Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

AlertsUpdated: September 10, 2021

While the Covid-19 virus has pushed much of our work to online webinars, live video programs and more social media, we are fortunate we have permission for our visitors to be back on our trails. As scientists continue to understand this virus and how it spreads, we are gaining a better understanding of the virus and are slowly and conservatively opening back up.
Public open hours: Entry remains on a reservation-only basis.
Thursday-Saturday, 9am-2pm (last trail entry at 12:30pm). Gates are locked at 2:00p.

RAIN CLOSURE: Trails will close when we receive a significant amount of precipitation. Best land management practices to ensure sustainability and protection of our trails means no hiking on wet trails. Call ahead to check status of trails. 

Important Changes and Updates:

  • No Dogs:  After researching various studies on the impact of dogs on wildlife along hiking trails and due to people not picking up their dog waste, we will revert back to our original sanctuary status, providing a unique space to slow down and observe this ecosystem within the nature corridor. Dogs are welcome on the Balcones trail in front of Dogwood Canyon.
  • Registration: Admission will still be free, but to reduce chances of Covid-19 spread, we will be limiting visitors to 20 total per hour. Advanced registration will be required.
  • Masks: Masks are recommended for those who are not vaccinated.
  • Areas Closed: Nature Store, Basin, Nature Play area.   
  • Hours: See above
  • Changes: As data and parameters change, we will adjust as needed to accommodate the needs of our staff, volunteers, and visitors.

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Not Just the Best Birding Much More!

Since its opening in 2011, Dogwood Canyon has been the wild, special, rich-in-diversity place, where plants, animals, and people all live in harmony with each other. A 6,000 square foot Audubon Center greets you and serves as the starting point for the Dogwood Canyon Trails and over 200 acres of pristine forest.

Conveniently located just 16 miles southwest of Downtown Dallas, Dogwood Canyon is part of the White Rock Escarpment. It is easily accessible within a 50-minute drive of four million people and 15 minutes from 24 schools who use the center for many educational field trips.

FeaturesBlack orange and white bird

If you just want to hang out or chill at the canyon with family and friends, Dogwood offers a shady retreat with picnic tables and an unstructured children's nature play area. The canyon features the following:

  • Academic programs
  • Conservation workshops
  • Facility rental where guests are surrounded by nature
  • Two canyon trails
  • Visitor center

Kids Love Being in Nature

Whether to spend family time, school field trips, or just taking a group of kids to enjoy the outdoors, Dogwood Audubon Nature Center is the perfect place. Many kids think a nature trip would be boring, but view the video below of how being at Dogwood Center has changed their view of being outdoors.

A Bit of History

On April 23, 2008, John Flicker, former president of the National Audubon Society, led the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center. The center was part of Flicker's vision to connect people with nature and its wildlife in urban areas such as Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.

To be able to conserve over 200 acres of important wildlife habitat in a major metropolitan area is incredible, said Flicker. Dogwood Canyon will reveal a world many people in the area rarely see, and provide an unrivaled opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience, understand, and grow to care for the natural world.

The groundbreaking ceremony included planting a dogwood tree by local school children to celebrate the conservation of the canyon and the science education programs that serve 5,000 students at the center each year.

Audubon Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center


The $7.4 million project was the result of a partnership between the City of Cedar Hill and the Audubon Dallas local chapter. Audubon Dallas, in cooperation with Audubon Texas and National Audubon Society, developed the sanctuary. The center's building is named the C. E Doolin Education and Visitors Center for Frito-Lay, Inc., co-founder, C. E Doolin.

Dogwood Trees

Dogwood Canyon derives its name from the flowering dogwoods that are found on the site. The flowering dogwood is common to the piney woods and post oak belts of Texas, but is generally absent from shallow clay soils of the limestone regions. Plants and animals from East, West, and Central Texas converge here at the outer limits of their ranges, making Dogwood Canyon home to a unique combination of flora and fauna. Most importantly, the canyon supports mature Ashe Juniper trees, the last known nesting habitat of the federally-endangered Golden-cheeked Warblers, and the Black-chinned Hummingbirds (both songbirds).

Habitat for BirdsHummingbird

Dogwood Canyon also provides outstanding habitat for migrating and nesting birds. Orioles, tanagers, warblers, hummingbirds, and others feed on the rich nourishment provided by its lush vegetation. Many birds sing their songs seemingly from every tree like:

  • Chuck Will's Widows and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
  • Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers
  • White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Warbling Vireos