Monday, October 31, 2011

Santa Fe Trestle Trail Over The Trinity Nearing Completion

Santa Fe Trestle Trail as viewed from the Oak Cliff approach on the Trinity River

Santa Fe Trestle Trail October 2011
Looks like the Santa Fe Trestle over the Trinity River is in the final stages of completion. Finally. Seems long overdue. The concrete work looks finished for all practical purposes. Other than a couple metal guardrail sections and some paint it looks ready to open. Unlike previous trips that required climbing some scaffolding this one did not require a dismount.

I'm still scratching my head some as to how those north of the Trinity River will access the Santa Fe Trestle Trail. I'd assume that someone riding the Santa Fe Trail from White Rock Lake to Fair Park would be perplexed as to the route.

Santa Fe Trestle Trail deck looking north DART Blue Line train to the left
The Oak Cliff side of the Santa Fe Trestle has a few hundred square feet of deck complete with seats that overlook the Dallas Wave whitewater park. The DART light rail line that services Corinth Street Station blocks the view of Downtown to the northwest. To see the skyline you need to travel across the river.

Santa Fe Trestle Trail with a view of Reunion Tower, Convention Center, Belo Building, Omni Hotel

Santa Fe Trestle Trail looking north, Dallas Wave Whitewater Park below

Santa Fe Trestle Trail viewed from limestone bank of Trinity River
Three new Trinity River projects meet at this spot. The Santa Fe Trestle Trail, Trinity River Paddling Trail between the Sylvan Avenue and Loop 12 Boat Ramps, the Dallas Wave Standing Wave. The Dallas Wave feature has a different look to it than it did a couple months ago. There is now a distinct ripple that has formed about 100 feet downstream of the structure. I wonder if this could actually be caused by accumulating sediment? I cannot tell how deep the water is now in that spot. It could just be an illusion but my experience with river ripples like that tells me that the water is now very shallow. I could be wrong.


Dallas Trinity River Paddling Trail sign at Santa Fe Trestle Trail

I have been contacted a number of times about where and how a river user should portage the Dallas Wave also called the Standing Wave. In the photo below you will see a canoe portage takeout. It sits about 100 yards upstream of the DART Bridge/Santa Fe Trestle Trail.  Currently the lower portion of the takeout is covered in over a foot of thick mud. Might be easier to just use the bank upstream rather than the takeout ramp itself. If you are brave enough to float the Trinity River, I'm sure you'll figure something out.

The total portage is about 100 yards over paved surface with another ramp downstream of the whitewater project. I have suggested to the city that they give this spot a physical address for their 911 system in the event of an emergency. If you have floated the Trinity in this area you are aware that the banks are steep and few places between Sylvan Avenue and the DART Trestle exist for an easy bailout. This is also the classic spot known as a "Last Chance For Gas" before you head downriver. Chances of seeing another person downstream from here to the Loop 12 Boat Ramp are slim.

Portage ramp for Trinity River Paddling Trail


  1. We and the dogs ran across a Copperhead on the trail this evening. No one came to any harm and we all went our separate ways without any trouble but it was a reminder to respect the wildlife and pay attention.

  2. @ Barry Kooda

    Thanks for the heads up. This is the time of year when snakes down on the river seem to be the most active. Even the floodway, the grass area between the levees is full of snakes. They are attracted to the slowly drying puddles with fish in them. I'm surprised there are so many