There are so many spots in the Lone Star State to break out the hiking boots, it’s nearly impossible to choose. It’s OK, though, because we’ve generously decided to take the bullet for you and do the impossible. May the Texas hiking gods not strike us down for attempting to rank their plentiful natural splendors.
5 – Dinosaur Valley State Park is about an hour and a half outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the perfect spot for leisurely hikers and families with kids. With creeks, springs, and even a swimming hole there are plenty of ways to keep cool on your jaunt. Plus, there are five spots along the trails where you can see actual dinosaur tracks preserved in stone.
4 – Enchanted Rock State Natural Area offers all the 360-degree views of Texas Hill Country a hiker could desire. Try the steep but short Summit Trail to get to vernal pools and caves or take a 4-mile, family and pet-friendly version for equally magnificent views.
3 – Palo Duro Canyon. The list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the second biggest canyon in the country (we bet you can guess which one tops it). Test your climbing skills on the CCC trail or take it slightly easier with the popular Lighthouse trail. A lot of the trails were built by runners, presumably for runners, but we won’t judge you for walking.
2 – Guadalupe Mountains National Park Advanced backpackers will relish the hiking options at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Take on one of the hardest hikes in the state to the highest peak in the state with the Guadalupe Peak trail. Confident adventurers can also take a detour to the Gypsum Sand Dunes, but talk to the park ranger first for some need to know tips!
And the No. 1 hiking spot in Texas goes to … Big Bend National Park on the Mexico border. From desert to mountains to canyons, Big Bend has all kinds of landscapes to explore. The Santa Elena Canyon usually has some shade, so be sure to take a dip in the Boquillas Hot Springs, naturally a comfortable 105 degrees year-round.
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