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12 Best Hiking Trails In Texas That You HAVE To Do At Least Once

The state of Texas is blessed with many beautiful landscapes.

From the colossal mountains of Big Bend National Park to the deep canyon of Palo Duro.

But with so much beauty to explore, where do you even begin?

We’ve done all the hard work for you to come up with this ultimate list of the best hiking trails in Texas that you NEED to do at least once.

Add these to your bucket list immediately!

We’ve included a range of trails suitable for all levels, from easy 2-mile hikes to longer, full-day trips.

So if you’re ready to see the most beautiful spots that Texas has to offer then keep on reading!

1. Guadalupe Peak Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The Guadalupe Peak Trail is a famous hiking trail located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas.

The trail starts at the Pine Springs Campground where you can get ready for your adventure. 

It stretches over 8.4 miles round trip and is known for its challenging paths that lead to beautiful viewpoints.

As you walk, you’ll see a variety of plants and animals that call this area home. 

The path takes you through various different kinds of terrain including rocky cliffs and dense forests. 

One of the coolest things you’ll do is reach the “Top of Texas” which is the summit of Guadalupe Peak. It’s actually the highest point in Texas at 2,667 meters!

From there, you get an amazing view of the mountains and desert below that makes the whole hike worth it. 

Along the way, look out for the signs that teach you about the nature and history of the area. 

It usually takes about 6 to 8 hours to complete the hike, depending on how fast you walk. 

A fun fact about this trail is that there is a stainless-steel pyramid at the peak.

2. South Rim Trail, Big Bend National Park

The South Rim Trail is a breathtaking circular hiking trail located in Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas.

This adventure starts at the Chisos Basin trailhead.

The trail itself is about 12 to 14.5 miles long, depending on which route you take, making it’s a full day’s hike. It takes most people around 6 hours to complete.

As you hike, you’ll pass through beautiful forests, meadows filled with wildflowers and rugged desert landscapes. 

John Karwoski / Flickr

The views from the South Rim are unforgettable. You’ll be treated to wide panoramas of the Chihuahuan Desert and the mountains beyond. 

You can even see into Mexico on a clear day.

You can often spot birds of prey soaring in the sky and, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of bears or mountain lions in the distance. 

daveynin / Flickr

The trail climbs steadily as you go and when you reach the rim, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. 

It’s recommended to start early in the morning to enjoy the cooler temperatures and to finish before it gets dark. 

Big Bend National Park is one of the best places in the US to stargaze and the South Rim Trail offers an incredible night sky view for those who camp overnight.

3. Gorman Falls Trail, Colorado Bend State Park

The Gorman Falls Trail is located in Colorado Bend State Park in the Hill Country region of Texas.

This trail begins near the park’s main entrance which makes it easy for visitors to find and start their hike. 

The journey to Gorman Falls is a moderate 2.6 miles round trip so it’s perfect for a morning or afternoon adventure. 

Dave Hensley / Flickr

As you walk, you’ll wander through a rugged Texas landscape, seeing cacti, wildflowers and maybe even some wildlife like deer or armadillos. 

The trail is pretty easy but it does get a bit rocky and can be slippery towards the end so wearing good hiking shoes is a smart idea. 

The highlight of the hike is the stunning Gorman Falls itself – a 70-foot tall waterfall that cascades beautifully over lush green moss and rocks. 

The sound of the water and the cool mist create a magical atmosphere!

Near the falls, there are several viewing platforms where you can take pictures and enjoy the view without harming the natural area. 

This trail is great for families but keep an eye on little ones because of the uneven ground. 

Gorman Falls is actually a “living” waterfall which means that the moss and rock formations continue to grow and change over time, making each visit unique.

4. Mount Ol’ Baldy Trail, Garner State Park

Adam Baker / Flickr

The Mount Ol’ Baldy Trail is an exciting trail found in Garner State Park which is located in the heart of Texas, just an hour and a half west of San Antonio.

This trail kicks off from the park’s visitor center so it’s an easy spot to start your climb. 

It’s a round trip of about 1 mile but don’t let the short distance fool you. The trail is steep and can be quite a workout. 

Dan Thibodeaux / Flickr

As you make your way up, you’ll wander through dense woodlands and see a variety of birds and small animals. 

The path gets rockier as you climb higher and, at times, it can be challenging to keep your footing so you may want to take it slow.

When you reach the top of Mount Ol’ Baldy, you’re rewarded with an amazing 360-degree view of the Texas Hill Country and the Frio River below. 

Dan Thibodeaux / Flickr

It’s the perfect spot for taking photos that will make your friends jealous, especially at sunrise or sunset. 

Along the trail, you can learn about the local flora and fauna from the informative signs. 

Remember, it is a popular trail so you might meet other hikers along the way. 

It’s also pretty easy to extend your hike if you like as the Foshee Trail starts at the same trailhead.

5. Lighthouse Trail, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The Lighthouse Trail is a famous trail located in Palo Duro Canyon State Park which you’ll find in the Texas Panhandle. 

This trail starts from the park’s main area which you’ll find close to the car park. It’s a pretty easy route so it is suitable for all levels.

The trail is about 5.9 miles round trip making it a good challenge for most people. It takes most people just over 2 hours to complete.

As you walk, you’ll be amazed by the colorful rock formations, deep canyons and wide-open skies. 

The path takes you through the beautiful, rugged landscape of the second-largest canyon in the United States. 

Along the way, you might see animals like roadrunners, deer and maybe even a coyote.

The trail’s highlight is the iconic Lighthouse rock formation which looks like a giant stone tower reaching towards the sky. 

It’s a popular spot for photos and a great place to rest and enjoy the view. 

Remember to bring plenty of water as the trail can get hot and dry. 

6. The Lone Star Hiking Trail, Sam Houston National Forest

Dustin Ground / Flickr

The Lone Star Hiking Trail winds its way through the Sam Houston National Forest, which is about an hour north of Houston. 

It’s the longest continuous hiking trail in the state and stretches on for over 96 miles. 

Completing the entire trail takes most people around 30 hours so you’ll want to spread it over a few days. Otherwise, you could just hike part of the trail.

Katie Haugland Bowen / Flickr

The trail has multiple starting points but many hikers begin at the western end near the town of Richards. 

As you walk, you’ll journey through thick forests of pine and oak, cross over creeks and pass by tranquil lakes. 

The trail is marked with numerous tree blazes to guide you on your way. 

Alexander Hatley / Flickr

You’ll likely spot wildlife like deer, squirrels and various birds. 

Some parts of the trail take you through open meadows filled with wildflowers which are especially beautiful in the spring. 

It’s a peaceful place for a long hike and offers the chance to disconnect and enjoy nature. It’s pretty quiet and you’ll often have the trail to yourself.

7. Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park

The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is one of the most stunning paths in Big Bend National Park. 

This trail starts at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive which is right by the car park so it’s easy to find your way to the beginning. 

It’s a relatively short hike, at about 1.6 miles round trip, but it’s packed with breathtaking views. 

As you walk, you’ll see the towering walls of the canyon which rise dramatically on both sides of the Rio Grande River. 

The trail leads you through a variety of landscapes including a sandy riverbank and a small bamboo forest. 

One of the coolest parts is crossing Terlingua Creek which can be a fun splash through the water or an easy hop over rocks, depending on the time of year. 

The path ends with a fantastic view of the river curving through the canyon. It’s a sight you won’t forget!

Along the way, you might catch glimpses of birds and other wildlife that call the canyon home. 

It’s a great trail for families as it offers both adventure and an up-close look at nature. 

Santa Elena Canyon’s walls actually reach up to 1,500 feet high making them some of the most dramatic cliffs in Texas!

8. Caprock Canyons Trailway, Caprock Canyons State Park

The Caprock Canyons Trailway is an exciting trail that stretches across Caprock Canyons State Park which you’ll find in the Texas Panhandle. 

This trailway is unique because it starts at several points but many people choose to begin in the quaint town of South Plains at the eastern end. 

It spans an impressive distance, totaling about 64 miles, and it follows the route of an old railroad. 

12-Foot Hedgehog Productions / Flickr

The trail is broken up into many smaller segments of between 5 and 12 miles so you can easily hike just part of the trail.

As you travel along the trailway, you’ll be treated to a variety of stunning landscapes from vast, open prairies to rugged, red rock canyons. 

The path also takes you through several old railroad tunnels which adds a unique and adventurous twist to your hike.

Wildlife is abundant here so keep your eyes peeled for the official state bison herd of Texas which roams freely in the park. 

The trail offers several overlooks where you can pause and take in the breathtaking views of the red rocks.

The diverse terrain includes flat stretches as well as more challenging hills so it tends to be suitable for all levels of hikers. 

9. The Great Escape Trail, Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

The Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area is a beautiful outdoor spot located near Lake Travis in central Texas. It’s less than an hour from Austin.

This area is well-known for the scenic Great Escape Trail which is a 6.5-mile mountain biking and hiking trail.

The trail begins at the main parking area which makes it easy to start your adventure as soon as you arrive. It’s also a loop trail so you’ll end where you began.

Dave Hensley / Flickr

As you walk along the path, you’ll wander through wildflower fields which are especially vibrant in the spring with bluebonnets. 

The trail also takes you along the shores of Lake Travis. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the water and the chance to spot birds and other wildlife. 

The path is mostly flat which makes it a good choice for families or those looking for a leisurely hike or bike ride. 

Along the way, there are several spots to stop, rest and even have a picnic while enjoying the peaceful surroundings. 

The Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area is also popular for camping with sites available close to the trail. 

It’s a great place to spend a day or even a weekend, surrounded by nature. 

10. Ron Coleman Trail, Franklin Mountains State Park

uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / Flickr

The Ron Coleman Trail is an adventurous trail located in Franklin Mountains State Park, right in El Paso. 

This trail starts at the McKelligon Canyon and takes you across the Franklin Mountains to a second canyon at Smugglers Pass.

Stretching about 7 miles from start to finish, it’s a challenging hike known for its steep climbs and rugged terrain. It takes most people around 5 and a half hours to complete.

uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / Flickr

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll climb over rocks, navigate through narrow passages and even use chains in some parts to help you up the steep sections. 

The views from the trail are worth the effort though as you’ll be treated to wide panoramas of the desert landscape, the city of El Paso and into neighboring Mexico. 

Along the route, you’ll encounter the Franklin Mountains’ unique flora and fauna which includes cacti, desert birds and maybe even a lizard or two basking in the sun. 

uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / Flickr

One of the highlights of the trail is reaching the top of South Franklin Mountain where you’ll find breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. 

The trail is well-marked with signs and cairns (small piles of rocks) which will help you stay on track. 

It’s recommended to start early in the morning to avoid the heat and to bring plenty of water. 

11. Eagle Mountain Lake Park Trail

The Eagle Mountain Lake Park Trail is located near Fort Worth, at Eagle Mountain Lake Park. 

This trail starts right at the park entrance where a large map stands to greet and guide visitors on their journey. 

It spans about 7.5 miles and winds through the beautiful, natural landscape of Texas. It takes most people just under 3 hours to complete.

As you hike, you’ll wander through forests filled with oak and cedar trees which offer plenty of shade on sunny days. 

The trail also provides stunning views of Eagle Mountain Lake, where the water sparkles under the bright Texas sky. 

Along the way, you might spot deer, rabbits and a variety of birds so it’s a great trail for animal lovers. 

The path does include some elevation changes but overall provides a manageable challenge for hikers of all levels. 

There are also many benches scattered along the trail which are perfect for taking a break and soaking in the peaceful surroundings. 

This trail is particularly beautiful in the spring when wildflowers bloom in abundance. 

12. Fate Bell Pictograph Trail, Seminole Canyon State Park

The Fate Bell Pictograph Trail is a fascinating trip located in Seminole Canyon State Park which you’ll find in the vast and beautiful landscape of West Texas. 

This unique trail begins at the park’s visitor center where, if you want to see some ancient rock paintings, you’ll need to join a guided tour. 

The hike is relatively short, about 1 mile round trip, so it’s suitable for hikers of all levels.

runarut / Flickr

As you walk, you’ll be surrounded by the rugged beauty of the canyon, with its steep walls and diverse plant life. 

The highlight of the trail is the ancient rock paintings, or pictographs, that were actually created by Native Americans thousands of years ago. 

These paintings provide a glimpse into the past and show animals, human figures and mysterious symbols. 

runarut / Flickr

The trail and guided tour take about 1 hour to complete so you’ll get plenty of time to admire the art and learn from the knowledgeable guides. 

Photography is allowed but touching the paintings is strictly prohibited to preserve them. 

Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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