Best Places to Hike Near Houston

By Meghana Agashe on Dec 30, 2017
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Sometimes, when the pressures of the city life threaten to overpower you, it is time to take some time off, stretch your legs a bit and spend some calming period amidst nature. Surrounded by a multitude of trails, parks, and forests, Houston provides hikers with numerous opportunities to embark on a nature trail. Here is a list of the best places for hiking near Houston for a dose of exercise and adventure! 

1. Big Thicket - Trek Through Variety of Eco-systems

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As the name suggests, Big Thicket is a heavily forested area featuring a staggeringly huge variety of eco-systems. Trails of varying lengths, from as short as 0.3 Miles to as long as 18 Miles, wind through this forest, thus making it an ideal place for novice as well as expert hikers.

As you make your way through the trails, you will get to observe over a 100 species of trees and shrubs and 1,000 species of flowering plants and ferns. Perfect option for nature-lovers for hiking near Houston, the Big Thicket forest bequeaths you with the kind of solitude and serenity that is sure to leave you speechless.

Distance from Houston- 90 miles

Hike Distance- 40 Miles of Hiking Trails

Difficulty Level- Moderate

2. Pedernales Falls State Park- A Comprehensive Hiking Area 

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A rejuvenating and energizing time awaits you at the Pedernales Falls State Park. With a plethora of activities to indulge in, this park is famous not just for hiking but also for swimming, fishing, camping, mountain biking, picnicking, geocaching, bird watching and horse riding. 

With trails ranging from easy to challenging, and winding through creeks and canyons, this park is one of the most family-friendly hiking parks near Houston. Visitors above 13 years of age are charged USD 13 for entrance while children below the age of 13 can hike on the trails for free. You will also love these road trips from Houston.

Distance from Houston- 201 Miles

Hike Distance- 5.5 Miles of Hiking Trails

Difficulty Level- Easy

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3. Stephen F. Austin Park- A Peaceful Hiking Oasis

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The peaceful 12-acre Stephen F. Austin Park is the best hiking place around Houston for those who are looking for an escape from the busy city life. The 6 miles of hiking trails in this park are ideal not just for trekking but also for biking. Apart from hiking, you can also take park in an exciting game of geocaching when you visit this park.

Other popular activities at the Stephen F. Austin Park include primitive fishing for catfish on the banks of the Brazos River and picnicking in the designated picnic areas. With brilliant facilities for outdoor camp out and a huge variety of choices when it comes to RVs, cabins, screened shelters and tents, this park is the best spot for hiking and camping near Houston! 

Distance from Houston- 50 Miles

Hike Distance- 6 Miles

Difficulty Level- Easy

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4. Bastrop State Park- A Hike Through the Pines

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Home to the world-famous Lost Pines, the Bastrop State Park is one of the most famous and historic hiking areas near Houston. This forest full of loblolly pine and hardwoods presents you with numerous opportunities to explore the wilderness and spend some exciting time outdoors. The park also regularly organizes various events and workshops for the visitors which help appreciate and connect with nature while relaxing the mind and body. 

In addition to hiking, one can also indulge in fishing at the 0.5-acre Lake Mina housed in this park. Bastrop State Park also consists of a swimming pool which is operational from May to September. So, whether you fancy a dip in cool water surrounded by trees, or hiking, camping, and fishing is on your agenda, head to this all-inclusive state park near Houston for a fabulous time! 

Distance from Houston- 130 Miles

Hike Distance- 7 Miles

Difficulty Level- Moderate

5. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway- Perfect for Experienced Hikers

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The rugged beauty of Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway is sure to leave you impressed upon your visit to this hiking area. Featuring a great mix of easy and challenging hiking trails around Houston, this state park is nothing short of a dream come true for hikers. Most of these trails are open for biking as well as horse riding, thus ensuring that non-expert hikers too have a good time at this place.

Wildlife lovers have plenty to do at this park, thanks to the abundant population of bison and bats found here! Camping and fishing facilities are available at this park for nominal rates; so, you can have a fun-filled day here without burning a hole in your pocket! 

Distance from Houston- 544 Miles

Hike Distance- 90 Miles of Hiking Trails

Difficulty Level- Challenging

6. Sam Houston National Forest- A Huge Diversity of Terrains

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One of the four National forests in Texas, the Sam Houston National Forest features a huge diversity of terrains. The best way to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the Sam Houston National Forest is by hiking through the wooded trails housed here. Properly marked and featuring recreational areas at regular intervals, these trails ensure that the hiking experience here is a memorable one. 

The 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail is the most popular hiking trail housed in the Sam Houston National Forest. Though the trail is open to hiking round the year, the best time to undertake a trek on this route is during spring and winter. 

Distance from Houston- 50 Miles

Hike Distance- 130 Miles

Difficulty Level- Moderate

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7. Galveston Island State Park- A Walk Through Sand Dunes and Marshes

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Replete with sand dunes, wetlands, and coastal prairies, Galveston Island State Park is every nature enthusiast’s paradise. A popular way to soak in the charm of this park is by hiking and biking through the 4 miles of trails winding between the varied habitats. Perfect for hiking near Houston, this state park also bequeaths visitors with numerous observation platforms and boardwalks over dunes and marshes.

Along with hiking, visitors can also paddle, camp, fish, picnic and geocache at the Galveston Island State Park. Owing to a wide array of beachside and bayside camping options, the Galveston Island State Park is also famous for camping. 

Distance from Houston- 60 Miles

Hike Distance- 4 Miles

Difficulty Level- Easy

8. Memorial Park- Family-friendly Hiking Area

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Feel like embarking on a hiking adventure but falling short on time? Worry not, the peaceful oasis Memoria Park, nestled amidst the urban jungle of Houston is the place you should be heading to. The crisscrossing trails and the wooded areas make the Memorial Park the most preferred hiking area in Houston. 

The 2.5-mile Purple Trail is the most preferred trail for hiking in the Memorial Park. Zigzagging through creeks and dense trees, this trail is an adventure in itself. Perfect for a short escapade right in the heart of the city, the Memorial Park is one of the most family-friendly hiking areas in this locality. 

Distance from Houston- In Houston

Hike Distance- 2.8 Miles

Difficulty Level- Moderate

9. Brazos Bend State Park- A Mix of Paved and Nature Trails

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Featuring an amalgamation of paved trails and natural trails, the Brazos Bend State Park takes you on a lovely journey through the wilderness and greenery. The paved Creekfield Lake Nature Trail is a 5-mile trail which takes you through the wetlands and gives you the opportunity to observe the wildlife inhabiting this park. In addition, the trail also consists of several observation decks and shaded resting areas.

The natural trails encircling the lake give the hikers an opportunity to traverse through the hardwood forest. Dogs are allowed on this trail; however, it is mandatory to put them on a leash. In addition to the paved and natural trails, the Brazos Bend State Park also features 13 multiuse trails which allow horse riding. Without a doubt, the Brazos Bend State Park is one of the best places to hike near Houston. 

Distance from Houston- 44.7 Miles

Hike Distance- 15.8 Miles

Difficulty Level- Challenging

10. Terry Hershey Park- Dog-friendly Hiking Trails 

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Want to indulge in the activity of hiking with dogs near Houston but not sure about which place to head to? The Terry Hershey Park is the perfect solution for you! A hiking area where dogs are allowed on a leash, this park is ideal to explore with your furry friends. Since the trails here are mostly paved, you need not worry about your precious pets hurting themselves on the thorns. 

Most hiking routes wander alongside the waterway of the Buffalo Bayou, thus ensuring that the hikers have picturesque views all through their hike. This park also features trails called the "Ant Hills” which are mostly narrow tracks suitable for hikers with a bit of an experience. Quail Trail is the most renowned trail at the Terry Hershey Park.

Distance from Houston- 17.6 Miles

Hike Distance- 8.5 Miles

Difficulty Level- Easy

The prospect of roaming through the wilderness around Houston is an enticing one. So, off you go hiking on the fascinating nature trails for a lovely time!

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