Texas, the second-largest state in the USA, has 12 nationally safeguarded regions, two national parks, and 80 state parks & recreation zones. Therefore, you can explore these leading outdoor locations by hiking.
Are you new to hiking or want to hike with your toddler? Are you searching for a brand-new trail to discover? This article has your back! We have added the top 8 family-friendly hiking trails in Texas for an active vacation.
Some paths pass through secluded canyons and mountains near the state’s boundaries, while others are only a few kilometers from a major city’s center. Some routes meander through marshes, others that weave through forests, flat paths that pass-through fields of wildflowers on grasslands and plains, and colorful, rocky desert excursions because the Lone Star State has one of the most diversified arrays of habitats in the nation.
Let’s get started with the 8 best family-friendly trails in Texas!
1. Coastline Hiking Trails
The most populated state on the US mainland is Texas, which covers an area of more than 250,000 square miles. It should therefore not be surprising that it features a variety of ecoregions, from high hills and vast grasslands to a long, swampy shoreline that ultimately reaches the Caribbean.
The Kelly Hamby Trail, located south of Galveston and close to Freeport, begins as a short, level stroll across the seaside prairie and finishes at an elevated boardwalk by the Gulf. If you’re traveling from Galveston to this hiking trail, consider taking a cruise from Galveston.
The Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge provides an assortment of treks that range from a 0.6-mile boardwalk to a 2-mile journey along the disused Missouri Pacific Railway as you move northeast up the shoreline.
2. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
This hiking trail is about an hour southeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. It surrounds walls of fossil-rich deposited rocks carved by the mighty West Texas winds and Red River. Palo Duro Canyon is the crown jewel of the park and the country’s second-largest canyon.
Lighthouse Trail is one of the most renowned hiking trails in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. You can take your kiddos on this moderately-challenging 6-mile hiking trail, where you guys can notice a beacon-like rock formation. It will resemble a lighthouse, so the name is given to the Lighthouse Trail.
Are you looking for a less-challenging and hassle-free outdoor experience at Palo Duro? Try hiking the Juniper Riverside Trail with your family.
3. Monahans Sandhills State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas has 4,000 acres of property, making it a delightful undiscovered treasure that people might not consider visiting for hiking. Nevertheless, this is the ideal terrain for kids since it’s like a giant sandbox. This is more of a thrill than your usual walk.
Since there are no designated routes in this area, you can hike about and discover the dunes while basing the length on the abilities of your small hikers. This walk necessitates carriers for non-walkers or early walkers because the sandy terrain can be rugged. Youngsters can navigate the dunes independently, but they may occasionally need assistance.
4. Katy Trail
It’s another best hike in Texas, which is in Dallas. The pro-hikers may mock this Katy Trail. But this route is extraordinary as it was found in the middle of the 1800s when Union Pacific laid down steel tracks joining Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Over 150 years later, businesses and a group of local dwellers modified the forsaken railroad line into a 3.5-mile, tree-lined escape from the commotions of the city.
5. McKinney Falls State Park
Although the sole state park inside Austin’s boundaries is well known to locals for its gorgeous waterfalls, it is also a hiker’s paradise. You are able to customize your experience using the three-trail system. The Homestead Trail, which leads to the remnants of Thomas McKinney’s stone dwelling and gristmill, will appeal to archaeology aficionados.
The stroller-friendly Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail are best for families with youngsters, while the less-traveled Rock Shelter Trail, covered by limestone cliffs, is better for introverts.
6. Summit Trail
Enchanted boulders emerge out of the blue from a distance as a massive pink granite boulder. You are only witnessing the summit of the mountain since this 425 feet of rock extends 62 miles beneath the earth’s outermost layer.
Arrowheads from over 10,000 years ago have been discovered on the site. Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche Indian tribes from the region employed the rock and the part around it for tribal rituals.
You’ll like that this quick ascent gives you a fresh perspective of the neighborhood, even though it’s only as long as climbing 40 floors of a skyscraper. As you ascend, you’ll see various aspects of the stone structure and how the surrounding area turns pink.
7. Big Bend National Park
When travelers need passports to traverse the non-existent lines created by humans to mark national borders, the environment creates beautiful scenery.
The Rio Grande defines the border between the United States and Mexico in southwest Texas, and the dry, cactus-filled Chihuahuan Desert continues further up the border into Parque Nacional Canon de Santa Elena and beyond.
The somewhat difficult 4.2-mile Lost Mine Trail is one of the most incredible hikes in the Chisos Mountains. It passes through lush vegetation and provides stunning vistas of the canyons below. You can walk on the Window Trail to discover the Chihuahuan Desert.
8. Caprock Canyons Upper Trail, Caprock State Park
There are about 25 kilometers of paths for wandering throughout the region. Kids consistently find it interesting to watch grassland bison roaming freely in this area.
The area will likely be covered in mesquite, cacti, junipers, thick grass, and cottonwoods. Raccoons, white-tailed deer, roadrunners, foxes, and porcupines may hide in the grass if you look hard enough.
Although the Upper Canyon route is lengthy and has a few tricky sections where you may wish to bring your young child, you can also appreciate a portion of this route by simply doing an out-and-back and turning around if you feel content.
These are the top 8 family hiking trails in Texas for an active vacation. Happy traveling!