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Texas Backpacking Trails

Dallas: Knob Hill Trail

Hike a shadowy creek bottom to carpets of sweet-smelling Texas wildflowers on this 9.6-mile out-and-back featuring a smorgasbord of wild sights. Open to bikes.

Big Bend National Park: South Rim via Pinnacles

Hike across twisted, tortured landscape on this 11.2-mile overnighter through the High Chisos Mountains to the South Rim escarpment. Bring plenty of water; this is dry country.

Dallas: Dinosaur Valley

Hike near theropod and sauropod dinosaur tracks, then ditch the roadside crowds for some solitude and abundant views of the Paluxy River Valley on this 6.8-mile loop.

Big Bend National Park: Outer Loop Trail

From the Chisos Mountains to the Chihuahuan Desert, this 3- or 4-day hike samples it all.

Big Bend National Park: Mesa de Anguila

A 24-miler in the the Big Bend’s remote west corner.

Big Bend National Park: Santa Elena Canyon

Paddle the Rio Grande through massive gorges on this exciting overnight. This 22-mile trip is easily done in 2 days.

Big Bend National Park: South Rim Loop

Explore one of the Lower 48’s last remaining wild corners on this 11.6-mile loop from the High Chisos Mountains to the South Rim escarpment.

Dallas: Ray Roberts Greenbelt Hike

Only 30 minutes from downtown, this 7.4-mile out-
and-back runs a shady corridor of bottomland hard-
woods teeming with deer, armadillos, and songbirds.

Dallas: Cross Timbers Trail

Hike 8.9 miles of undulating hills and blackjack oak forest along the mysterious, murky backwater bayous of Lake Texoma.

Dallas: Bonham State Park Loop

This gentle 4.8-mile loop rolls through Texas woods and grasslands to a breezy lakeshore.

Dallas: Coyote Run

Discover the river gullies, wildlife, and floral delights of Cooper Lake State Park on this winding 4.7-mile lollipop loop through a towering hardwood forest.

Austin, TX: Lost Pines Hiking Trail

This 7-mile circuit offers a Texas treasure: a chance to hike and camp under an isolated stand of loblolly pines where countless birds nest and sing. Bring a bird ID book.

Austin, TX: South Bull Creek

Explore Austin’s very own all-natural waterworld on this 4.4-mile out-and-back to refreshing swimming holes and three waterfalls. Located just minutes from downtown.

Houston: Four C Trail

Cross rolling hills and recovering woodlands on this 13.4-mile, one-way backpacking trip through a sweet slice of East Texas wilderness.

Austin: Enchanted Rock

This 6.4-mile loop circles the best scenery in Texas Hill Country: amazing pink rock formations, picturesque ponds, and a giant granite dome.

Dallas: Dogwood Canyon Trail

Find an oasis of thick cypress groves, lakeside coves, and nesting bald eagles on this 4.8-mile lollipop loop in Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

Dallas: Lake Mineral Wells

Walk the edge of a country lake into oak woodlands and long stem prairie on this 5-mile out-and-back.

Houston, TX: Richards Loop

Best in the cooler months, this easy 6.4-mile hike links creeks, rolling hills, and woodlands in Sam Houston National Forest.

Austin: Barton Creek Greenbelt South

Waterfalls, swimming holes, and shady lunch spots highlight this 10.4-miler, just a short bus ride from downtown.

Big Bend National Park: Blue Creek Canyon

Go from grasslands to mountains along a little-known creek in Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park: Mesa de Anguila

Check out geologic sculptures and Rio Grande views in a secluded corner of Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park: South Rim, Chisos Mountains

Stay cool on a high-elevation hike with long-distance desert views.

Dallas, TX: Duck Pond Trail

Escape busy Dallas. This 3.2-mile out-and-back pierces the heart of Cedar Hills State Park and provides a quick getaway into Texas hill country.

Dallas, TX: Cleburne State Park Loop

Surprise sights–such as a masonry spillway and an elusive armadillo–await on this 5.5-mile loop that encircles Cleburne State Park’s Cedar Lake.

San Antonio, TX: Lost Maples State Park

Hold onto your pennies! This 4.8-mile loop passes a wishing well en route to a set of refreshing swimming holes in Lost Maples State Park.

Houston, TX: George Bush Park

Sample the paved hike-and-bike path in Houston’s George Bush Park with this flat and easy 4.2-miler that’s perfect for a run or a family bike ride.

Big Bend National Park: Boot Canyon

A shaded Eden offers refreshing contrast to the searing desert.

Beaumont, TX: Turkey Creek Trail

Hike through three ecological zones in east Texas’s carnivore country.

Dallas, TX: Crow Hill Loop

Climb up to an observation tower atop the migratory-bird crowded shores of Lake Texoma on this easy 0.4-mile interpretive loop in the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

Houston, TX: Spring Creek Paddle

Preview the Spring Creek Greenway–and pull up for a sandbar picnic–on this 12-mile paddle that cruises a lazy creek between newly protected shorelines of Montgomery and Harris county parks.

Houston, TX: Lake Livingston

An introduction to Texas’ second-largest lake, this 13.25-mile round-trip paddle on Lake Livingston’s western shore will have you rubbing elbows with the locals–turtles, snakes and alligators included.

Dallas, TX: Dead Woman – Haller’s Haven Nature Trail

Spot abundant wildlife and wide open vistas from the shores of Lake Texoma on this easy, 3.2-mile lollipop loop in the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge just 90 minutes north of Dallas.

Big Bend National Park: Ernst Tinaja

Explore Big Bend backcountry on this easy 1.2-mile round-trip through a water-worn canyon to a desert watering hole surrounded by towering layers of rock.

Big Bend National Park: Chisos Basin Trails

Combine 4 trails in the High Chisos on this challenging 8.6-mile loop that offers thigh-burning climbs, stunning views, and a vegetation transition with great wildlife viewing potential.

Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX: Closed Canyon

Descend into Closed Canyon’s slot for a 1.4-mile round-trip trek from Big Bend’s scenic River Road toward the Mexican border and the raging Rio Grande.

Austin, TX: Inks Lake State Park

Scramble over granite faces, clamber past cacti-peppered rock gardens, and wind your way through Texas Hill Country on this 4.9-mile loop on the south side of Inks Lake State Park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The Bowl

Climb an ancient reef and peek over its edge toward Texas’ highest peak on this 12.65-mile overnight in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. You’ll climb more than 2,500 feet to a flower-filled meadow and drop through a jagged limestone canyon on this tough loop.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Smith Springs

This 2.3-mile loop in Guadalupe Mountains National Park rolls through a yucca-covered wash and visits a seeping spring surrounded by big-tooth maple.

Austin, TX: Enchanted Rock Loop

Circumnavigate a 425-foot monolith on this 4.9-miler that crosses a sandy creek and cruises classic Texas Hill Country west of Austin.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Devil’s Hall

Wind into Pine Springs Canyon and squeeze through a 100-foot long hallway on one of Guadalupe’s mellowest dayhikes. In the fall, this 4-mile out-and-back features a rainbow of colors.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: McKittrick Canyon

Wind through one Texas’ prettiest spot, McKittrick Canyon, on this mellow 4.8-mile out-and-back that follows a gentle stream to a 30’s-era cabin-turned-museum on the north side of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park: Carlsbad Cavern

Drop 750 feet underground through the bat-cave entrance of Carlsbad Cavern on this 2.4-mile hike that combines hundreds of impressive displays: stalactite-dripping nooks and crannies, massive domes, gypsum deposits, and fanciful rock formations.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Guadalupe Peak

Climb to the highest views in Texas on this 8-mile trek to the rocky summit of Guadalupe Peak.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Hunter Peak

Hit Texas’ 6th highest peak–a lesser-known attraction in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Hundred-mile views reward for the 2,500-foot climb on this challenging 9.2-mile out-and-back.

Austin, TX: McKinney Roughs Loop

Follow the Colorado River to a shady overlook above Texas Hill Country on this easy, 3.8-mile loop through McKinney Roughs Nature Park.

El Paso, TX: Hueco Tanks State Park

Explore constant pools in the rock, called huecos, along with rock art and desert views on this hike through the part of the state park open to the public.

Amarillo, TX: Lighthouse Trail

Hike 5.75 miles through Palo Duro Canyon State Park where sandstone buttes soar above the Grand Canyon of Texas. The payoff? Front-row sights of the 300-foot-tall spire known as the Lighthouse. Tip: Go on a weekday for quiet trails.

DALLAS: Cedar Breaks Trail, Cedar Ridge Preserve

Hike the tallest hills in Dallas.

DALLAS: White Rock Lake Trail, White Rock Park

Hike around White Rock Lake in Dallas’s largest park.

DALLAS: Outer Loop Trail, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Go on a hike, ride, or just stop to smell the flowers at this park just outside of town.

Lake Bastrop LCRA Park North-South Trailway

This scenic trek from one end of Lake Bastrop to the other goes just over four miles, through oak and mesquite-covered hills into pine woods, over creeks and along the lake shore.

Canyon of the Eagles Juniper Ridge Trail

A quick loop through rocky juniper woods along the highest ridge in this lakeside Hill Country park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Guadalupe Peak

You’ll summit the highest point in Texas on this 8-mile overnight trip in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Enchanted Rock State Park: Enchanted Rock Loop

See Enchanted Rock’s pink granite dome, one of the most famous landmarks in Texas on this overnight loop and side trip to the 1,825-foot summit.

austin's best local hikes
Austin Texas Trips

Austin’s Best Local Hikes

By: Annette McGivney

Upgrade your lunch break; visit a lush state park; and get Big Bend-style views without the drive on three of Austin's best local hikes.

map of Four C Trail in Texas by Becky Kivlovitz
Texas Trips

Hike the Four C Trail in Texas

By: Melissa Gaskill

Hiking in Texas? It's true! Go see for yourself as the sun dances through the 100-foot-tall pines in the woods of the Davy Crockett National Forest.

0 Comments Photos
Dallas Texas

Dallas: Knob Hill Trail

Hike a shadowy creek bottom to carpets of sweet-smelling Texas wildflowers on this 9.6-mile out-and-back featuring a smorgasbord of wild sights. Open to bikes.

Dallas Texas

Dallas: Dinosaur Valley

Hike near theropod and sauropod dinosaur tracks, then ditch the roadside crowds for some solitude and abundant views of the Paluxy River Valley on this 6.8-mile loop.

0 Comments Photos
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