10 Best Hiking Trails in Texas for outdoor lovers

Published By Ketki

Last Updated

Looking for the best hiking trails in Texas to add to your bucket list?

You have come to the right place: this epic guide is full of famous, underrated, as well as hidden Texas hiking trails.

Hiking in Texas is one of our favorite ways to explore the diverse natural beauty of the Lone Star State.

From the rolling hills of the Texas Hill Country to scenic overlooks over the West Texas desert, from challenging scrambles through pine trees to boardwalk trails over the wetlands, you will find a large variety of hiking trails in Texas.

Also Read: Best camping destinations in Texas

In fact, some of the best hiking trails in the country can be found right here in Texas.

Below is a list of great Texas trails to discover in the state on your next trip.

Best hiking trails in Texas

The best hikes in Texas take outdoor lovers through desert canyons, crystal clear rivers, and dense hardwood forests.

You will find these hiking trails in the state’s national parks and state parks, natural areas, nature preserves, and some even on private land.

Here are some of the best hiking trails in Texas!

South Rim Trail, Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National park is one of the most popular hiking spots in Texas.

The park has a variety of hikes for all ages from kid-friendly paved trails to backpacking trails in the Chisos Mountains.

One of the most popular hiking trails in the park is the South Rim Trail.

This challenging mountain trail is 14 miles long and has an elevation gain of 2000 feet.

The trail takes about eight hours to complete.

It can also be completed as a multi-day hike.

There are plenty of backcountry campsites along the trail.

The trail goes over very rugged terrain and offers spectacular views from the south rim at the end.

Wildlife sightings on the trail are common. If you’re lucky you might even spot black bears.

The trail is especially gorgeous during the spring when wildflowers bloom all around in Big Bend.

Also Read: Best things to do in West Texas

View of the South Rim Trail at Big Bend National Park
View of the South Rim Trail at Big Bend National Park

Lighthouse Trail, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The moderate Lighthouse Trail is one of our favorite hiking trails in Texas.

This hiking trail is located in the Texas Panhandle within the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

The trail leads visitors to the iconic natural formation in the park, the Lighthouse.

This red rock formation on the edge of eroded cliffs offers an amazing scenic overlook over the canyon.

The six miles round-trip hike is not for the faint of heart.

The trail has an elevation change of 900 feet and can be too hot to hike in the summer.

From the trail, you can enjoy amazing views of the rugged terrain and spectacular scenery of the canyon.

cropped Lighthouse trail in Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best hiking trails in Texas
Lighthouse trail in Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best hiking trails in Texas

Gorman Falls Trail, Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park is a charming state park located in the scenic Texas Hill Country.

It is named after a bend in the Colorado River.

The park is home to the tallest waterfall in Texas, Gorman Falls.

The trail is 2.8 miles long and has an extremely rocky and slippery end section.

Ropes are available at the end to assist in the descent to the beautiful waterfall.

The waterfall is 70 feet high and cascades over the mossy cliffs into the lush greenery below.

A viewing platform located at the end is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic meal or snacks after the challenging descent.

The trail is a favorite with families because of its natural beauty.

Also Read: Best hiking trails in Texas Hill Country

Paluxy River Trail, Dinosaur Valley State Park

The Paluxy River Trail is one of the most fun hiking trails in Texas.

The trail is located in Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose.

The 2-mile trail has everything from dinosaur tracks, a swimming hole, beautiful river views from a limestone ledge, and walking through the river bed!

Kids of all ages especially love this trail.

They can enjoy splashing through the river and searching for dinosaur tracks.

The trail leads visitors to the ballroom track site where you can find hundreds of dinosaur tracks going in every direction.

Also located on the trail is Blue Hole, a natural swimming hole that is perfect for a hot summer day.

Cattail Falls, Big Bend National Park

Visiting Big Bend National Park and looking for an easy hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall?

Hike to Cattail Falls.

Cattail Falls is an oasis of beauty hidden in the desert, tucked away inside Cattail canyon in the Chisos mountains.

The 1.5-mile trail passes through desert hills, red rock landscape, and woodlands to reach the lush waterfall.

This trail is very well-marked and easy to follow all the way up until you get there!

Guadalupe Peak Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure in the Lone Star State?

Head to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas!

Guadalupe Peak located within the park is the highest point in Texas.

It enjoys an elevation of 8751 feet.

The difficult 8.5 miles long Guadalupe Peak Trail that ascends to the peak can test the endurance of the most determined hikers.

The trailhead is located at Pine Springs campground.

The trail has multiple switchbacks, an elevation gain of 3000 feet, and the round trip takes about 6 to 8 hours to complete.

The trail gets particularly challenging close to the peak – you will find yourself on narrow, steep, and rocky terrain as you get closer to the tallest point in the state.

Once you reach the summit, you will be treated to amazing views and an amazing sense of achievement that are worth the effort.

It can be very windy once you reach the top, but you can easily understand why this is the most popular trail in the national park.

Hikers also have the option to camp overnight and attempt the hike over two days.

Summit Trail, Enchanted Rock Natural state area

The Summit Trail is a short but incredibly scenic trail that will take you to the top of Enchanted Rock, one of Texas’ most beautiful natural wonders.

The trail is 2.5 miles long and has an elevation change of 700 feet.

It’s a moderately difficult trail that takes approximately 3 hours to complete and offers scenic views of the Texas Hill Country, as well as the pink granite dome itself.

The trail is great for spring wildflowers, wildlife watching, and bouldering.

Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park

The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is a short scenic hike in Big Bend National Park.

The trailhead is accessible via Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

The trail follows the banks of the Rio Grande and leads visitors to the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon. 

Then the trail takes you along a series of paved switchbacks up the canyon walls to a scenic vista called ‘The Overlook’. 

From here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the river and Mexico.

Along the way, you will be crossing Terlingua Creek at Creek Cross- expect to get wet when the creek runs full!

Along its 1.7-mile round-trip length, visitors will enjoy scenic views of canyons and cliffs as well as abundant wildlife. 

The highlight of this trail is the stunning canyon with its 1500 feet tall walls that loom over the visitors. 

The Santa Elena Canyon has been carved through three million years’ worth of sedimentary rocks by the Rio Grande River and is a fascinating geological feature.

East Trail Loop, Lost Maples State Natural Area

When it comes to viewing fall colors in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area is everyone’s favorite.

This natural area is located on the banks of the Sabinal River in Central Texas.

The East Trail Loop is one of the most popular trails in Lost Maples because it offers visitors stunning views of the Hill Country including waterfalls, towering limestone cliffs, and scenic vistas. 

Visitors can hike through groves of huge, ancient Uvalde maples and enjoy the fall colors.

During your 4.5 mile hike, you will see an abundance of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, foxes, and bobcats among others.

Bluebonnet Trails, Turkey Bend Recreation Area

Turkey Bend Recreation Area located on the north shore of Lake Travis in the Texas Hill Country has some of the prettiest bluebonnet trails in the state.

The trails will lead you through the sprawling flower fields to the banks of Lake Travis.

Picnic tables and plenty of photo ops can be found along the way.

The best time to visit the recreation area located in Marble Falls is from late March to early April when the bluebonnets are in peak bloom.

Texas is a vast and diverse state, with many different types of terrains.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, there’s plenty to be explored on these best Texas trails!

Which is your favorite Texas hiking trail?

Did we miss any amazing hikes in the Lone Star State? Let us know in the comments.

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