Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park in Plano, Texas. It has several amenities including 3 miles of paved hiking trail, 3 miles of unpaved hiking trail, a 2.8 mile off-road bike trail, restrooms, a covered pavilion, and a playground. The pavilion can be reserved for special events. An observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of the park. There are three regions in the park: Blackland Prairie, Riparian Forest, and Upland Forest. A pond in the preserve is named after Vasil Levski. Birds that live in the park include killdeer, owls, woodpeckers, egrets, herons, scissor-tailed flycatcher, and turkey vulture. Many other wildlife such as deer, coyotes, snakes, garden cheetahs, turtles, fish, and rabbits also live in the park.
A natural respite with three distinct eco regions Blackland Prairie Appearing from Beneath Prairies contain large expanses of grasses and wildflowers with few trees. This region is called the Blackland Prairie because of the black clay soil. Early settlers to our area encountered many miles of prairie, which were later disturbed by farming, ranching and building cities. The prairie areas at Arbor Hills are being restored by mowing, controlled burning, and seeding. The most common plants of the prairie are grasses, and the dominant grass is little bluestem. In late spring the prairie blooms with an abundance of wildflowers. Bluebonnet (our state flower), Indian blanket, winecup, horsemint, and many types of yellow daisies bloom here at Arbor Hills. Birds of the Blackland Prairie include killdeer, scissor-tailed flycatcher, and turkey vulture.
Riparian Forest Tangled and Growing Riparian Forests grow along a creek or river. The word riparian comes from the Latin word for river. The tangle of trees, shrubs and vines growing thickly along the creeks at Arbor Hills can create the feeling of a jungle. A wide variety of trees including the majestic bur oak and red oak are found here. Poison ivy and other vines climb the trees, and willows even grow in the creek. Upland Forest Unusual Location The Upland Forest is found at higher elevations in the park and at a distance from the creeks. The Upland Forest at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is unusual because most of the forested areas in our region are found along waterways. Cedar elm is the most common shade tree in this area. Small flowering trees such as redbud and Eve’s Necklace bloom in the spring. The cool shade and relatively open forest floor make the Upland Forest a pleasant area for walking on hot days. The hooting of an owl or the rustle of leaves as a rabbit runs away can be heard if you walk quietly. Coyotes and bobcats still roam the Upland Forest, but are rarely seen
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a natural respite within our suburban city. It is a special place left largely undisturbed where visitors can have the pleasure of being surrounded by nature and experiencing animals, plants and ecoregions found in North Central Texas. Environmental stewardship means responsibly using and managing land and resources so they can be used and enjoyed now, and just as much in the future. In order for Arbor Hills to remain a healthy nature preserve, it is important that all users act as stewards of the park. Your proactive stewardship of this park will help especially when you properly dispose of litter and pet waste in trash cans. It is also important to not disturb plants, animals or any part of the environment, and finally, you help to protect the Preserve by staying on trails that are clearly designated for use.