Top 9 Places to Hike in Texas

As most of you know, I’m an outdoor addict and am very much obsessed with hiking, rock climbing and river-side trekking. After knocking the last two parks off my “Texas” list of hikes, I figured it time to share my opinions with all others seeking adventure. I’ve hiked over 500 miles in Texas and am excited to share my top 9 favorite hikes in this great state.

My list of parks are ranked on two factors–beauty and challenge. #9 would be the least challenging with stunning sights down to #1 which I found the biggest challenge coupled with the biggest rewards. I’ve linked the location of each park in the title so you can quickly see how close you are to your next mini-getaway. More photos and videos can be found on my Instagram. Feel free to follow ðŸ™‚

9. McKinney State Park

This park is beautiful and great for beginners and families. Mckinney makes the list for it’s beautiful sun sets/rises and gorgeous path along Onion Creek . The longest trail is 3.1 miles and is moderate at most–flat, mostly paved and heavily shaded. The creek is cool and has shallow areas for little swimmers and some good family fun. If I were to go again, it’d be with family. Otherwise, it was a great one-time park, but I like a little more of a challenge.

8. Guadalupe River State Park

I’m a huge fan of rivers, so this park definitely makes the list. The park trails are easy to moderate, but lots of rock climbing opportunities and challenging treks for those who like to stray off path. I climbed huge rocks, wrestled through vines and enjoyed the river scenery from higher than the paved trails would allow. The night ended in the park campground with steak around a camp fire surrounded by the flowing river. Trouble-free and beautiful-great for beginners or a weekend getaway.

7. Enchanted Rock State Park

Of course Enchanted Rock makes an appearance! I’ve been three times and get my butt kicked each time. The great thing about this park is it’s nearly all rocks–there aren’t many paved trails once you’re up on ol’ Enchanted. I LOVE exploring outside of paved trails. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb the biggest rocks in the park. I wouldn’t recommend if you’re a noob–it’s much more challenging and dangerous than it looks. The views are breath taking and the weather is always nice. After your hike, you can head to the city very smelly for some delicious pancakes at Old German Bakery in Fredericksburg. Now that, my friends, is a win-win.

6. Lake Mineral Wells State Park

This was a spontaneous trip and one I’ll never forget. The weather was perfection in Spring. 4 mile trails made great hikes. The camp sites are perfect for late night steak dinners around the campfire and make a perfect weekend to get lost from daily stress. My favorite part of Mineral Wells are the rocks…so many giant rocks make for perfect rock climbing experience. We tackled as many as we could (without equipment) and it made this park one of the best I’ve been to for rock climbing. We met lots of friendly people who were at the park just to rock climb. One of my favorite things to do! The lake is gorgeous and the challenge of off trail climbs puts this park at #6.

5. Colorado Bend State Park

One of my first river hikes and still one of my favorites. The Colorado River is stunning. Hidden rock bowls, cavern tours, snakes, rolling hills, creeks and very challenging trails. We stayed on trail for the most part and were still challenged with the climb. After we knocked out the serene falls, I’ll never forget the sound of the water and wildlife as I rested on a field of grass next to the river with my eyes closed. This park is full of adventure and beauty with or without little ones.

4. Garner State Park

This one is popular in Texas, and I can see why. Frio river is absolutely stunning and full of endless fun. Floating, kayaking, fishing–whatever your heart desires. This park is great for off-trail tougher hikes but also great for families. I always see lots of RV’s at the camp-sites and decided to take my own little tiger to conquer an 11 mile trail. The trail wasn’t paved, was full of fun challenges and insane beauty along each step. I’ve booked a site and will be renting an RV this summer for a 3 day vacation with the family in Garner. Frio River is a must!

3. Pedernales Falls

I’ve visited this state park 6 times and I’m always eager and ready to return. This park is incredible. River, rocks, sand and a great variety of hikes. I first started off trail and trekked 5 hours along the river through high brush and Texas heat. One of the toughest state park hikes I’ve done and one of the most rewarding. The beauty is underrated and I can’t tell enough people to experience Pedernales for themselves. The views are some I’ll never forget.

2. Guadalupe Mountains

I recently conquered the tallest peak in Texas at the unparalleled Guadalupe Mountain National Park–and due to the great challenge, this is definitely high on my list. 8.5 mile round hike to the top of the beautiful 8.7k’ high peak. I wasn’t expecting the extreme weather–which made an even greater challenge, making it that much more enjoyable. The hike started with the normal mildly-chilly, December Texas weather, but after a few thousand feet up, I was met with snow, ice and winds at over 50 MPH. It was incredibly challenging, cold and so, so much fun. If you don’t own hiking boots made for snow–a pair of ice & snow traction boot covers will work magic–a safety must if you’re hiking in the winter. The view of El Capitan at the top of Guadalupe Peak was one I’ll treasure forever. What a great landmark for our great state!

1. Big bend

Located in the South of Texas, this is my favorite Texas hike EVER. Upon arriving, there are signs everywhere warning of the dangers of hiking after 10 am due to extreme heat (challenge accepted). With a variety of river hikes, mountain hikes and desert hikes, I couldn’t wait to get started. The first hike was an easier one, despite the extreme weather. I did have to cut my leggings off into shorts, as I clearly wasn’t aware of how intense the heat was in this region. I hiked to the hot springs and was overtaken by the views of the river along the way. The largest river I’ve ever seen–The Rio Grande–so peaceful, wide and powerful. I could sit on that insanely hot, cactus-y rock and stare out onto that river for hours. Not to mention I also encountered a bear on TWO separate occasions. I was able to sit within 30 feet of this powerful creature and watch it pick berries for a good twenty minutes. The variety of plant life was astonishing– so many colors and contrasts made me wonder what the park looks like in the spring. The miles and miles of flowing water, trees and rocks are ones forever imprinted into my brain. I can’t put into words the humbling feeling one is overcome with in a place as massive as Big Bend. The night sky was the cherry on top–the most stars I think I’ve ever seen at once. I only had 2 days, but I would recommend at least 3 for this massive park. I am eager to return and explore more of Big Bend–I’m not sure I’ll ever feel I’ve seen enough of it. If you’re into challenges, raw nature and wildlife, Big Bend is a must for your hiking list and easily my favorite hike of Texas.

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