Of all the trails at Tyler State Park the D Loop is my favorite. At just over 2 miles it’s not the longest trail in the park, but the fun lies in all the elevation changes–lots of steep slopes where the tree roots stick out like natural staircases. It’s very satisfying to get a running start and charge uphill, and I’m looking forward to the day when I’ve had a little more trail riding experience and can attempt those hills on my bike.
D Loop is a shady trail almost entirely in the woods; in the summer it’s hot and stuffy and still, but in the fall (as seen in the photos below) it’s more than nice, especially when it’s been raining a lot and the sluggish streams the trail crosses here and there turn into pleasantly babbling brooks.
It’s an easy trail to follow–there aren’t a lot of markers, but it’s mostly straightforward. There’s one “off ramp” leading to the Cedar Point camping area, and one place in the middle where it intersects with C Loop. A quick glance of the trail map should clear up any confusion, but I personally like bundling D and C together for one healthy 3.5-mile hike.
D Loop is well maintained, in part by the park staff but also with the help of volunteers such as the East Texas Trail Advocacy non-profit group. It’s a modern trail that follows the contours of the land in curves and switchbacks, like all the trails at Tyler State park–except for the Whispering Pines trail near the park entrance. (Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 30s/early 40s, Whispering Pine features a very long, very straight hike uphill with actual wooden stairs built in, and is a good example of how far trail construction has come along, although it’s currently undergoing development and is already a lot more interesting.)
D Loop is popular with hikers and bikers for good reason, and if you’re looking for a well-maintained trail that will really work your leg muscles then this one’s for you.