Explore the 10 Beautiful Hikes In Texas
Hiking is like taking a walking holiday. The air is rich with the fragrance of wild flowers. Sometimes damp too. The only movement is the occasional ruffle of the leaves, or maybe a bird nearby. But here in nature, you are just another being, one with your surroundings.
If you are in the US state of Texas, there is no shortage of wild outdoor spaces here. Plateaus, basins, deserts and lush forests await you with countless opportunities!
Understanding the geography of Texas
The second largest state in the United States, Texas is diverse and large. Towards the south, bordering the Gulf of Mexico, the Texan coastlines have many bays, islands and saltwater marshes. As you move north, the land rises in the Central and West Texas. And the far north has the Great Plains of North America, making Texas a popular hiking destination.
You don’t have to be a perpetual hiker to enjoy these hiking trails in Texas. Some of the trails are super easy and breezy! Here is a low-down of some trails that make to the list of top hiking spots in Texas.
Best hikes in Texas
1. South Rim - Big Bend National Park
At 12.6 miles, South Rim trail tends to strike a balance between a backpack trail and a day hike. A popular hike in the Chisos Basin Mountains of the Big Bend National Park, here you can choose from several routes. If you want to make it quick, hike south up the Laguna Meadow Trail which is approximately 5.8 miles. You can then proceed to the Boot Canyon Trail for another 6.3 miles. But for a longer hike, hike the rest of the South Rim and East Rim Trails, which adds up to a total of 14.4 miles, including an additional mileage of 2.3 miles. Emory Peak Trail is another popular hiking trail in Texas.
Where? Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas
Length: 12.60 Miles
Elevation Gain: 2,000 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Birding, and Backpacking
2. East Trail - Lost Maples State Natural Area
This is often called the hardest day hike in Central Texas. But the East Trail is one of the most rewarding places to be. The route for this trail begins on the "Maples Trail" on the Sabinal River. The steep, rock-covered 0.8-mile climb is quite a lot, but once you recover from that pounding heart, the views of the Sabinal Valley below are absolutely phenomenal. The sun can be a real beast in some areas, so we advise you carry adequate sun protection. Also watch out for the loose, jagged rock along the way up.
Where? Lost Maples State Natural Area in southcentral Texas
Length: 4.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 561 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Nature Trips, Birding, and River Views
3. Gorman Falls Trail - Colorado Bend State Park
A true gem of the Texas Hill Country, a "living" waterfall along this trail make for an utterly scenic hike. The Gorman Falls is unique in its own way. Due to the high concentration of CO2 in the water, and the resultant reaction with the rocks, this waterfall keeps getting bigger every year. The Gorman Falls Trailhead is located right at the Colorado Bend State Park entrance. The trail itself is 3-mile long and is heavily trafficked, out and back. Although a shorter 1.5-mile hike is also available.
Where? Colorado Bend State Park in central Texas
Length: 3 Miles
Elevation Gain: -200 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, and Waterfall.
4. Guadalupe Peak - Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Much of this trail is a steep, rocky terrain but the view from the "Top of Texas" is outstanding. The trail starts at the Pine Springs Campground and is pretty easy to follow. The steepest part of the hike is within the first mile and a half. After only a few switchbacks, the final climb to the summit will start. At the top, a monument that commemorates the overland stage and air travel is easily the highlight of the trip, of course not forgetting the tremendous views of the surrounding mountains and desert.
Where? Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas
Length: 8.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,000 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Trekking, Abseiling, and Photography
5. Caprock Canyons Trailway
This trail runs through some of the most scenic areas in northern Texas. The Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway offers 64 miles of varied views that range from rangeland, fields of cotton and wheat, canyon vistas, and juniper trees. Most part of the trail is unpaved and hence perfect for mountain biking, or horseback riding.
Where? Caprock Canyons Trailway in northern Texas
Length: 64.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 2,349 feet
Activities: Hiking, Wildlife Watching, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, and Walking
6. Summit Trail - Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
A very short trail, the Enchanted Route Summit Trail is just over a mile long. Windy and sunny, most of the trail runs along the solid granite with plenty of cacti to accompany you. Primitive backpacking is one of the most sought-after activities at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
Where? Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in central Texas
Length: 1.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 419 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Birding, Rock Climbing, Trail Running, Star Gazing, Wildlife, and Walking
7. Crockett Gardens Falls - Cedar Breaks Park
Crockett Gardens Falls is a moderately trafficked trail that features a beautiful lake along the way. A part of San Gabriel Goodwater Loop, this section of the trail is easy with a slight elevation gain. One mile into the trail and the road opens up around the cliffs and offers lovely views of the lake. Towards the end of the trail, you will arrive at the falls that are located inside a small cove. Dip your feet and cool off a bit before you head back!
Where? Cedar Breaks Park in central Texas
Length: 5.8 Miles
Elevation Gain: 475 Feet
Activities: Hiking, Camping, Boating, and Picnicking
8. Wolf Mountain Trail - Pedernales Falls State Park
The vast and varied wilderness of the Pedernales Falls State Park draws thousands of hiking-oriented visitors. The Wolf Mountain Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Texas that takes you through creeks, springs, ravines and sandy beaches. On the way back, the trail splits and takes you to the river's shore where you can even go swimming.
Where? Pedernales Falls State Park in central Texas
Length: 8.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 650 Feet
Activities: Swimming, Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Mountain Biking, Nature Trips, and Walking.
9. Sculpture Falls Hike - Barton Creek Greenbelt
A picture-perfect swimming hole, the Sculpture Falls Hike is a part of the 7.9-mile long Barton Creek Greenbelt. The water temperatures here are at a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a great place to cool off some Texas heat. Head off to the Scottish Woods Trail and start your hike on the Camp Craft Road if you plan to visit the Sculpture Falls.
Where? Barton Creek Greenbelt in central Texas
Length: 3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 140 Feet
Activities: Cliff Jumping, Hiking, Walking, Swimming, and Photography.
10. Boquillas Hot Springs - Big Bend National Park
Head on to the Boquillas Hot Springs in the Big Bend National Park and enjoy the geothermal hot springs along the Rio Grande River. The water temperature sits at 105 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making this a family-friendly hiking destination in Texas. The trailhead is located off of Hot Springs Road and is very easy to hike on.
Where? Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas
Elevation Gain: 0 Feet
Difficulty: Very Easy
Activities: Swimming, and Hiking
Whether looking for a quick gateway, or a serious expedition, these hiking trails in Texas are waiting to be explored. Put your best shoes on and head out!