Hiking in the Texas Hill Country offers a unique blend of landscapes and climates, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
With its rolling hills, picturesque canyons, vibrant wildflowers, and winding rivers, Hill Country is loaded with natural beauty that cannot be found anywhere else.
Additionally, many hiking trails in the area pass through some fascinating historical sites as well as fossil areas.
Whether you’re looking for challenging terrain or an easy stroll through the woods, there is something for everyone in the Texas Hill Country.
Also Read: Best Texas Hill Country State Parks
Best hiking trails in the Texas Hill Country
Hiking in the Texas Hill Country offers a wide variety of trails, allowing hikers of all skill levels to explore the stunning landscapes of this iconic region.
The network of trails includes carefully maintained pathways through rolling hills, rugged backcountry paths that wind along cliff edges and trickling creeks, and challenging routes up craggy peaks with breathtaking views.
From easy loops around the Highland Lakes to scrambles up the hill top, here are our favorite hiking trails in Central Texas.
Also Read: Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country
Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin
The 12-mile Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the most popular hiking trails in Texas and for good reason.
The trail offers a variety of landscapes, from wooded areas to rocky cliffs, and is a great place to see native plants and wildlife.
The trail is also popular with cyclists and runners, and there are several scenic spots along the way to stop and enjoy the views.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a great way to get outside and explore the natural beauty of Austin.
Gorman Falls Trail, Colorado Bend State Park
Gorman Falls Trail is a must-do hike in Colorado Bend State Park.
The moderate, out-and-back 3 mile loop trail leads to the stunning 60-foot Gorman Falls waterfall.
Along the way, you’ll get incredible views of the Colorado River and the surrounding hills.
The falls are especially impressive after heavy rain when the water flow is at its highest.
The trail is well-marked and well-maintained, making it perfect for families with young children.
West Peak Overlook Trail, Hill Country State Natural Area
The West Peak Overlook Trail is a great option for those looking for a moderate hike with stunning views.
The trail is about 1.5 miles long and located in the Hill Country State Natural Area near San Antonio.
The trailhead is located near the Visitors Center, and the trail winds its way up to the top of West Peak.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy views of the terrain, see wildlife, as well as admire a variety of wildflowers and cacti.
From the overlook, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow, making it a great option for hikers of all experience levels.
Summit Trail, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
The Summit Trail at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a must-do for any hiker visiting the area.
The 1.3-mile loop trail ascends over 415 feet to the summit of Enchanted Rock, a huge granite dome that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
The trail is well-maintained and takes about an hour to hike.
The hike is not overly challenging, but it does require a bit of scrambling in places.
The payoff, however, is more than worth it.
The views from the top are simply stunning, and you’ll be able to see for miles in every direction.
Although the summit can be reached in a relatively short amount of time, it is recommended to take your time and enjoy the scenery.
Painted Rock Overlook via Bridges Trail, Garner State Park
The Painted Rock Overlook via Bridges Trail at Garner State Park is a must-see for nature lovers.
The 1.6-mile loop hike is moderately challenging, and the views from the overlook are simply breathtaking.
The colorful rocks, surrounding hills, and rushing waters of the Frio River create a scene that is truly one of a kind.
Visitors can also enjoy picnicking and swimming in the river below after finishing the hike.
With its beautiful scenery and ample amenities, the Painted Rock Overlook via Bridges Trail is an enjoyable experience for all.
Crystal Cave Trail, Garner State Park
The Crystal Cave Trail is a beautiful and popular trail located in Garner State Park.
The 1.3 mile loop trail is a challenging hike with almost 400 feet elevation gain.
The trail features sudden climbs and scenic views of the landscape, including forests, grassland, and rocky areas.
The highlight of the trail is the Crystal Cave, a small but 30 foot deep limestone cave that is amazing to explore with a flashlight!
The trail is short but steep, and can be slippery in places.
Vista Knoll Trail, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Vista Knoll trail is one of the premier hiking trails in Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.
Located within the rugged terrain of central Texas, this well-maintained trail offers stunning views of the wildlife preserve and its diverse ecosystems.
The 0.9 mile trail winds through a variety of natural habitats, including grassy plains, pine forests, and rocky canyons.
The several overlooks over Lake Travis offer visitors opportunities to soak in the breathtaking scenery of this unique area.
Devil’s Waterhole Nature Trail, Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake is one of our favorite Hill Country state parks near Austin.
The Devil’s Waterhole is a short, fun hike that will lead you to this popular swimming hole within the park.
The 0.3 mile trail has barely few small elevation changes and is perfect for families.
The trailhead is located near the park’s day-use area, and the trail winds through a wooded area before reaching the Devil’s Waterhole.
This swimming hole is a great place to cool off on a hot day, and there are also picnic areas nearby.
So if you’re looking for an enjoyable and scenic hike near Austin, be sure to check out the Devil’s Waterhole Nature Trail at Inks Lake State Park!
Lower River Trail, Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Spanning nearly 2 miles, the Lower River Trail is one of the most popular trails in Milton Reimers Ranch Park.
The moderately difficult trail follows the Pedernales River, offering stunning views of the river and the surrounding canyon.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy a variety of plant and animal life, including native Texas wildflowers, deer, and birds.
At the end, hikers can enjoy river access and cool off in the water.
Mountain biking trails, Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Nestled in the hills of the Texas Hill Country, Milton Reimers Ranch Park is a hidden gem for mountain bikers.
The park features more than 10 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging.
The terrain is diverse, featuring hills, cliffs, and rocky sections.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, and rattlesnakes
And because the park is located just outside of Austin, you won’t have to travel far.
Caswell Nature Trail, Blanco State Park
The Caswell Nature Trail is a beautiful, easy hike near Blanco State Park.
The 0.8-mile round trip trail meanders through woods and along a bluff above the Blanco River.
The scenery is stunning, and the river provides a gentle, cooling environment.
On the trail, you can see the historic dam constructed by the CCC in the 1930s.
The trail is well-marked and perfect for a stroll or an invigorating hike.
Cypress Creek Nature Trail, Wimberley
The Cypress Creek Nature Trail is an easy 2-mile loop trail located in Wimberley, Texas.
The trailhead is located at the Cypress Creek Nature Preserve.
The dirt trail winds through a variety of habitats including hardwood forests, meadows, and wetlands.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy views of Cypress Creek and the surrounding hill country.
The trail is a popular destination for hikers, birders, and nature lovers.
Wolf Mountain Trail, Pedernales Falls State Park
Located at the northern end of the park, this challenging trail in Johnson City offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
The 5.4-mile loop trail rewards hikers with a rewarding sense of accomplishment when they reach the summit.
The trail winds up steep terrain and over rocky outcroppings and features 3 creek crossings.
Although it can be quite steep and strenuous at times, Wolf Mountain Trail is well worth the effort for anyone who loves outdoor adventure and stunning vistas.
South Loop Equestrian Trail, Pedernales Falls State Park
The South Loop Equestrian Trail at Pedernales Falls State Park is a beautiful and challenging horseback riding trail.
The 6.8-mile loop trail winds through the scenic landscape and offers stunning views of the Pedernales River and the rugged cliffs that line its banks.
The trail is well-marked and provides a moderate challenge for experienced riders.
The South Loop Equestrian Trail is a great way to experience the beauty of Pedernales Falls State Park on horseback.
Walk Through The Grotto, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
At Westcave Preserve near Austin, visitors can enjoy a scenic Texas waterfall hike that takes them through pristine natural terrain and stunning vistas.
The hike begins at the visitor’s center, where you will head to the upper trailhead along a winding path lined with native trees and shrubs.
After a short ascent through a sheltered canyon, you will reach the famous grotto.
Here, you can admire the rushing waters tumbling down over large boulders into a pool below.
The hike is just 15 mins long but can be seen only via guided tours.
Gorge Overlook Trail, Canyon Lake
The Gorge Overlook Trail is a unique hiking experience in the Canyon Lake area of Texas.
Canyon Lake Gorge was formed by unrelenting floods that carved a canyon into the limestone fields.
The self-guided Gorge Overlook Trail winds through the rocky terrain and offers hikers stunning views of the gorge below.
At just over two miles, this hike is short but sweet, making it perfect for families.
If you have kids over 7, opt for the guided gorge tours where budding paleontologists can see preserved dinosaur tracks in Central Texas.
The Gorge Overlook Trail is a great way to learn about the ecology of the canyon and get some exercise at the same time.
East Trail, Lost Maples State Natural Area
The East Trail at Lost Maples State Natural Area is a scenic and challenging hike that takes visitors through the heart of this beautiful preserve.
The trail winds through wooded terrain, offering hikers spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
At just over 3 miles, the hike is not for beginners, but experienced hikers will love the challenge.
The East Trail is the best way to see the fall foliage of this state park; especially from the scenic overlook.
West Loop Trail, Lost Maples State Natural Area
The West Loop Trail at Lost Maples State Natural Area is a beautiful, challenging hike.
At just over 3 miles, the trail winds through a variety of different habitats and terrain.
During your hike, you will see stunning views of limestone bluffs and canyons, as well as the lush forest floor.
The West Loop Trail is a great way to experience all that Lost Maples has to offer.
Muleshoe Bend and Turkey Bend trails, Lake Travis
Both areas have easy trails that offer stunning views of the Hill Country bluebonnet fields in spring.
The trails are popular for their breathtaking scenery, boat ramp access, and photo opportunities.
Come spring and this is undoubtedly the best hiking in Texas hill country!
Bald Cypress Trail, Guadalupe River State Park
The Bald Cypress Trail is a beautiful, easy hike that takes visitors through the Guadalupe River State Park.
The trail winds through a forest of bald cypress trees on the river banks.
At just over 1 mile, the trail is perfect for families or those looking for a short hike.
The Bald Cypress Trail is a great way to experience the natural beauty of fall foliage in Central Texas.
The Texas Hill Country is an ideal location for hiking and other outdoor recreation.
Wide, well-maintained trails offer access to majestic canyons, towering peaks, and dense forests, providing a rich and rewarding experience for hikers of all skill levels.
Whether you’re looking to climb up to a charming waterfall or spend the day exploring centuries-old ruins by the riverbeds, hiking in the Texas Hill Country promises to be an unforgettable experience.
So don’t wait: lace up your boots and hit the trail today!