texas hiking trails

There are few better ways to experience Texas’ striking beauty than by taking to any of many Texas hiking trails in search of adventure. And what an adventure you’ll have!

Texas’ landscape boasts some truly dramatic contradictions. From rolling plains, pretty meadows, and vast pastures to lush forests, rugged mountains, hills, winding rivers, and deep swamps, Texas is home to an array of habitats. Whether you hike for pleasure or you’re looking for wildlife, there are numerous hiking trails to choose from. They’re all beautiful, and each is more intriguing than the last.

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

How to Prepare For Your Texas Hiking Trail Adventure

Before introducing you to some of the best Texas hiking trails, we’d like offer a little warning: you’re not going to get far on 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. Ensure you’re familiar with each twist and turn as they take 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. Just as well, plenty of water, snacks, first aid kit, sunscreen, hat, and spare socks are also essential hiking supplies. Of course, you’ll also want good, sturdy hiking shoes, that been worn in before your trip. After all, there’s nothing worse than blisters on a hike.

You’ll also want to think about the comfortable clothing. Think about what kind of terrain you are likely to cover. 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 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 Texas hiking challenge.

So, pack your bag, lay out your gear, and get your picnic chilling in the fridge. Then head to one of these hot Texas hiking trails for your next, great adventure.

Texas’s Top Hiking Trails

Texas has an array of hiking trails, which vary regarding terrain, difficulty, and length. Which you choose depends on the kind of challenge you’d like to undertake.

Here are five of our favorite Texas hiking trails. Which will you choose to discover first?

South Rim: A Favorite Texas Hiking Trail

Big Bend Hiking

Winding its way around Big Bend National Park about 70 miles south of Marathon, Texas, the South Rim Loop is one of Texas’ most loved circular hiking trails. This challenging, mountainous trail covers from twelve to sixteen miles and features incredible views of the Chisos Mountains, Sierra Quemada Badlands, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Chihuahuan Desert below. Along the way, you’ll spot a wealth of wildlife including rabbits, deer, and lizards. Plus, 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: Texas’ Forest Hiking 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. It includes numerous trails of varying lengths and difficulties.

The Four C National Hiking Trail is a particular favorite. It extends over 20 miles. Biking, horse riding, and picnicking are popular pastimes, but you may also wish to take to the lake to cool off in the summer.

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: Texas’ Most Family-Friendly Hiking Trail

Pedernales State Park

If you’re planning to introduce your children or less-able family members to the beauty of nature, you can’t go wrong with a Texas 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.

Be sure to 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, picnicking, and hiking trails from half a mile to ten miles. Choose your challenge: A scenic riverbed walk 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 Pedernales Falls.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge: The Wildlife Hiking Trail

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge in the southeastern part of Texas is a little treasure. Its home to alligators, snakes, snow geese, spoonbills, and more. This 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 for the cheery trill of birds, which will alter from season to season as migrating birds come and go.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: The Canyon Hiking Trail

Palo Duro State Park

Located in a canyon near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails waiting to be explored by anyone fancying a challenge. The park’s views will leave you almost as breathless as the climb to reach them. The rugged trails and steep, winding ridges give way to epic vistas across the plains below.

With 17,000 acres of parkland devoted to walking and hiking, you’ll be thoroughly spoiled for choice whatever direction you wander in at this state park. Keep an eye out for longhorn steers!

Here’s 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 one way to relax and unwind.

Walk a Texas Hiking Trail Any Time of Year

Whether you decide to follow one or more of these Texas hiking 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 wild world waiting you.

Mike Sharp
Author: Mike Sharp

I have a passion for travel and outdoor activities, and now I'm enjoying retired life. I will continue my traveling, golfing, boating, and enjoying life all across the great state of Texas.

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