Slope Soaring in North Texas


Below is a list of slope soaring sites in North Texas.  Please let me know of any other sites you know of, and also let me know what you think of the sites listed below if your opinion differs from that listed here or if you have additions or corrections to the details.  Send an email to me by clicking here:  Send Me Mail

I list the direction each slope faces.  If the slope faces N, you can probably fly with wind from the N, NNE, or NNW.  You might or might not be able to fly with a NW or NE wind, depending on the curvature of the slope and other factors.  Naturally it is optimal if the wind is blowing directly into the slope.

For some ideas on how to find new slope sites, take a look at Fun Locations to Fly Hand Launch Gliders (actually these are good places to slope fly most any glider or slope plane).  This will give you an idea of what to look for.  Even a tree line or a wall can make a fairly good slope site if it is long, tall, and there are no major wind obstructions upwind for a ways!

Here are some sites that offer general information about slope soaring and selection of a slope plane:
        http://www.slopeflyer.com 
        http://home.att.net/~charles.french/CASA/JEF_SlopeIntro.html 
        http://www.fatlion.com/sailplanes/slope.html 
        http://www.fatlion.com/sailplanes/combat.html 
        Soaring FAQ
        http://www.extreme-products.com/slope.html 
        DAW 1-26 HLG -- One of the best EPP slope planes for beginners, but fun for all skill levels
        Boomerang -- One of the best slope "combat wings" (Most people say it is even better than a Zagi or a Razor) 
                               (Also see http://www.boomerangwings.com/ )


The quick list, by wind direction:
Wind from North: 
Benbrook Lake, Hwy 121, I35W, I820, I30, or Lake Ray Roberts

Wind from South:  Benbrook Lake, Inspiration Point, I35W, or Lake Ray Roberts

Wind from East:  Grapevine Lake or Hwy 121

Wind from West:  Inspiration Point (maybe?) or Hwy 121


Tarrant County Sites:

Inspiration Point: 
Slope faces SW, S, and SSE.  Aerial photo of the site

Directions:  Mapsco 60D.  From I-820 on the NW side of Ft. Worth, take Exit 10a, E. Jacksboro Hwy (199) 6/10 mile to Roberts Cut-Off .  Turn right (south) on Roberts Cut-Off and go 4/10 mile to 90 degree bend in road, then another 2/10 mile before turning right into Marion Samsom park driveway that leads to the tall white rock chimney.  Fly from the area near the chimney.  Overlooks Trinity River just below Lake Worth, with the Joint Naval Air Station and Lockheed Martin in the distance.  Lots of height but not very steep, lots of lift when conditions are right.  If wind is too much from the SE, it doesn't work well at all.  See directions below for an adjacent slope that is even better in most conditions, and which may also work with a SE wind.

Notes:        You will be flying over large trees and thick brush.  If you fail to land at the top of the slope, you may need a long pole to fish your plane out of a tree (or use a tennis ball with two holes poked through it and a spool of strong string with one end tied through the holes -- grab the string, swing the ball around then sling it over a branch near the glider, shake the branch to get your glider to fall, then pop the ball back out -- tricky at first, but you'll get good at it pretty fast).  Slope is not for beginners due to the trees.  Jeans and boots recommended for thick brush and stickers (seasonal) if you land down the slope.

Better:        A better slope to fly at this location is described in this explanation I received by email, to which I have added further detail:  Instead of taking the 90 degree turn on Ray Roberts Cutoff, when you get to the 90 degree turn keep going straight into the park area heading towards another type of overlook stone structure (several picnic tables on a covered concrete slab); go past this structure heading south and drive all way to the end to the next overlook type stone structure (one picnic table on an uncovered concrete slab).  Park and get out.  You will be looking south straight out over Lake Worth.  You will think the top of the hill that you are standing on is the one to fly on, and you CAN fly on this hill BUT keep walking straight down the hill towards the water.  Stay to the left when the road forks, then follow the trail that branches off to the left of the road and heads toward the lake.  BE CAREFUL because after about 200ft you will come to the edge of a 200 FT STRAIGHT DROP OFF!!!.  I flew this cliff today in 20 to 30mph winds with higher gusts.  WOW what amazing lift, and it is also BOWL SHAPED!!!!!  I didn't have enough ballast today to truly take advantage of it, but I will next time.  Another great thing about it is you are not constantly threatened by trees trying to grab your plane.  However if you can't make it back up to land on the backside it is a pretty good workout walking down to the bottom to get your plane and then walking back up.  If the wind is too much from the SE to work well here, look for a trail heading off to the left just before the uncovered picnic table as you drive in.  Follow it down to another good location that directly overlooks the end of the Lake Worth dam.  Landing may be tough here, but if you get in trouble you could land on the grassy slope of the dam and hike down to retrieve your plane -- it looks like the trail goes down to the dam, though I have not gone down that far yet.
 

Benbrook Lake Dam:  Slope faces NNE and SSW.  Aerial photo of the dam

Directions:  Mapsco 87Y.  From I-20/Loop 820 in SW Fort Worth, go south on 377 into Benbrook.  After about 1 mile you will turn left onto Lakeway, then after about 1/3 mile turn right onto Beach.  Park beside the road before you get to the private park/beach gatehouse.  Walk to the top of the dam.  You can also continue on Lakeway and turn right on Lakeside to get to Longhorn Park at the east end of the dam.

Notes:        N face is grass, S face is rock.  If flying S face, fly at W end of dam where there is land at the bottom between the dam and the lake so you don't have to land on the rocks if you can't get back to the top of the slope.  N face is a delight to fly -- nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions or roads.  Warning:  this site is about 1 mile from the T-Birds R/C field, more or less depending on which end of the dam you are on.  The field is on Mapsco 87W.  Make sure you know where the field is and PLEASE take appropriate precautions for channel control.  I suggest you drive over and post a note on their board or something similar to avoid shooting someone down or having your plane shot down, then remove the note when you are done.

 

Grapevine Lake Dam:  Slope faces E, north end faces ENEAerial photo of the dam

Directions:  Mapsco 14U.   From north DFW Airport entrance go W on Hwy 114/121.  Exit Business 114/Hwy 26 and go north.  At the light, turn right to stay on Hwy 26.  At next light, turn left on Fairway.  Go across dam, then make first right, then immediately turn right again.  Park beside road just before gate and walk up the dam.

Notes:        Fairly good slope, but some trees obstruct portions of upwind area, and there is a busy road across the top of the dam.  Not as tall as Benbrook or Ray Roberts dams.
 

Hwy 121 Trash Mound:  Slopes face N, E, W.

Directions:  Mapsco 65G.   On Hwy 121 between downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport.  Take Minnis Exit, go south 1/2 block and park in the tiny lot on the left just past the railroad tracks.  There will be a chain link fence in front of you, but it dead ends just to the left, so just walk around it, then up the slope.

Notes:        Old landfill, now covered in grass, but officially still off-limits due to methane emission detecting equipment.  If you go there, stay away from any equipment.  Should be no methane problem since you will be on the upwind end of the mound with a breeze, and it is a long-closed landfill in a residential area. You might get run off, but it is unlikely anyone would do more than ask you to leave if they noticed you there.  I have flown there once in a N wind, and found the lift to be only moderate and also there was lots of turbulence.  Worked best towards the west end of the north-facing slope.  In lighter winds this might work well for a lighter glider -- I flew my foamie sloper in 15 mph wind.
 

I-35W and Park Glen Blvd:  Slope faces N, S.

Directions:  Mapsco 14U.   From north loop 820 go north to third exit, which is Park Glen.  Turn left, go across bridge, then park beside road.  Slope is on either side of Park Glen just west of I-35W.

Notes:        Small slope.  Several guys have had good success with north wind, some success with S or SSW wind.  Lousy with SSE wind due to upwind obstructions ruining lift.  In some conditions it is very turbulent with S wind.  Biggest advantage of this location is that is closer to where some of us live.
 

I-820 (west side of FW) and White Settlement Rd:  Slope faces N.  (May also be a W. facing slope across freeway??)

Directions:  Mapsco 59W.   From I-30 go north on loop 820 (west side of Fort Worth) to White Settlement Rd exit, which is just a short distance north of I-30.  Turn left, then left again, so that you are going back south on the access road.  Turn into the Catholic Access Center.  The slope is just south of the parking lot.  You can park there or jump the curb from the access road and drive to the top of the slope.

Notes:        Small slope, not steep.  I'm told it works great with HLGs, but there probably is not enough lift for foamie slope planes, though we haven't tried them there yet.
 

I-30 and Oakland Blvd - Bluff Above Trash Mound:  Slopes face N, NE, NW.

Directions:  Mapsco 64Z.   From I-35W in Fort Worth, take I-30 east about 3 miles, exit at Oakland Blvd.  Park behind the Waffle House on the NW corner of the intersection (back near the dumpster).  Walk to Oakland, walk 1/2 block north along Oakland (just past the break in the curb and the locked gate to where there is no fence along Oakland), then walk 1/2 block NW across field to edge of slope.

Notes:        This is a bluff above and overlooking an old landfill (large flat and grassy area), and is taller than the landfill mound itself.  I've flown it once so far and it was a fairly good slope.  If you ever land or crash down the slope, it is steep enough you have to be careful going up and down it, but it is not too far.  If you are not able to negotiate a steep slope, go with someone who can.  Not sure, whether the lot just above the bluff is public or private property, but I can't imagine anyone objecting to your standing on this vacant field.  It is not posted "No Trespassing" on the lot you are standing on -- just on the fenced road down to the landfill.
 

Joe Pool Lake Dam:  This is actually just across the county line in Dallas.  See Dallas County sites for details.  Do not fly at this slope!
 

 

Denton County Sites:
Lake Ray Roberts Dam:  Slope faces SSE, NNW.  Aerial photo of the dam.

Directions:  Go north on I-35 about 9 miles past Denton to Exit 478.  Turn right on FM 455.  Go several miles until you cross  the dam, then make first right and follow it back to the mid point of the dam, the road ends there at a parking lot.  There are restrooms, playground, and covered picnic tables.  The park is a $3.00 self pay park.  There is a drop box with instructions by the restrooms.  To give you an idea how far this is, Exit 478 on I-35 is 67 miles north of north loop 820 and I-35W in Fort Worth.  Not sure how far north of loop 635 and I-35E in Dallas.

Notes:        S face is grass, N face is rock.  I have been told the S face is a delight to fly -- nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions.  There is a road across the top of the dam, but it is not overly crowded and the slope is plenty tall to avoid any need to stray too close to the road.
 

Lewisville Lake Dam:  I've heard that this is a flyable slope, but that flying is not allowed and they will run you off if you try.

 

Dallas County Sites:
There must be some!  Please let me know and I will add them to this list!

Joe Pool Lake Dam:  

Notes:        This slope is adjacent to Hawks Field, an R/C club, and is too close for safe flying.  Unless you are a member of this club and insure you are adhering to their radio frequency control rules, do not fly at this slope!
 

Sites in Other Counties:
There must be some!  Please let me know and I will add them to this list!

Sites in Other Areas:

See http://www.austinslopesoaring.com/ for Austin sites

See http://www.hotss-rc.org/Map.htm for a map and directions to the Canyon Lake dam (about 15 miles north of New Braunfels)

See http://www.slopeflyer.com for information about slope soaring sites in Texas and elsewhere (USA and abroad).  This is a great resource that contains information on multiple sites in Texas.


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