Towne Lake Park & Recreation Area in McKinney was a wonderful little gem I stumbled upon a few weeks ago.  It is definitely a place you should visit if you live in the area.  Always on the hunt for new places to hike and shoot pictures of birds and other wildlife, I often come across places that are so close to where I live, that I’m very surprised I hadn’t discovered it before now.

But…here I am again, totally surprised by a beautiful Nature Preserve area within just miles of my house.  This place is called Towne Lake Park & Recreation Area, and it is a beautiful area to hike and explore, and I’m very glad I discovered it (totally by accident)!

I receive emails occasionally about bird sightings in the area, and one of the sightings happened to be at Towne Lake.  I clicked on the map link just to see where this place was, and I was shocked to learn how close it was to me.

From the photos I saw, it looked like a nice park with a beautiful lake, some paddle boats, picnic tables, and lots of ducks to feed.  I’m usually on the lookout for more remote locations where I might spot some exotic while animal (or just a bobcat or something), but I thought I’d check this place out for some hiking.

See what I mean? Totally serene. It’s like being in another world. Lots of amazing trees all along this wonderfully hidden pathway!

I needed to get my steps in anyway, so why not do it while scoping out a new area?  So I packed up my camera gear, my hiking boots, my water bottle and headed to Towne Lake Park.  It only took me about 5 minutes to get there!

When I pulled in the parking lot, I noticed a sign right near the parking lot that mentioned the Nature Trail and pointed off towards a heavily wooded area.  A nature trail?  I didn’t know there was a nature trail.

I was so excited.  I headed in the direction the sign was suggesting, and noticed a very nice amenity center.  I decided to stop in to see what I could find out about this nature trail.  The ladies inside were so helpful and very nice.  They quickly printed off a map for me of several trails in McKinney, and sent me off in the direction of the nature trail at Towne Lake.

What a nice surprise.  It was beautiful!  I entered the trail, and suddenly felt like I was in another world.  It was so green, so peaceful, and so quiet.  All I could hear was water running from the nearby creek and birds chirping.

I was so close to Central Expressway, that I never dreamed it could be so quiet.  But guess what – I couldn’t hear any road noise.  Like I said…it was like entering another world.  I loved every minute of this hike.

If you prefer a paved trail to hike on, there is a sidewalk that circles this beautiful lake. There is a playground, some paddle boats, and lots of ducks, geese, and other fun animals to look at along the way.

When I came home, I checked out the website to see just what they had to offer at Towne Lake Amenity Center.  Here is what I found out about this area from the Towne Lake website:

  • 108 acres
  • Neighborhood park across from McKinney High School
  • 2 picnic shelters with electrical outlets
  • 2 sand volleyball courts
  • 9 horseshoe pitching courts
  • 2 barrier-free play structures
  • Fishing pier
  • Paddleboats and dock – Patty Young concession
  • 2 concession / restroom facilities
  • 22-acre lake with two fountains
  • 1.2 mile lighted hike and bike trail
  • “Memories” bronze statue
  • 18-hole disk golf course
  • 3 parking areas with 16, 40 and 332 parking spaces

This is the 9th hole, or the 9th disk catcher. Not sure what the official name is for Disk Golf, but you can see a few of these across the creek from the hiking trails.

I was every intrigued by their disk golf course.  I had played that with my kids on our trip to Chicago last summer, but was unaware of any courses near our home.  This one is right down the street.  All you do is cross a little bridge over the creek near Towne Lake, and there you are…on a wonderfully serene disk golf course.

At one point on my hike, I could see across the creek to the golf course.  It looked like a lot of fun.  Definitely something I want to do with my kids at some point.  Maybe we can hike first, and then play a friendly game of disk golf!

Also, the amenity center is quite nice.  I’m pretty sure that once my kids see the ping pong tables in the amenity center, they will not want to leave.  But it’s nice to have an air-conditioned place with snack & drink machines close by (just in case).

Their website, www.mckinneytexas.org has a lot of helpful information for you if you are interested in learning more about this wonderful place.

So there you have it.  My latest favorite place for an easy, fun, and beautiful hike through a heavily forested area.  Let me know what you think when you go.  I’d love to see your pictures, too!  Until next time…

 

P.S.  As always, my pictures were taken with my Canon 5D Mark IV and my Canon 70-200 zoom lens!  I really could’ve used a Canon wide angle lens at this place – there was so much to see.  A wide angle would’ve been nice!  Some day…

Lucky for me, I did not see this sign until the end of my hike! Otherwise, I might not have ventured onto the trail!