May 14, 2020 5 min read

We've been trekkin' around Texas for quite some time now and think we have a fairly solid scope on what the Lone Star State has to offer. Technically, hiking in Texas is year-round; however, natives know the summer time Texas heat is a whole different beast. Nonetheless, the sunshine rays and heat can't keep us off the trails.
Pro-tip from us to you, start early to avoid crowds and the heat while you can. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance as park passes must be purchased online prior to arrival. Spots fill up QUICK, especially for popular parks, and you will likely need to book your reservation 1-2 weeks in advance. With that being said, these parks are worth the anticipated wait along with many others that didn't make it onto the list. Here are our top 10 favorite Texas state parks to explore any time of the year!
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1. Guadalupe River State Park

A quick jaunt away from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio, Guadalupe River State Park is a sweet escape into riverside peace and quiet. Whatever action or calm you're seeking, this park has you covered. Hike the miles and miles of trails, or head straight to the river to hang your hammock among the trees. Shady riverside trails are a sanctuary from the scorching summer heat and the sight of draping branches over the river never fail to mesmerize us.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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2. Palmetto State Park

A little less well known than some of the other parks on this list, Palmetto feels like a step into another world. Trails surrounded by an abundance of dwarf palmettos, hence the name of the park, help to create a sort of oasis feeling no other park nearby can provide. The trails are decently shaded which, like Guadalupe, is greatly appreciated during the summer months. Not only is there hiking, but also tubing, fishing, swimming, and canoeing - fun for the whole family!
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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3. Garner State Park

One of the more popular state parks, and for good reason, Garner is the perfect park to visit for all your hiking and water-relaxing needs. The Frio river cuts right through the land and is perfect for a refreshing swim or an adventurous paddle board excursion. Miles and miles of interconnected trails are perfect for hiking and trail running. Be sure to hike to the top Old Baldy Summit for a breathtaking scenic overlook of the windy Frio river below, and the expansive hill country stretching far and wide.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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4. Colorado Bend State Park

A waterfall paradise nestled in Texas? Yep, Colorado Bend offers just that. Cool off beneath Gorman Falls, go fishing, log in some miles while hiking, and even take a cave tour. Two hours northwest of Austin, Colorado Bend is the perfect day trip from the lively city life. With over 35 miles of trails to explore and a cave tour that will get you down and dirty with the earth, this park offers activities for everyone.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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5. Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls is the perfect escape for fresh water fun, as well as to relax and recharge. Enjoy watching the rapids of the Pedernales river while swinging in the comfort of your hammock, hike the trails along and around the river, or take a refreshing dip in the water. The fun doesn't stop at hiking and swimming though, the park also offers horse riding, mountain biking, tubing, fishing, and much more.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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6. Enchanted Rock State Park

Enchanted Rock is no hidden gem as nearly every native Texan knows of, or has visited for themselves. We'll let you in on our little secret: the hike around the rock is far less busy and offers beautiful views of the many perspectives. From the backside, you can watch as climbers test their abilities. Maybe even take a leap of faith for yourself and try some amateur bouldering for the fun of it on some of the nearby rocks. At the end of your trek, take the quick detour up the rock itself if you so wish to take in the breathtaking view from up top. For the curious adventurer, there's even an epic cave within the rock to explore.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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7. Lost Maples State Park

Lost Maples is hand-down a fall time favorite during the cool months. Though it's beautiful year-round, the maple trees along the Sabinal river transform from green into shades of red, yellow, and orange throughout the narrow window of October and November. The Lost Maples park staff does a wonderful job updating the fall foliage status on the official park website, so you can plan for the best time to visit and catch the stunning colors. With over 10 miles of trails including multiple scenic overlooks, Lost Maples is absolutely a must-see.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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8. Caddo Lake State Park 

Nearby the Louisiana border, Caddo lake feels more like Louisiana marsh land than much of the dry Texas land known by most. Despite there being minimal trails, the stunning reflections of the Spanish moss looming above the lake make the visit will worth it. Canoe and fish through the bayous while gazing into reflections as far as the eye can see. This east Texas treasure is like no other in the state and is well worth the visit.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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9. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon, similar to more well-known Texas national parks such as Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountain, offers breathtaking views of towering rocks and sweeping desert landscapes. Nestled in the heart of the Texas panhandle and just 30 minutes from Amarillo, this park is actually the second-largest canyon in the U.S.! If that isn't incentive enough to check out this park, then perhaps exploring the 30 miles of trails will provide the desert escape you're looking for.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.
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10. McKinney Falls State Park

Located nearby ever-popular Austin, Texas, McKinney Falls is the peaceful escape every city-dweller seeks from time to time. Follow along gently flowing Onion Creek (much more appealing than its name makes it out to be) as it passes of limestone rocks perfect for laying down a picnic and enjoying the natural sights and sounds. Opportunities such as hiking, bouldering, mountain and road biking, make this spot the perfect place for adventure seekers of all types.
For park information click here.
Check out the trail map.


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