Exploring the Geography of Carrollton, TX

Overview and History

Carrollton is a city located in Denton, Dallas, and Collin counties in the U.S. state of Texas. With a population of over 140,000 as of 2021, it is a fast-growing northern suburb of Dallas within the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

The area was first settled in the 1840s when the Peters Colony land grant brought settlers to North Texas. What would become Carrollton saw growth due to the construction of the railroad in the 1870s.

Carrollton itself was established in 1913 when the town merged with nearby communities Peters Colony and Trinity Mills.

Natural Features and Landscape

Topography and Waterways

Carrollton sits atop the Blackland Prairie region, with elevations between 500 to 800 feet above sea level. This relatively flat prairie landscape is drained by the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, which runs east to west across Carrollton.

Several creeks including Indian Creek, Furneaux Creek, Jackson Branch, and McInnish Branch feed into the Elm Fork within the city limits.

There are also a number of lakes and reservoirs located in and around Carrollton. Major bodies of water include Lake Amron, Lake Avalon, Lake Carrollton, Lake Isle, Myers Lake, and Turnbow Lake.

Climate and Weather Patterns

Carrollton experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The average high in July and August is 96°F, while the average low in January is 36°F. Spring and fall tend to be pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 60-80°F.

On average, the area sees 37 inches of rain per year. Precipitation is usually in the form of thunderstorms which can occasionally spawn tornadoes.

Carrollton is situated away from the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast, but still is impacted by storms coming from the southeast. Winters can on occasion produce snow and ice storms that shut the city down for days.

Native Plants and Animals

The Blackland Prairie ecoregion is characterized by a mix of native grasses and wildflowers, such as Big Bluestem, Indian Grass and Common Sunflower. Scattered trees like Pecan, Eastern Red Cedar and Bois d’Arc occur near rivers and creeks.

Common mammals include Virginia Opossum, Nine-Banded Armadillo, Eastern Cottontail rabbit and Fox Squirrel. Bobcats, Red Foxes and raccoons reside in more rural parts of the city.

Over 200 species of birds can be spotted around Carrollton as well. Frequently seen types are Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren and Eastern Bluebird.

City Districts and Neighborhoods

Original Downtown

The Original Downtown area, centered along Broadway St between Crosby Rd and Travis St, encompasses Carrollton’s historic business district and oldest neighborhoods.

Striking red brick buildings give Broadway St a classic main street aesthetic, while places like Old Downtown Carrollton Transit Station retain history as a former interurban trolley stop.

Residential areas here have homes built in 1930s and 40s Craftsman style. The Morehead Southern Historic District along Pearl St features some antebellum architecture as well which reflects the city’s early beginnings.

South Carrollton

South Carrollton refers to the portion of the city south of Hebron Parkway down to Belt Line Rd and Josey Ln. This district contains a cultural melting pot of ethnic restaurants representing global cuisines. There are many Asian eateries at Old Chinatown centered around Park Blvd and South Broadway St.

Well-established subdivisions like Country Place, Gentle Creek and Indian Springs populate South Carrollton with largely upper middle class homes. The area is also home to teaching facilities such as private schools and religious academies.


In between Original Downtown and South Carrollton, Midtown Carrollton roughly covers the zone between Crosby Rd, Keller Springs Rd, Old Denton Rd and Marsh Ln.

Fast-growing neighborhoods here like Northpointe offer more modern housing. Retail centers provide shopping and casual dining options as well.

The 40-acre Josey Ranch Lake Park serves Midtown with wooded nature trails that pass by a fishing pond. Carrollton’s City Hall complex resides along North Josey Ln in Midtown, as do civic structures like the Senior Center, Public Library and Chamber of Commerce building.

North Carrollton

Consisting of everything northward from Parker Rd up to the city boundary, North Carrollton contains the highest concentrations of commercial activity outside the traditional downtown.

This is especially true along I-35E where shops and chain restaurants take advantage of highway access. Looking for big box stores like Best Buy or Marshalls? North Carrollton has them in droves at the Vista Ridge Mall.

Dense apartment living can be found in complexes dotting Frankford Rd and Old Denton Hwy. Single family dwellings occupy most other blocks, with some semi-rural ranchette lots on the outskirts near Trinity Mills Rd. Hebron High School and R.L. Turner High School educate youth in the region as well.

Transportation Infrastructure

Major Roadways and Highways

Key transportation arteries passing through Carrollton include I-35E, the President George Bush Turnpike, SH-121, SH-161, FM-544 and Josey Ln. These multi-lane thoroughfares funnel substantial volumes of commuter traffic north to south on trips into Dallas.

Hebron Pkwy, Old Denton Rd, Marsh Ln and Midway Rd function as major east-west cross streets. Narrower roads like Belt Line Rd, Parker Rd, Crosby Rd and Rosemeade Pkwy also move residents around town. Drivers must remain attentive due to most corridors having speed limits of 40-55 mph.

Public Transit Options

Carrollton Station provides rail transit access via the DART Green Line light rail. Those without vehicles can utilize local bus routes operated by DART to navigate Carrollton and connect to other parts of Dallas. Service runs 7 days a week.

Taxis and rideshare offerings from Uber/Lyft present transportation alternatives too. Cycling is possible on roads with bike lanes, though bike trails through parks give safer recreation passage. The city even has an electric bike share program with over a dozen stations.

Parks and Recreation

Major Parks and Facilities

As a green city with over 1,200 acres of public park space, Carrollton offers plenty of outlets to enjoy nature and athletic pursuits right in one’s backyard. Some top picks are:

  • Josey Ranch Lake Park: The largest park in the city at over 400 acres. Trails wrap around an 18-acre lake with a lighted fountain. Playground and skate park on premises.
  • Carolyn Waggoner Park: 60 acres housing athletic fields, a recreation center and swimming pool for families to use.
  • Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatic Complex: Massive water park with fun slides and pools to beat the intense Texas heat during summer.
  • Crosby Recreation Center: Multi-use indoor venue with basketball/volleyball courts plus a cardio studio and weight room.
  • Indian Creek Golf Club: 36 scenic holes and a rolling terrain putting green to polish your short game. Grab drinks later at the Turning Point bar.

Hiking and Biking Trails

Carrollton maintains an impressive network of trails totaling over 40 miles in length. The 7.8 mile Chaha Trail takes users clear across the city following natural creek drainages.

Smaller paths at Bob Woodruff Park, Rosemeade Park and Josey Ranch Lake Park make for nice neighborhood walks under tree cover as well.

Those looking to bike can cruise down the Campion Trail, Cotton Belt Trail and Old Denton Trail. The trails interface with infrastructure in other cities like Coppell and Lewisville to form extensive ride loops. Many circuits also connect to DART rail stations.

So in summary, Carrollton has diverse geographical offerings across its 20+ square mile area. Natural prairie beauty blends with cosmopolitan cityscapes and suburban sprawl.

Transportation routes grant easy access for inhabitants to fully experience everything this Dallas metro community provides. Come witness the dynamic landscape yourself!

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  • Take the highway 75 North from Dallas toward Oklahoma. After about 10 miles, take exit 29A toward Belt Line Road. Merge onto Belt Line Road and continue for 3 miles. Turn left onto Old Denton Road and continue for half a mile. Turn right onto Verlaine Drive. 2002 Verlaine Dr will be on your right. The total drive is about 15 miles.
  • From Dallas, head west on Interstate 635 W. Take exit 17 from I-635 W to merge onto TX-121 N/Sam Rayburn Tollway toward DFW Airport/Lewisville. Continue on TX-121 N for about 10 miles then use the 2 right lanes to take exit 28A for TX-114 W toward Southlake. Continue onto TX-114 W for about 6 miles then use the left 2 lanes to take exit 43 for TX-121 N toward Grapevine/DFW Int’l Airport. Take that road for 2.5 miles then use the right 3 lanes to take exit 23A to merge onto TX-121 N/TX-26 W. In 1 mile, use the 2nd from the right lane to take exit 26A toward E Belt Line Rd/FM-2499. Stay straight to go onto William D Tate Ave then turn left onto Old Denton Rd. After half a mile, turn right onto Verlaine Dr. 2002 Verlaine Dr is on the right just after Rembrandt Dr. Total drive is around 25 miles.
  • Start out going northwest on Live Oak St toward Pacific Ave for 0.3 miles. Use the left lane to turn left onto north Pacific Ave. Continue on Pacific Ave to US-75 N. Merge onto US-75 N toward Sherman. Take exit 29 for Belt Line Rd. Turn right onto Belt Line Rd. Turn left onto Old Denton Rd and continue for half a mile. Turn right onto Verlaine Dr. 2002 Verlaine Dr is on your right. The total drive is just over 15 miles.