Texas enjoys a general area bigger than any European country, so it’s only natural for the Lone Star State to abound in spectacular places for hiking. The plethora of natural areas and ecosystems only adds to the state’s hiking potential, and one can explore anything from forests of lush greenery to sandy desert expanses. Even though not the dirtiest of activities, hiking is nonetheless a demanding hobby, requiring the enthusiasts to get the necessary equipment and knowledge of the place you are going to hike. Our sporting goods store intends to help you with both tasks. We’ve compiled a list of the seven best spots for hiking in Texas and stocked up on the equipment that can be handy.
Crockett Gardens and Falls
The choice of scenery in Texas is an outstandingly varied one. The Lone Star state comprises quite a number of climate zones and thus can offer its dwellers the views of lavish forests and arid deserts alike. Waterfalls are also present in abundance and if you want to see one during your hike, then consider visiting Lake Georgetown. Crockett Garden Falls is one of the best hikes in Austin, Texas, in general, and it ranks particularly high in all waterfall hiking spots lists. The trail itself is 7.6 miles of moderately challenging terrain and doesn’t take more than 3 hours for you to complete. Crockett Garden and Falls lie within Cedar Breaks Park, which is only a 30-40 minute drive from Austin. While the walk among canopied cedar trees is fascinating in every way, it might be tiresome for young children. However, all those who manage to complete the trail are handsomely rewarded by the final view. The vibrant emerald green mossy trove harbors the waterfall, the liking of which you won’t see anywhere else in Texas. The base of the waterfall is quite slippery, but thanks to slip-resistant outsoles, Muck boots will keep you on your feet allowing you to admire the scene from a vertical position. The price to see such a wonder is purely symbolic – $5 as an entry fee per vehicle.
Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
There was no way for us not to include a spot that allows you to dive into the dazzling fields of the Texas state flower. Being one of the most popular places for hiking in Austin, Texas, Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area offers you a one-of-a-kind trip to the hill country oasis resting on the banks of the Colorado River. Crowds of tourists from all over the country flock here to wade through the sapphire sea of bluebonnets, blooming with unearthly beauty from mid-March to late April. Everyone willing to partake in this celebration of color needs to accomplish a 50-minute drive from Austin to Spicewood. You will be greeted by 540 acres of trails and camping grounds overlooking the meandering stream of the Colorado River. A 6.5-mile loop trail will carry you through the blooming pools of bluebonnets and introduce you to other nature enthusiasts who will probably be plenty. Should you get tired of meeting other people, you can dive into the river, since swimming is allowed, or explore one of 27 primitive campsites scattered across a 2-mile stretch.
Everyone willing to rediscover Lost Maples in fall will witness the most beautiful scenery of yellows, oranges, burgundies, and all other fall-palette colors. It takes as much as one visit to fall in love with this natural area completely and irrevocably, making yourself a promise to visit it every year. Located in the Edwards Plateau Region of Texas, the Lost Maples State Natural Area houses miles of one of the best hiking trails in Texas that snake through lush forests and shady canyons. The place doesn’t lack in plant or animal diversity, but maples are hands down the area’s main treasure. Gold-colored leaves dance on the wind from mid-October through November, inviting you to follow them into a rabbit hole that leads to a small haven hidden deep in Hill Country. The natural area boasts five hiking trails, each exposing you to a unique set of sights, all united through a vibrant tapestry of sunlight-shining foliage.
Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
Hidden within the Barton Creek Greenbelt stretch are two magnificent waterfalls that attract swimming enthusiasts from all over the state: Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls. The trail itself stretches for some 13.8 miles, leading the hikers through ever-changing scenery and diversified terrain. Twin Falls are only a half-a-mile hike from the beginning of the trail, whereas Sculpture Falls rest further to the north. While having ample sights to attract people, the area depends heavily on the rainfall to feed the waterfalls. But even in dry periods, the trail has much to offer its visitors.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
We are about to shift our focus further to the north to point out a magnificent spot for hiking in Texas near Dallas. Near is probably a word too strong since Arbor Hills Nature Preserve rests within the boundaries of the city of Dallas. Arbor Hills is the perfect place for a weekend runaway for those who can’t afford to drive too far for the weekend. The area is teeming with people on sunny days, but it’s big enough to house everyone willing to enjoy the scenic views or partake in activities like running, cycling, picture taking, or yoga. The area boasts a 2.43-mile loop, a 2.7-mile mountain bike trail loop, and a 3.6-mile outer loop for hiking and trail-running. All food enthusiasts will be happy to drop by one of the top-notch restaurants, coffee bars, or breweries located less than three miles from the trailhead.
It would be inappropriate to leave out the sights of the desert that covers the western part of the state. Greenery is not as abundant as in the Eastern part of Texas, but the area’s treasure is different anyway. Housing the state’s highest point, Guadalupe Mountains National Park lies on the border with New Mexico, holding fantastic views of the park’s several ecosystems, including the high desert and the high-elevation forests. If you’ve set your mind on conquering Texas’ highest peak, be prepared for an arduous climb, for it’s an 8.5-mile trip hike with 3000 feet of elevation gain. However, after six to eight hours of hiking, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable view of the vast desert and sky-reaching mountains surrounding the peak.
Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon
One of the most renowned hiking trails in north Texas, Palo Duro Canyon offers a year-round attraction whose glory and magnificence are second only to the Grand Canyon itself. The Lighthouse is the most notable of several unique geological formations scattered across the state park. The area is always featured on the list of the best hikes in Texas, so don’t expect solitude to be your companion. The traffic is heaviest at midday and sunset since the latter is also the time for the most spectacular views. You have 5.8 miles of scrubby bushes, motley cliffs, and sandy roads to get to the Canyon’s crown jewel.