Texas Hiking Trails To Try

Hiking trails you should try

hiking in TexasThere are few better ways to experience the striking beauty of Texas than by taking to any of its hiking trails in search of an adventure; and what an adventure you’ll have. Texas’s landscape boasts some truly dramatic contradictions. From rolling plains, pretty meadows, and vast pastures, to lush forests, rugged hills and mountains, winding rivers, and deep swamps, Texas is home to an array of habitats scattered across America’s second-biggest state. Whether you intend to walk just for the sheer pleasure of it or are looking for particular wildlife, there are numerous hiking trails that you could choose from; each more beautiful, and intriguing than the last.

Come and take a metaphorical walk with us along some of our favorite hiking trails; we’re sure we can inspire you to don your walking boots and head outside.

Before you head out on your adventures

Before introducing you to some of our state’s favorite, and most famous trails, we’d like offer a little warning; you’re not going to get very far on any of these trails unless you prepare, mentally and physically, for the journey. Whether you’re embarking on a short trail across relatively flat plains or heading into the mountains, you’re going to want to research your route thoroughly, ensuring you’re familiar with each twist and turn as it takes you further away from your starting point.

A map, compass, GPS system, a camera, and spare batteries are all crucial accessories for a hike of any kind, while plenty of water, snacks and a picnic, a first aid kit, sunscreen and a hat, and spare socks are also essential. You’ll want good, sturdy hiking shoes, of course, which have preferably been worn in before your trip; there’s nothing worse than blisters, after all.

Finally, think about the kind of clothing that will keep you most comfortable. What kind of terrain are you likely to be covering? What will the weather be like during your hike? Warm and cold weather layers are always a good idea, enabling you to wrap up and cool down as and when it’s appropriate. Compression clothing is a fantastic idea too; there are some fabulous, original items out there. Compression leggings, socks, vests, and t-shirts will improve your circulation, warm your joints and muscles, and support your body as you ramble, ascend, descend and rest. There’s no better option for keeping your body safe, and healthy as you undertake a hiking challenge.

So, your bag is packed, your gear is laid out ready to be worn, and you’ve got a picnic chilling in the fridge. Where are you going to head on your next, great adventure?

Texas’s top hiking trails

Texas has an array of hiking trails, which vary regarding terrain, difficulty, and length depending upon the kind of challenge you’d like to undertake. Here are just six of our favorite trails, which are dotted about this marvelous state. Which will you choose to discover first.

South Rim: The State’s Favorite Trail

Big Bend HikingWinding its way around Big Bend National Park, which is located 70-miles south of Marathon, Texas, the South Rim Loop is one of Texas’s most loved circular hiking trails. This challenging, mountainous trail covers a distance of between twelve to sixteen miles and features some incredible views of the Chisos Mountains, Sierra Quemada Badlands, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Chihuahuan Desert below. Along the way, you’re bound to spot a wealth of wildlife, including rabbits, deer, and lizards, and all manner of flora and fauna.

Top tip: It is possible to set up camp along this trail, but those wishing to tackle it in a day must be prepared to start early.

Davy Crockett National Forest: The Forest Trail

With its peaceful lake, native cypress and pine trees, and miles of disused tramways Davy Crockett National Forest is a haven for anyone wanting to explore the dense dark forests while they hike. This wildlife haven is perfect for families and more hardened hikers alike, with numerous trails of varying lengths, and difficulties to be walked. The Four C National Hiking Trail is a particular favorite, as it extends over 20 miles. Biking, horse riding, and picnicking are popular pastimes, while you may also wish to take to the lake to cool off.

Top tip: Deer hunting season falls between November and December, so hikers are advised to be extra careful where they tread. Be sure to check in with the Forest Service before setting off.

Pedernales Falls State Park: The Family-Friendly Trail

Pedernales State ParkIf you’re planning on introducing your children or less-able family members to the beauty of nature you can’t go wrong with a state park; Texas has more than 50 state parks to choose from, each offering unique terrain and varied wildlife. Pedernales Falls State Park is one of our favorites – read Texas Outside’s review of Pedernales Falls State Park to learn more. Located 30 miles west of Austin this glorious park offers opportunities for picnics, river swimming, horse riding, cycling and picnicking, as well as trails of between half a mile, and ten miles in length. Choose your challenge; will it be a scenic riverbed walk that’s easy on the eyes and legs or a challenging scramble along the ridges and canyons?

Top tip: The river is prone to flooding, so be sure to monitor the water levels during your hike. For your safety, swimming is not permitted at the Pedernales Falls.

Davy Crockett National Forest: The Forest Trail

With its peaceful lake, native cypress and pine trees, and miles of disused tramways Davy Crockett National Forest is a haven for anyone wanting to explore the dense dark forests while they hike. This wildlife haven is perfect for families and more hardened hikers alike, with numerous trails of varying lengths, and difficulties to be walked. The Four C National Hiking Trail is a particular favorite, as it extends over 20 miles. Biking, horse riding, and picnicking are popular pastimes, while you may also wish to take to the lake to cool off.

Top tip: Deer hunting season falls between November and December, so hikers are advised to be extra careful where they tread. Be sure to check in with the Forest Service before setting off.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge: The Wildlife Trail

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Texas is a little treasure. Home to alligators, snakes, snow geese, spoonbills, and more, the wetland refuge offers a myriad of nature trails that will enable you to see the very best of what Texas has to offer; indeed, the site is said to be one of the very best places in America to see alligators safely, and up close. The refuge’s raised boardwalks make the site particularly accessible for all ages and abilities, and there are walks and hikes of varying lengths. The Shoveler Pond Trail stands at two and a half miles, which loops around the reserve.

Top tip: Listen out for the cheery trill of birds, which will alter throughout the seasons as migrating birds come and go.

Palo Duro State ParkPalo Duro Canyon State Park: The Canyon Trail

Located in a Canyon near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails, which are waiting to be explored by anyone who fancies something of a challenge. The park’s views will leave you almost as breathless as the climb to reach them, as rugged trails and steep, winding ridges give way to epic vistas across the plains below. There are some 17,000 acres of parkland devoted to walking and hiking, so you’ll be thoroughly spoiled for choice whatever direction you wander in. Keep an eye out for longhorn steers as you go! Here is a link to Texas Outside’s review of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Top tip: Keep an eye out for the musical drama TEXAS, which shows throughout the summer months in the Pioneer Amphitheater. It’s certainly one way to relax and unwind.

Whether you decide to follow one, or more of these trails or choose an adventure of your own, we’d urge you to head beyond your front porch and experience the fresh air, spectacular landscapes, and incredible wildlife of Texas. Our state has such a lot to offer natives and visitors alike, with all of the best activities taking place in the great outdoors. Come along and ramble a short distance, or push yourself to your limits and beyond; there’s a whole, wild world waiting for you.

About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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