from the sign and walked down the road, probably a similar 0.5 miles since we didn’t see the trail head at the time. If the gate is open you can drive down the road, which leads to a boat ramp, and park there, eliminating the extra 0.5 miles. The trail head is easily visible as it is a hole cut in white pipes with a low pipe for horses to jump over.

We left early and was at the trail head by 6:45 to beat the Texas heat. The morning was overcast but sunrise was still beautiful.

The trail is marked well and the path is well worn. You shouldn’t get lost!

I didn’t get a good look at the leaves on this clematis, but I’d guess pitcherii or crispa.



I know most people don’t like thistle but it really is a beautiful weed.



A few times the trail parallels cattle pastures, therefore the only large mammals we saw were these kind folks. We did see an armadillo and heard some other rustlings in the brush, but the wildlife was quiet. In the car before we got to the entrance we did see a skunk in someones pasture!

A lot of Monarda seed heads…not much blooming this time of year.


At around 3.5 miles you come to the bottom of the Sycamore loop trail. Either way, the tree is pretty much at the top of the loop.


We knew we were getting close when we spotted other large sycamores lining the creek the trail began following.

And then we found it!

There’s a picnic table and places to tie up horses and would make a great spot to backpack in. The creek does run right by the site but I don’t recommend drinking from it unless you are desperate. There is quite a lot of trash in the creek and I’d also take into account the runoff from local farm fields.



While the tree is a DFW metroplex champion and all the articles I kept finding said it was 3 points bigger than the one in Houston, the champion tree list for Texas still has the one in Houston on record. I’m guessing this is because the split of the trunks of the tree are below dbh (diameter at breast height, how trees are measured). I haven’t found anything else on it. Nonetheless, it’s still a cool tree!

You know how we like our big trees.





On the way back we met two of these fellas. We’d seen one before in the Big Thicket and were amazed at their ability to climb up their silk to the limb of the trees.

On the way out we saw lots of these trees, what I think are honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos.


We walked fairly fast to get out off the trail before the summer heat came along, a little over 3 hours round trip. In the fall or a cooler time of year I’d take it slower and enjoy the trail more, particularly if it was spring and more blooms were out. Take a picnic lunch for the tables near the tree and enjoy the area when you are out there. About half way into the 4.5 mile stretch you will walk close to what we thought was a water treatment plant, therefore there could be a smell or two as well as some noise from the area, but once you get closer to the tree that goes away.

Don’t forget to hug the tree!


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