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9 Parks with Heavenly Hikes

Memorable hikes in Texas state parks.

By Dale Blasingame



There's nothing better than a brisk walk through the trees or in the mountains - or anywhere outdoors, really. It's just you and nature (and plenty of drinking water).


Huntsville State Park

A short drive north of Houston, towering East Texas pines shade the trails around the lake, offering occasional spectacular views of the water. Hikers share the hilly trail with dogs on leashes and mountain bikers.

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Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site

Halfway between San Antonio and Big Bend, Seminole Canyon offers fantastic independent and guided hiking. Miles of trails offer stunning views of the canyon and the Rio Grande; frequent guided hiking tours take you out to ancient rock art sites.

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Franklin Mountains State Park

One hundred miles of rugged desert trails can be found at this park within El Paso's city limits. Try the ridgeline of the Franklins, a difficult hike with spectacular views of El Paso and the Chihuahuan Desert.

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Caprock Canyon State Park & Trailways

The Upper Canyon Trail is one of my favorites, but be ready for people asking for guidance because of the rugged terrain. Stop at Fern Cave on the way up for a breather before the final steep ascent.

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Tyler State Park

If asked for the least challenging yet prettiest trail in Texas, I'd nominate Tyler's Whipering Pines Nature Trail. It's only .67 miles round-trip, but you get a taste of everything - pine trees, beautiful bridges and (small) waterfalls.


Garner State Park

One of Texas' most popular parks contains two of Texas' most popular hikes - the Old Baldy Trail and the Crystal Cave Trail. The view of the Frio River is worth the steep climb; jump in the chilly water after you descend.

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Colorado Bend State Park

The rocky hike to Gorman Falls isn't long (1.1 miles), but it's challenging, with a steep drop-off right before the 60-foot travertine waterfall. The Spicewood Springs Trail is a Hill Country gem, taking hikers along waterfalls and pools.


Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

The quintessential Texas trek up the Summit Trail to Enchanted Rock is less than a mile long, but it's a lung-pumper because of the steep ascent. Seven other trails offer different, picturesque perspectives of the famed pink granite dome.

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Lost Maples State Natural Area

There's no better place to marvel at the Hill Country's fall foliage than from atop the cliff on the East Trail. From there, the treetops look like spilled red and orange cotton balls. Watch out on the steep hike down.

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