Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Day Hiking

By Nicolette Ledbury

In Texas, getting outside for a day hike can transport you to a wide array of fantastic destinations: waterfalls, wetlands, canyons and mountains.

Hiking allows you to reconnect with nature and get a little exercise, too. It can make you happier and healthier, providing your body with active benefits and nourishing your imagination and your sense of adventure. Plus, it can be enjoyed by people of varying ages and abilities. Hiking can be as easy as strolling across a meadow or as difficult as climbing a mountain.

For me, there are few more rewarding activities than putting one foot in front of the other on an excursion into a Texas park.

Recently I ventured out on a hike through Pedernales Falls State Park. The river was flowing swiftly as I hopped from one boulder to the next, searching out wildlife and trying to find the best view of the falls. In one magical half-day journey I encountered ducks, horses, rabbits, catfish and even an armadillo. My day hike transformed my ordinary weekend at home into an unforgettable experience outside.

Quick Tips

Daypack fit: Make sure your pack fits properly. Most outdoor stores will have experts to help you find the perfect pack for your body type and back size.

Check the weather: Hot or cold temperatures can greatly affect your hike. Keep an eye on the weather and prepare by bringing layered clothing, rain gear and extra water on days with extreme weather conditions.

Start early: The best time to spot wildlife is in the early morning and late evening. The cooler temperatures mean animals are more likely to move about freely along the trails.

Bring friends: Beginning a new hobby such as day hiking can be intimidating. Bring a friend or two along in case of emergency situations, and also for the fun of sharing outdoor experiences.

Share your itinerary: Tell a friend or family member where you are going. Include what trails you’ll hike, your companions’ names and when you’ll start and finish.

Know your limitations: Call ahead to review your itinerary with park staff to ensure your route is reasonable and clear of hazards. Consider your skill level and the difficulty of the terrain.


Hiking Essentials
•        Hiking boots
•        Sunscreen
•        Sunglasses
•        Compass
•        Waterproof map
•        Multitool
•        Snacks
•        Hydration pack or water bottle
•        Bug spray
•        Rain gear
•        Cellphone

In Case of Emergency
•        Headlamp or flashlight
•        Matches
•        Emergency blanket
•        Fire starter
•        Warm clothing
•        First aid supplies

Bonus Items
•        Texas wildlife ID book
•        Hammock
•        Binoculars
•        Camera

  • Where to Go

  • Colorado Bend State Park Bend
  • Pedernales Falls State Park Johnson City
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Fredericksburg
  • Davis Mountains State Park Fort Davis
  • Martin Dies Jr. State Park Jasper
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park Canyon


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