As the saying goes, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and that holds true for the hikes as well. Texas is a massive state and the diversity of landscape means there is no shortage of great hikes. Rugged peaks, rolling hills, swamps, canyons, deserts, and grasslands are just some of the natural wonders the Lone Star State has to offer. So, after much deliberation, here are 10 of the best hikes in Texas.
1) Enchanted Rock Loop Trail – Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
It’s said that until you’ve made it to the top of Enchanted Rock, you can’t call yourself a true Texan. Located outside of Fredericksburg in the heart of Texas Hill Country, this bulge of granite was created by underground magma flows, pushing the earth up. Time and erosion peeled off the dirt, leaving a granite dome sticking more than 400 feet above the surrounding countryside.
While you can take the short summit hike and head straight up to the top of the dome, the longer, 4-mile, loop trail gives you a better feel for uniqueness of this state park. Before climbing to the top, pass through stands of mesquite trees and across boulder fields as you circumnavigate the granite dome. Go through Echo Canyon and finally make your way up to the top of the rock. From the top, the 360-degree views of the Hill Country are especially beautiful at sunset. During the summer, vernal pools in rock crevices and depression hold tiny, translucent, fresh-water shrimp, called fairy shrimp. If you stay after the sun sets, listen as the heated rocks cools down and crackles when the temperature changes.