One goal we had as a family this year was to camp and hike more. As the boys are getting older, it’s becoming easier to do more active things as a family. The Baby will always be the baby – but truth be told, he’ll be three-years-old soon and he can nearly keep up with his brother. That’s what happens when you’re the younger child, huh?
I plan on us getting one more camping trip in before the weather is completely sweltering, and decided to choose based on the hiking trails.
While some of these options are just too far for us this year (looking at you Big Bend), I thought I’d share the information I found in case some other Texans were looking for a good place to get out in nature with your family.
Hiking Trails in Texas
I know, I know. You don’t automatically think “hiking” when you think Texas. You think of the Alamo, sure, but hiking? Y’all. Hiking is a popular thing down here. You should totally check out each of these trails.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is full of hiking trails to explore and adventure. The unique thing about this park is that you can find all different types of hikes here. No matter what your experience level and no matter what type of hike you prefer, Big Bend has it. From desert hikes to mountain hikes and even trails along the river. Plus, with some easy trails starting at just over a quarter-mile, this would be the perfect place to get a hiking habit started with little ones.
Pedernales Falls State Park
If you like waterfall hikes, you will love Pedernales Falls State Park. While the falls themselves are on the smaller side, they are a beautiful sight. You will find 7 trails here ranging from about one-half mile to almost 9 miles. Hikers of all skill levels will find a trail perfect for them.
Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the home of the 2nd largest canyon in the United States. If you plan to hike it, you have the ability to choose from 13 different trails (some of these are equestrian trails as well) ranging from easy to difficult and varying in length from .5 to 4 miles. Many people have likened the hikes here to that of the Grand Canyon because of the similar landscape. While the Grand Canyon is much larger in size, the views you’ll find here will still take your breath away!
McKinney Roughs Nature Park
The McKinney Roughs Nature Park features close to 18 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. These trails are great for bird watching and seeing other wildlife as well. They even have ADA accessible trails! If you’re curious as to which trails would work best for you and your hiking group, they have a visitors center where employees will be happy to give you some suggestions.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
If you are a fan of beautiful views and wildlife, the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is the place for you! This wildlife refuge offers more than 8 miles of mostly easy trails for you to explore and check out the scenic views and wildlife all around you. From a trail that leads to panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country, to a creekside trail, as well as forested trails, you’re sure to find a trail perfect for you.
Hiking With Kids
Hiking is awesome. You’re in nature, you’re…with two whiny kids who just want to go home. Or don’t want to walk anymore. Or need a sip of water for the 3,457th time.
Hiking with kids can be challenging…but also super rewarding if you do it right. We’ve just started to venture out with our littles (school aged and a toddler), and have found that doing a few things strategically have worked out very well:
- Hit the trail early. Many children will be the definition of done by noon, so plan on starting around breakfast.
- Choose your trail according to your youngest’s abilities. You don’t want to be scaling huge boulders or worrying about a steep drop off if you’ve got a toddler.
- Pack more water than you think you’ll need. Kids drink a LOT when they’re hiking.
- Look for a scenic view. Rest stops are your friend.
- Scout ahead. If possible, check out the trail before hand without the kids so that you are familiar with the terrain and any potential issues. You can also scope out the best rest stops ahead of time.
That’s it!! Whether you live in Texas like me or you plan on visiting soon, there are many trails for you to explore and fall in love with. Which one will you explore first?