The Best Outdoor Activities in Texas

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Hike to the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon

Texas / Lighthouse Trailhead

Palo Duro Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Texas and the Lighthouse is one of the most unique geological formations found there.

Korey Taylor
416 Saves

Explore Dinosaur Tracks in Leander

Texas / South Fork San Gabriel River

About a half mile west from the Hwy 183 bridge that crosses the South Fork of the San Gabriel River lies approximately 12 dinosaur footprints embedded in the river bed.

Brooke Simmons
384 Saves

Camp at Pace Bend Park

Texas / Pace Bend Park

Pace Bend is a favorite camping and day use destination near Austin, Texas.

Brooke Simmons
383 Saves

Hike to Penitentiary Hollow via Red Waterfront Trail

Texas / Lake Mineral Wells State Park Entrance

Lake Mineral Wells is one of the closest state parks in the area located less than an hour and a half from Dallas and only 45 minutes from Fort Worth.

Korey Taylor
373 Saves

Hike to Cattail Falls

Texas / Cattail Falls Parking Area

Head south on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in Big Bend. Just after mile marker 3, you will see signs for the Sam Nail Ranch overlook, and a small opening in the scrub brush will appear on your left.

Andrew Slaton
365 Saves

Swim in Barton Springs Pool

Texas / Barton Springs

Barton Springs Pool is a historical staple in the city of Austin. Located within Zilker Park, the location is easy to find and even has easy accessible parking.

Sarah Vaughn
363 Saves

Hike Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend

Texas / Santa Elena Canyon Parking Area

Santa Elena Canyon is one of the crown jewels of Big Bend National Park, and something you surely don't want to miss if you pay the park a visit.

Sarah Vaughn
355 Saves

Explore Galveston Island State Park

Texas / Freshwater Pond Loop

Galveston Island State Park is one of the several state parks in Texas offering coastline to the Gulf of Mexico.

Sarah Vaughn
338 Saves

Hike through St. Edwards Park

Texas / St. Edwards Trail


Brooke Simmons
321 Saves

Kayak at Guadalupe River State Park

Texas / Guadalupe River State Park

Once you enter Guadalupe River State Park, be sure to grab a map of the park as the roads can be a little confusing.

Reghan Gillman
319 Saves

Hike the Window Trail in Big Bend

Texas / Chios Basin Campground

The Window Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bend National Park.

Chris Mongeau
298 Saves

Stargaze at Fort Griffin

Texas / Fort Griffin State Historic Site

Witness the Milky Way in all of it's glory at Fort Griffin State Historic Site.

Korey Taylor
291 Saves

Hike through the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Texas / Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a free, fantastic get-away for a quick dose of the outdoors in the middle of the busy city.

Dan Toups
277 Saves

Hike to the Boquillas Hot Springs

Texas / Hot Springs Historic Trailhead

The Boquillas Hot Springs are the most famous of geothermal hot springs along the big bend of the Rio Grande River. The springs were originally built into a bathhouse by J.O.

Korey Taylor
275 Saves

Backpack the Chisos Mountains

Texas / Laguna Meadows Trailhead

Most people don’t know that there are 8,000-foot peaks in Texas, but in the exceptionally remote southwest corner of the Lone Star State, Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Mountains soar high over the .

Nick Lake
269 Saves

Explore White Rock Lake

Texas / White Rock Lake Parking Lot

White Rock Lake is the crown jewel of Dallas. It includes a 9.3 mile loop trail that is available for hikers, bikers, and walkers.

Korey Taylor
264 Saves

Hike through the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Texas / Wild Basin Parking Area

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is managed as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and consists of 227 acres of beautiful Hill Country woodlands owned jointly by Travis County (164.

Taylor Klugman
252 Saves

Hike Big Bend's Emory Peak

Texas / Emory Peak Trailhead

The hike to Emory Peak zig-zags up the face of the mountain, and only when you reach the peak do you get the full, 360 view of Big Bend National Park. Trust me, it's gorgeous.

Warren Goh
248 Saves

Paddle on Lady Bird Lake in Austin

Texas / Lady Bird Lake Austin Texas

Getting There: Lady Bird Lake is located just South of Downtown Austin. One of many ways to access Lady Bird Lake is from Zilker Metropolitan Park and Barton Springs Pool.

Zachary Heiliger
246 Saves

Camping at Caprock Canyon State Park

Texas / Caprock Canyon Campground Trailhead

Caprock Canyon State Park is equipped with two primitive campgrounds: North Prong and South Prong. These campgrounds are equipped with pit toilets as seen in the above photos.

Suril Patel
242 Saves

Discover Dinosaur Tracks along Blue Hole Trail

Texas / Dinosaur Valley State Park Entrance

Dinosaur Valley is located in the small town of Glen Rose about an hour and a half Southwest of Dallas.

Korey Taylor
241 Saves

Climb Guadalupe Peak

Texas / Guadalupe Peak Trail Visitors Center

It's na 8.5 mile round trip that has an elevation gain of over 3000 ft. The trail is a lot of switch backs which help you gain that 3000 ft very quickly. The first 1.

Tim Holland
231 Saves

Hike Among the Gators in Brazos Bend

Texas / 40-Acre Lake Trailhead, Brazos Bend SP

Looking for the chance to get up close and personal with some American Alligators? Brazos Bend will do just that and more.

Dan Casioppo
215 Saves

Hike to West Peak

Texas / Spring Branch Trailhead

West Peak is situated in the beautiful Hill Country State Natural Area which is located near the popular Lost Maples and Garner state parks.

Korey Taylor
208 Saves

Hike Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend

Texas / Boquillas Canyon Trailhead

Boquillas Canyon is one of the longest and most beautiful canyons Big Bend has to offer. To get here you will head towards Rio Grande Village from the park's headquarters at Panther Junction.

Sarah Vaughn
205 Saves

Primitive Camp at Moss Lake

Texas / Enchanted Rock Loop Trailhead

Enchanted Rock is one of the most popular destinations in Texas, but if you want to enhance your experience at this treasured site, I suggested primitive camping at Moss Lake.

Korey Taylor
203 Saves

Hike to McKittrick Ridge Campground

Texas / McKittrick Canyon Trailhead

This hike is not for the faint of heart or the out of shape.

Andrew Miller
190 Saves

Camp at Huntsville State Park

Texas / Huntsville State Park Campground

Note: The lake camping photo is of a Huntsville State Park sanctioned campsite. Huntsville State Park is located about an hour north of Houston off of I-45.

Laura Irizarry
184 Saves

Feed Exotic Wildlife at Fossil Rim

Texas / Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center started it's journey about 30 years ago when a few passionate conservationists took it upon themselves to start a fight to save many endangered species.

Korey Taylor
175 Saves

Camp at Nugent Mountain

Texas / Nugent Mountain Primitive Campsite

Nugent Mountain is a very handsome butte and Big Bend is a great place to go get some splendid desert solitude and recharge your good vibes.

Andrew Slaton
173 Saves

Camp out at Four Sisters Ranch Cabin

Texas / Four Sisters Ranch Cabin

If you're looking for a beautiful secluded cabin to camp in the Texas Hill Country make sure to check out Four Sisters Ranch Cabin.

Korey Taylor
167 Saves

Photograph Pennybacker Bridge (Austin 360 Bridge)

Texas / Pennybacker Bridge (Austin 360 Bridge)

If you're looking for excellent views of hill country, the skyline, or just an awesome place to watch the sunset this is the place to be.

Ross Kyker
165 Saves

Adventure at Krause Springs

Texas / Krause Springs

Spend the day swimming and exploring or stay the night and see everything this privately owned park has to offer! From the spring fed concrete pool, to natural spring fed swimming hole, waterfall, bu.

Ross Kyker
158 Saves

Hike to Crockett Gardens and Falls

Texas / Cedar Breaks Park

This is a 5.8 mile out-and-back trail snaking along the banks of Lake Georgetown. The trailhead is located in Cedar Breaks Park.

Amanda Webb
153 Saves

Catch a Sunrise over Lake Raven

Texas / Huntsville State Park

Huntsville State Park's 250 acre Raven Lake is a perfect spot for catching a sunrise. Watch for Egrets along the shoreline while enjoying the solitude of the early morning hour.

Lisa Groene
139 Saves

Swim and Relax at Common's Ford Ranch

Texas / Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park

Commons Ford is a lakefront park offering a boathouse that can be reserved, fishing, volleyball net and picnicking.

Brooke Simmons
137 Saves

Canoe or Kayak the Medina River

Texas / Medina City Park

Start at the river crossing of Patterson Avenue in the town of Medina, Texas. From here, you have several take out options which can be seen in the map pictured above (spots marked by "x").

Kyle Obermann
133 Saves

Hike Pine Ridge Overlook

Texas / McKinney Roughs

Pine Ridge Overlook is one of the longest hikes at McKinney Roughs Nature Area offering 2.7 miles through piney woods that overlook valleys and offer glimpses of the Colorado River.

Brooke Simmons
132 Saves

Camp at Dinosaur Valley State Park

Texas / Cedar Brake Outer Loop Trailhead

Starting at the Cedar Brake Outer Loop trailhead, leave your car and toss your pack on your back.

Lauren Bonczek
132 Saves

Relax at Klyde Warren Park

Texas / Kylde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park spans 5.2 acres over the Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown Dallas and is a great place to spend an afternoon or Saturday.

Korey Taylor
130 Saves

Explore Buffalo Bayou Park

Texas / Buffalo Bayou

Boasting 160 acres, Buffalo Bayou is a common go-to destination for some relaxation and recreation for local Houstonians.

Sarah Vaughn
129 Saves

Hike Sugarloaf Mountain, Texas

Texas / Sugarloaf Mountain, Texas

Being surrounded by plains, it's nice to get away every once in awhile. Sadly, you would have to drive pretty far to get to a nice hike.

Hunter Hausman
128 Saves

Camp at Kelly's Pond, Sam Houston National Forest

Texas / Kellys Pond Campground

Kelly's Pond is a primitive camping area off the beaten path with no potable water or electricity.

Glen Jarrett
124 Saves

Visit the Cathedral of Junk

Texas / Cathedral of Junk

The Cathedral of Junk is a hidden gem within the Austin City Limits, actually located in the Artists backyard.

Ross Kyker
120 Saves

Paddle Guadalupe River at Berghiem

Texas / Bergheim Campgrounds

Drive up to Bergheim Campgrounds located at 103 White Water Rd Boerne, TX 78006 for a safe place to park your vehicles.

Sam Mauldin
112 Saves

Hike to the Upper Guale Mesa in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Texas / Rancherias West Trailhead

Big Bend Ranch State Park is certainly one of Texas most beautiful "hidden" gems. Boasting over 300,000 acres of wild, rugged high desert terrain, this park is an explorers paradise.

Andrew Miller
102 Saves

Hike the Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail

Texas / Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail

Park in the lot off of Lakewood Drive (see map) to access the trail. This trail is good for all skill levels and is dog-friendly.  Photos: BrandonLord, James Lavin 

Hike through Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

Texas / Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

Spend all day wandering the endless fields of bluebonnets above the banks of the Colorado River in this hill country oasis.

Amanda Webb
99 Saves

Bike through Iconic Graffiti Landmarks in Austin

Texas / Austin Graffiti Tour

You don't have to rent a bike but it's the "Austin" thing to do.

Ross Kyker
99 Saves

Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park

Texas / North Mountain Parking Lot

Hueco Tanks is comprised of 3 mountains and 1 spur (a lateral offshoot of a mountain). North Mountain has the most dense bouldering but access requires a reservation.

Sarah Williams
91 Saves

Swim at Hippie Hollow

Texas / Hippie Hollow Park

Park in the parking lot and head to Hippie Hollow, a nude-friendly section on the Lake Travis shoreline just 20 minutes from downtown. Must be 18 or older to enter.

Walk the Katy Trail

Texas / Katy Trail Parking

The Katy Trail cuts through the busy downtown Dallas area and offers the perfect way to get away for a lunch break or afternoon walk.

Korey Taylor
89 Saves

Hike Palo Duro Canyon's Rock Garden Trail

Texas / Rock Garden Trailhead

Of all the trails in Palo Duro Canyon, the Rock Garden is arguably the most challenging, the most strenuous, and – not coincidentally – rewards hikers with the best views of the canyon.

Greg Christensen
88 Saves

Watch the Sunrise at Cadillac Ranch

Texas / Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch isn't actually a ranch but an art installation and sculpture that was installed in 1974 by a group called Ant Farm.

Korey Taylor
78 Saves

Hike Cedar Flats Trail at Eisenhower Park

Texas / Cedar Flats Trailhead

Eisenhower Park is located on the north side of San Antonio, outside of loop 1604.

Lauren Bonczek
76 Saves

Catch a Sunset on the Window View Trail

Texas / Window View Trailhead

If you're staying at Chisos Basin, the sunset at Window View Trail is one to see. The Window View Trail is a paved, wheelchair-accessible, 0.

Matthew Chang
68 Saves

Swim at Rio Vista Waterfall

Texas / Rio Vista Waterfall

Located about an hour north of San Antonio. The San Marcos River at Rio Vista Park in San Marcos, a short drive off from I-35.

Dave Cavanaugh
68 Saves

Camp at Lake Somerville: Nail's Creek

Texas / Lake Somerville State Park

Lake Somerville State Park has two portions you can visit, Nails Creek on the South side of the lake, and Birch Creek located on the North side of the lake.

Sarah Vaughn
67 Saves

Paddle the Guadalupe River at Sisterdale

Texas / Sisterdale General Store

Take the short drive up to the friendly little town of Sisterdale to find the General Store. Here you can safely leave your vehicle, rent kayaks and arrange shuttles for your trip of choice.

Sam Mauldin
64 Saves

Hike Sister Groves Trail

Texas / Sister Groves

The parking area contains ample parking, bathrooms and covered picnic tables.

Dan Toups
61 Saves

Primitive Camp at Lost Maples State Natural Area

Texas / West Trailhead, Lost Maples State Natural Area

Start at the day use overflow parking lot, there is a picnic area and a paved road will lead you to the trailhead for the  East and West Trail Loops.

Lauren Bonczek
61 Saves

Camp on Padre Island National Seashore's North Beach

Texas / Malaquite Visitor Center

The largest undeveloped barrier island on Earth, the seashore is more than 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches. Drive over 60 miles along the beach to choose the perfect camping spot.

Amanda Webb
59 Saves

Hike the Vista Loop at Friedrich Wilderness Park

Texas / Friedrich Wilderness Park

Just north of 1604, off I10 is Friedrich Wilderness Park.

Lauren Bonczek
57 Saves

Mountain Bike at Erwin Park

Texas / 4300 County Road 1006, Mckinney, Texas 75071

Erwin Park is a single-track loop system designed for mountain biking which has drawn interest from trail runners and hikers, as there are tight turns, fast downhills, and technical sections of stack.

Dan Toups
57 Saves

Hike the Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch SP

Texas / Closed Canyon Trail

There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and a covered picnic table. The hike is mostly flat, but some big rock negotiation is necessary.

Helen Yoon
55 Saves

Rock Climb at Gus Fruh

Texas / Gus Fruh

NOTICE: For this activity it is necessary to have someone with lead climbing and belaying expertise. There is a wide range of difficulties on the routes.

David Duyker
44 Saves

Summit El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountain NP

Texas / Guadalupe Peak Trailhead

The route to the summit of El Capitan starts from the Guadalupe Peak trail some 300ft below the summit where you can first see the full vista of El Capitan stretching out before you.

Kyle Obermann
42 Saves

Bike the Salado Creek Trail System

Texas / Salado Creek Trail System

This beautiful bike trail exists in the middle of San Antonio,  and is an offshoot of the Salado Creek Greenway. You can start this trail past the electrical tower at the north end of the greenway.

Lauren Bonczek
41 Saves

Hike the Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Texas / Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Park in the big lot off E Little Elm Trail Road (see map) to access the trailhead. Trail is accessible year round and is dog-friendly.  Photos: Knowsphotos, Texas Tongs, Drew Kolb

Hike Crockett Gardens and Falls

Texas / Crockett Gardens and Falls

Park in the circle off of Cedar Breaks Park Rd. (see map) to access the trail). There is some difficult terrain so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. Trail is accessible year-round.

Hike the Purgatory Creek Natural Area

Texas / Purgatory Creek Natural Area

Park in the dirt lot off of Hunter Road (see map) to access the trail. Trail is open year round and is dog-friendly.  Photos: amboo who?, Rafael Marquez, bendini

Scuba Dive Balmorhea State Park

Texas / Balmorhea Lake and Balmorhea State Park

Texas has a wonderful state park system, and Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is no exception.

Lauren Bonczek
36 Saves

Hike the Gypsum Sand Dunes, Guadalupe Mountains NP

Texas / Williams Road Gate

To get there, first talk to park ranger at the Pine Springs Visitor Center. There is a gate that you may need to borrow a key for.

Kyle Obermann
35 Saves

Swim at Overlook Park, Canyon Lake

Texas / Canyon Lake

Set your directions for Overlook Park. A short trail will guide you down the rocky slopes to get to the main beach.

Lauren Bonczek
35 Saves

Camp & Mountain Bike at Flat Rock Ranch

Texas / Flat Rock Ranch, Texas

About 45 miles northwest of San Antonio is Flat Rock Ranch. The ranch has 1300 rugged acres that have been in the same family for over 100 years.

Jess Curren
35 Saves

Hike the Wild Basin Trail

Texas / Wild Basin Trail

Park at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (see map) to access the trail. Good for families or to visit alone.  Photos: Matthew Peoples, Ivers McGraw, Kelly Bolinger

Hike the Mud Creek Loop at McAllister Park

Texas / Mud Creek Loop Trailhead

I love McAllister Park. Sure it can get a little stinky after the torrential Texas rains sweep through, but on a clear, dry day you can always find a new and LOVELY trail.

Lauren Bonczek
30 Saves

Hike the Winters Bayou Trail

Texas / Winters Bayou Trail

The trailhead is located off of 1725 (see map). This trail is a point-to-point so if you plan to do the whole thing be sure to plan transportation accordingly. Trail is accessible year-round.

Hike or Bike the Lake Bryan Trail

Texas / Lake Bryan Trail

Park in the lot off of P4-746 (see map) to access the trail). You need $5 to access the lake trails.  Photos: Teddy Wilson, Mohamad Afif Izdihar Jais

Hike through the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Texas / Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

The Arboretum is a 155 acre nature sanctuary located within Memorial Park, about 6 miles from downtown Houston.

Hike the Lake Somerville Trail

Texas / Lake Somerville Trail

Park in the lot off of State Park Road 57 to access the trail. This trail is accessible from February to November, great for all skill levels and is dog-friendly.

Hike the Edith L Moore Nature Sanctuary Trail

Texas / Edith L Moore Nature Sanctuary Trail

Park at the Houston Audubon Society (see map) to access the trail. Great place for birding and wildlife viewing. This trail is accessible from 7am-7pm and is good for all skill levels.

Hike Double Lake Hiking Trail

Texas / Double Lake Hiking Trail

Trail is off of F R Road (see map). Moderate trail that is shared by hikers and bikers. Be sure to bring cash for the land fee.  Photos: US Forest Service - Southern Region

Hike the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend NP

Texas / Lost Mine Trail

If you are looking for expansive views of the Chisos Basin in Big Bend NP, the Lost Mine and South Rim Trails are MUST do's!  The South Rim Trail is a much longer 12+ mile hike (best views in park) w.

Sarah Levant
17 Saves

Hike Ore Terminal Trail

Texas / The Ore Terminal Trailhead

Before I describe this trail, what season are you hiking? If summer, stop reading now and find another hike. Not summer? Okay, great, let's get started.

Marilla Havens
15 Saves

Hike Loblolly Loop Trail to Chocolate Bayou

Texas / Camp Mohawk Parking

Southeast of Houston is flat. It's damp, lots of bugs, not the place many visitors think of as having outdoor recreation opportunities.

Nathaniel Carter
14 Saves

Sand Surf Down Monahans Sandhills

Texas / Monahans Sandhills State Park

The Monahans Sandhills are a surprise. They aren't as big as Great Sand Dunes National Park, but they are still fun for an afternoon or weekend adventure.

Hillary + Matt
12 Saves

Run the Gordon Lake (AKA Duck Lake) Loop in Iowa Park

Texas / Gordon Lake, Iowa Park, TX

The loop around the lake is just over one mile, and is great for doing repeats.

Hike the Davis Mountains State Park Loop

Texas / Old CCC Trail Trailhead

The majority of the Davis Mountains are privately owned, but the state park is one of the few ways to access it.

Adam Hite
5 Saves

Hike the Sawmill Trail

Texas / Sawmill Hiking Trail

Park in the circle in the Boykins Springs Recreation Area (see map) to access the trail. This is a dog-friendly trail that doesn't get crowded.Photos: US Forest Service - Southern Region

Hike to Turkey Peak

Texas / Summit Trail Trailhead

There isn't an official trail to Turkey Peak, but it is one of the best views in the park. This is no easy climb, so be prepared to be sweating!From the parking lot head towards the Gazebo.

Adam Hite
4 Saves

Hike to North Franklin Peak

Texas / Franklin Mountain Peak Trailhead

El Paso is a sprawling city that is remarkably split by the Franklin Mountains.

Bryan Young
2 Saves

Hike the Upper Sunset Trail at Franklin Mountains SP

Texas / Upper Sunset Trailhead

The trick to this view is that the park gate closes at 5 pm. Therefore you have two options:  Park at the entrance of the park (outside of the gate) and hike into the park.

Bryan Young
2 Saves

Hike the Lost Maples West Trail Loop

Texas / Lost Maples West Trail Loop

Park in the designated area along Can Creek (see map) to access the trail. Acessible year-round and dog friendly!Photos: mlhradio, Knowsphotos