Texas is a wonderful state for hikers because of its size and the numerous trails that can be explored year-round. You’ll find hiking trails that cut across vast canyons, majestic mountains running along its borders, green piney woods, different wetlands, wildflower-colored plains, and rocky deserts.
While on these fantastic hikes, you can appreciate how Texas offers one of the most diverse ecosystems in the United States. Whether you’re looking to take a short drive from the downtown area or are willing to take a longer drive to access a trail, you’ll have many trails to choose from.
If you’ve been meaning to explore the Lone Star State’s many hiking trails but don’t know where to start, let us help you. Our list of Texas hiking trails by region will help you pinpoint trails that have exactly what you’re looking for.
Let’s get started.
Hiking Trails in Texas Around Big Bend National Park
Located in Big Bend National Park, the South Rim Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Texas. It consists of five different trails that are all packed with amazing landscapes worth exploring.
The trail takes you through some of the most stunning vistas in the US and shouldn’t be missed by serious hikers. By following it, you’ll have a chance at spotting numerous rare species and gorgeous sceneries that won’t disappoint.
If you’re planning a hike when the temperatures are cooler between September and May, then the Santa Elena Canyon Trail is the perfect trail for you. The trail is located in Big Bend National Park and can be easily accessed. It draws many hikers and is thus very safe. It’s easily one of the best trails in Texas for all ages and skill levels.
This 7.7-kilometer trail can take anywhere from three to five hours to complete and offers unique views at every turn. The area is home to an abundance of flora and fauna and has plenty of wildflowers throughout the year.
It’s a popular trail for amateur hikers who want to finish a slightly more challenging hike. The area is also teeming with wildlife. You may be able to catch a glimpse of some deer on your hike.
This 8.5-mile roundtrip hike is considered one of the most difficult hikes in Texas and is located in Guadalupe Peak National Park. It’s also one of the most beautiful and scenic trails in the park that features breathtaking views of the surrounding environment with a 3,000-foot elevation gain.
The trek can be a strenuous one and takes about six hours to complete depending on your speed, which means you’ll need to plan accordingly. That said, once you reach the peak, you’ll quickly realize that the scenic overlook is worth it.
The Trail to Del Rio Rock Paintings is one of the best hikes in Texas and one of the most beautiful. The trail gives you an up-close and personal look at some of the most beautiful rock paintings, rock formations, and other culturally significant sites in Texas. There are about seven miles of trails traversing rugged terrain that can make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Amateur hikers can follow the trail but may find themselves out of breath more than once.
The Madera Canyon Trail is a short and relatively easy hike about 2.4 miles long. It’s located in Big Bend National Park and takes you through the Fajada Gap, which features a breathtaking view of the Chisos Mountains.
The trail can be completed in about an hour and is fun for any skill level. You can even catch a glimpse of some wild animals!
Hiking Trails in Texas in Hill Country
Enchanted Rock is one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes in Texas and can be easily accessed from Fredericksburg’s downtown. The trail takes about half an hour to complete and gives you a close look at some of the most stunning rock formations in Texas.
While the trail is only 0.8 miles long, it’s definitely a challenging one. As such, we recommend it for more experienced hikers who are looking for a rigorous and scenic hike.
If you have time to spare and want to get out of the city, the Mount Ol’ Baldy Trail is the perfect place for you. The trail is a little over 1.6 kilometers long and is located in Garner State Park. This trail is a one-way hike so you can return without having to backtrack.
Once you reach Mount Ol’ Baldy’s summit, you’ll be able to enjoy some of West Texas’ most beautiful and jaw-dropping panoramas.
The Palmetto Trail begins near Palmetto Creek and is a relatively easy trail to navigate. It only takes about 30 minutes to accomplish and gives you a glimpse of the various wildlife and plant species that inhabit the dense forest.
The trail is mostly flat and safe for families with children and dogs.
If you like relaxing day hikes that are relatively close to Houston, the Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area has your name on it. As one of the best parks in Texas, there are hundreds of acres of land with many types of trees, wildlife, and bodies of water to enjoy.
The main trailhead is conveniently located near Interstate 10. It’s an easy hike that takes about an hour or two with plenty of shade along the way.
Gorman Falls Trail is located in Colorado Bend State Park and is a great place to hike if you’re looking to escape Houston’s city life. The park covers over four hundred acres that are teeming with wildlife and lush, scenic landscapes that are sure to take your breath away.
Gorman Falls is not for amateur hikers. The 35-mile trail is considered one of the most difficult hiking trails in Texas. It features bike trails and challenging terrains that require preparation and caution.
The Balcones Canyonlands Indiangrass Trail loops around for a little over three-and-a-half miles. While you’re on it, you’ll enjoy amazing green pastures, several beautiful springs, and a stop at Marble Falls which is frequented by couples and families.
It’s an ideal trail for hikers and nature lovers who are looking to spend time in one of Texas’ most stunning natural environments. The hike is only accessible from March until October.
The Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail is a great place for anyone looking for a scenic walk through nature. The trail is a 3-mile out-and-back hike that goes through various beautiful environments.
During the hike, you may come across various wildlife, including deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, snakes, and even tarantulas! It’s an awesome hike for families to take together or for individuals looking to get the exercise they need to stay healthy and fit.
Hiking Trails in Texas Near The Panhandle Plains
The Lighthouse Trail is located in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It’s a hiking trail that offers incredible views of the canyon and can easily be traversed in a day or two. Not only will you have an amazing time exploring the breathtaking terrain, but you’ll also get a close look at Texas’ most famous geological formation, the Palo Duro Canyon.
True to its namesake, the trail leads to a 300-foot high lighthouse formation. You can walk along the trail for hours, or can spend the entire day exploring the park.
If you want to veer off the main path, you can take the alternative route to Sunday Canyon. This trail is located off the main road and isn’t very crowded.
Caprock Canyons Trailway is one of the most difficult and dangerous hiking trails in Texas due to its remoteness and desert terrain. As such, we recommend bringing a buddy with you when hiking through it. Never go it alone.
The canyons within it have names like Bat Cave Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon, and Lost Canyon. The trail is open year-round and offers fantastic views of Palo Duro Canyon State Park. However, be aware that summer temperatures can reach 110 degrees so schedule your hike accordingly and always bring plenty of water.
Hiking Trails in Texas Along The Gulf Coast
If you want to hike while enjoying fantastic views of Lake Texoma, then follow the Cross Timbers Trail. The trail is extremely challenging, but it provides a chance to see some of the most beautiful views in Texas.
The trailhead is located along Deep Creek Lake and leads to various rivers, streams, creeks, and other natural bodies of water.
Hiking In The South Texas Plains
Eagle Mountain Lake Park is located in San Antonio and it offers a serene and beautiful hike that goes through various natural environments, including a beautiful lake. The park features various hiking and biking trails that can be accessed by children and adults alike.
The area spans five miles and features six distinct trails that are easily accessible and free for public use. It’s an ideal trail for families who are looking to take a quick walk through a beautiful and scenic part of Texas.
Located in San Antonio, Cedar Breaks Park offers scenic and breathtaking views of nature, including the Crockett Gardens Falls. This area is great for hiking, kayaking, and biking. It’s frequented by families and individuals looking for some fun in the sun.
Hiking at Cedar Breaks Park can be an amazing experience. The park features a variety of plant life, birds, wild animals, natural springs, and the famous Crockett Gardens Waterfalls.
Hiking Trails in Texas Piney Woods
Lone Star Trail is located in the Sam Houston National Forest. The Lone Star Trail is one of the best hikes in Texas and is considered one of the oldest and most famous hiking trails in America. Located on a Native American reservation, its 129-mile stretch offers an awe-inspiring landscape.
The trek crosses through a few private properties and roads. Because of this, it’s important to keep your eyes open, be polite, and stay on the trail.
Hiking Near Prairies and Lakes
The trails in Arbor Hills Nature Preserve are perfect for nature lovers who want to see some of the most beautiful landscapes and natural environments. Although primarily a bike trail, it is also frequented by hikers.
Spanning 26 acres, it isn’t difficult to traverse but provides an aerobic workout thanks to its inclines and subtle slopes.
Wrapping Up The Best Hiking Trails in Texas
With over 250 trails spanning over 1,200 miles, it isn’t surprising why many hikers find their outdoor havens in Texas. While there are many trails to choose from, these are our favorite trails due to their gorgeous views and accessibility.
If you’re looking for other options, The Colorado River Trail, Indian Creek Falls, and the Pedernales Falls State Park also offer varying terrains and breathtaking scenery.
Have you tried any of the trails on this list? How was your experience? Which one are you looking to visit next? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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