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15 Epic Hikes in Texas (+ Map to Find the Trails!)

Many of us love a good hike. Each community has its unique trails to explore, and with its diverse topography, the best hikes in Texas include some of the best hiking trails in the country. 

Featuring desert canyons, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful forests, there’s no shortage of excellent hiking in Texas.

Here are 15 of the best hiking trails in Texas!

woman sitting on a rock wearing a black backpack and snapping a photo of a canyon when hiking in texas

Incredible Hiking Trails in Texas

Lighthouse Trail, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

This legendary trail is located in the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle and not far from Amarillo. The trail is named after a natural formation of rock that resembles a lighthouse. 

Over its 3-mile distance to the lighthouse (one way), the trail’s scenery is known for its walk around multi-colored and eroded cliffs along with some magnificent canyon views. 

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The lighthouse trail has become a popular destination in the state for those visiting Palo Duro. 

With its solitude for visitors and a variety of plant and animal species to witness, it is a hike certainly worth placing on your top list of Texas hikes. 

Kate Storm standing in front of the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon TX

Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park

This classic Texas hike is our first trail located in Big Bend National Park in West Texas. The Park itself backs up to the border with Mexico and is a natural wonder in itself. 

The popular Santa Elena Canyon Trail is one of the most beautiful places to go hiking in Texas.

At only 1.7 miles, the trail is a river hike that takes you along Terlingua Creek until the water meets with the high and sheer canyon walls of the Santa Elena Canyon. 

This is definitely one of the most special hikes in Big Bend National Park and shouldn’t be missed.

Hiker standing in Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park looking away from the camera

Gorman Falls Trail, Colorado Bend State Park

Our next trail is located in Colorado Bend State Park in Central Texas. The Gorman trail should be on anyone’s list who loves water and waterfalls in particular. 

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The trail itself is short at just 3 miles round-trip, but don’t be fooled, as it is very rocky in spots and has steep sections to traverse, particularly as you approach the waterfall. Full of lush plant life and nature, you will want to take your time and enjoy the natural surroundings. 

The payoff of your hike is, of course, the 70’ waterfall at the end of the trail. The falls are gorgeous–many say like they feel like they’ve been transported out of Texas entirely when they see it–and must be experienced to appreciate. 

View of Gorman Falls Texas from the side with fall foliage surrounding it

The Lone Star Hiking Trail, Sam Houston National Forest

This trail has the distinction of being the longest hikes in Texas. At almost 100 miles long, this certainly requires a multi-day hike. This, of course, is part of the attraction as hikers get to enjoy several days of nature. 

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Despite being located in the Pineywoods of East Texas, the trail is surprisingly hilly for its location. 

The Lone Star hiking trail offers a hike across the thick pine forests of the area, crossing several creeks along the way. Unlike some of our hikes in the west of Texas, the Lone Star Trail offers a different perspective of the Texas climate. 

Piney woods in Sam Houston National Forest as seen looking up

Guadalupe Peak Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The finish to this hike will provide the best view of possibly all of the best Texas hikes outlined here. The tallest point in the state, the trail’s peak, stands at over 8700 feet above sea level. 

Located in West Texas and bordering the New Mexico state line, this trail is inside Guadalupe Mountains National Park. 

This six to eight-hour hike is not for the faint of heart, as it is steep in places. However, for those who want a little physical adventure and a sight of one of the most beautiful vistas in the Lone Star state, you must place this hiking trail in Texas on your list to do. 

Rocky hiking trail with mountains in the distance in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, home to some of the best hiking in Texas

Lost Maples East Trail Loop, Lost Maples State Natural Area

The Lost Maples State Natural Area has at least two solid hikes, but the one to add to your list not to miss is the East Trail Loop. 

With a total of 4.5 miles of trail, the East Loop takes you on a journey through rock crevices and culminates with a long climb adobe the Sabinal River for great views of the area. 

The trail is known as a place to catch a view of true fall in Texas as the maple trees turn color in the Autumn. 

clear sabinal river in lost maples state natural area framed by fall foliage, home to one of the best hikes in texas

South Rim Trail, Big Bend National Park

Our second Big Bend trail is one of the most popular hikes in Texas. One of the best ways to experience Big Bend National Park is from the South Rim Trail. 

The 12-plus-mile hike can be exhausting, but in the end, you will have a wonderful view of the Chihuahuan desert below. Take a picnic and enjoy one of the best views around. 

This trail is extremely popular and completed by thousands of people each year. Make sure it makes your list of great hikes in Texas to try out!

View of the desert from the south rim trail in big bend np, one of the best hiking trails in texas

Mount Ol’ Baldy Trail, Garner State Park

Garner State Park makes every list of great places to visit in the Lone Star state, and there are many reasons why. One of the reasons is that the park offers some of the best hiking around. 

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Probably the most popular in the park is the climb to the summit of Mount Ol’ Baldy. This simple, 1-mile out-and-back Texas hiking trail takes you to one of the best views around. Don’t be fooled by the short distance, as you’ll be climbing most of the way.  

At the hike’s top elevation, you can look down at the Frio River and the surrounding area. While at the park, be sure and take advantage of several other trails for hiking in Texas. 

view of the frio river in garner state park from above

Caprock Canyons Trailway, Caprock Canyons State Park

This Texas hike is a must for those who love the outdoors of the panhandle.

Located on the Caprock Escarpment, the trail covers three counties but can be broken up into sections. 

The best part of the trail is the 46 bridges, and a former railroad tunnel cut through the mountain, that is accessed along the way. These elements break up your walk and make it unique from other trails in Texas.

The trail itself is solitary and away from civilization in some places, so plan accordingly for your safety. 

Caprock Canyon as seen from above, home to excellent texas hikes

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

West of Austin in Central Texas, you can explore the bluebonnet fields along the Brazos river at this great park. 

With 5 Miles of trails, this makes for a great day trip hike and should be included on your list of hikes to do, if in the Austin area. 

Be sure to go in the spring when the bluebonnets are at their peak–that’s when this park for hiking in Texas truly shines.

blooming bluebonnets at muleshoe bend with the Texas hiking trail visible on the right and water in the background

Palmetto Trail, Palmetto State Park

The trails at Palmetto State Park are a natural botanical garden. Located near Gonzales, Texas, the trails are part of the much larger Texas Birdwatching Trails network. 

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This park’s vegetation provides a unique experience that cannot be found in other trails and parks in Texas. With thousands of native palmetto plants lining the trail, it is a perfect place for wild animals to flourish. 

This trail must be on your list of hiking trails in Texas for no other reason than it provides an almost prehistoric microclimate to enjoy. 

boardwalk framed by trees dripping spanish moss in palmetto state park texas

Trail to Del Rio Rock Paintings, Seminole Canyon State Park

Seminole Canyon State Park located near Comstock, Texas may have longer trails to enjoy nature, but they do not have the ancient history of the Del Rio Rock Paintings. 

A guided hike will take you along the trail to witness rock paintings made by humans some 7000 years ago. The hike itself is a nice day out in nature, but for certain the paintings make the hike worthwhile in themselves. 

For participating in ancient Texas culture, add this trail to your list. There are plenty of other connecting hiking trails if you wish to enjoy a longer hike. 

seminole canyon near comstock texas as seen from above with an overhanging rock visible on the left side of the photo

Cross Timbers Trail, Lake Texoma

This far North Texas trail is located at Lake Texoma on the border with the state of Oklahoma. 

The area, once known for its thick ancient forest, offers fantastic views of the lake below along rocky ledges. The trail system is over 14 miles long and provides several different viewing experiences along the way. 

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The views of the lake pass into dense wooded forest which offers an entirely different world surrounding you while on the same hike in Texas.

This trail is a must for those planning to be in North Texas and Oklahoma area.

lake texoma as seen from above

The Madera Canyon Trail

Once ranch land, the Madera Canyon Trail is now part of a 33,000-acre conservatory located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. 

This 2.4-mile trail offers wonderful views of the Davis Mountains that stick out as a green oasis of the desert. Qual, mule deer, and other wildlife thrive in this area and can be seen along the hike. 

The quietness and natural beauty of this trail make it stand out as one of the best in West Texas. Be sure and add it to your list of great scenic hikes in Texas. 

vista in west texas near madera canyon, home to one of the best hikes in texas

Eagle Mountain Lake Park Trail

Our list of the best Texas trails now takes us into the Fort Worth area of North Texas. Eagle Mountain Lake Park Trail provides 7 miles of pristine nature for hikers. 

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The trail is shaded with a great view of Eagle Lake for most of the journey. This trail is part of several located in the Eagle Mountain Lake Park with over five distinct trails that connect. 

If you plan on being in North Texas, near Fort Worth and Dallas, make sure this highly rated and popular park is on your list of places to go hiking in Texas. 

Map of the Best Hikes in Texas

4 photos of hiking in texas: waterfall, rock formation, woman taking a photo, river. black and red text on a white background reads "15 bucket list hikes in texas"

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