Skip to Content

Top 10 Best Hikes in Texas | Ultimate Guide

Looking for the best hikes in Texas? Jake and I spent a whole month exploring Texas and found some gems in the state. We often find ourselves immersed between tall canyon walls or up on mountain peaks, so we did a little scouting of our own for exactly that. Therefore, we feel like we found some awesome places to hike all around the large state of Texas. Let’s dive into the top 10 best hikes in Texas ultimate guide. 

Hamilton Pool:

Hamilton's Pool Preserve a great stop along an adventurous Texas road trip

  1.8 miles – 144  ft elevation 

Hamilton Pool is by far one of the coolest attractions in Texas. The aqua blue-green water with a carved-out rockwall is surely a beautiful sight. You will need a permit to access Hamilton Pool. And during the warmer months you can even swim in the pool! 

The hike down is pretty short, well maintained and easy to follow. There is a bit of elevation, so the climb out is more challenging but relatively moderate. But once you near the aqua blue pool, you can loop around under the large rock wall which is absolutely majestic. 

Jacob’s Well:

Jacob's Well a great stop along an adventurous texas Road Trip

  .9 miles – 88 ft elevation 

Another stunning hike in the area is Jacob’s well. Again, during the summer, you are allowed to swim in the well, which can be a nice place to cool off during the hot summer sun. Jacob’s well is a perennial karstic spring. The mouth of the well is 12 feet wide and visabley descends 30 feet. But continuing downward at an angle of the well through a series of silted chambers eventually reaches 120 feet deep.

The hike out to the well is short, easy to follow and well-maintained. You can’t venture further down the creek because it is private property beyond the well. 

Santa Elena: 

A girl (Emily) standing in the Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park

 1.5 miles – 610 ft elevation 

Santa Elena is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bend National Park. The hike is short, but it quickly brings you along the Rio Grande River with the tall canyon walls towering over you as you hike along the side. The hike does have some elevation, but the trail is well maintained and easy to follow. It is advised to do this hike in the morning because during the hot summer month, it can be over 100 degrees. Toward the end of the hike it comes to an abrupt stop as the walls close in and there is no longer a trail to follow except to cross the river which isn’t advised due to the shifting sand.

For more details on this best hike in Texas check out our post: The Complete Guide To Big Bend National Park

South Rim or Emory Peak:

Mountain Views along South Rim Trail in Big Bend National Park

  12.2 miles – 2389  ft elevation 

If you want to hike a variety of legendary views in Texas, then South Rim to Emory Peak is worth the visit. It is best done as a backpacking trip because of the distance and elevation. And there are TONS of great spots to camp for the night in the area. The hike can either be done clockwise or counterclockwise depending on where you get a backpacking permit. If you do the hike as a day hike you don’t need a permit. 

For an even wider range of views within the National Park we suggest pairing South Rim with Emory Peak. You will then see tons of beautiful views along the rim as well as climbing the highest point in the park. Adding the two together is 15.2 miles with 3,185ft elevation change.

Guadalupe Peak:

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Looking at Guadalupe Peak

8.4  miles – 2952  ft elevation 

When in texas, you gotta hike the highest peak right? Guadalupe Peak is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and is the highest point in Texas. Therefore, it is a challenging hike as you are climbing straight up the whole time to the top. Be prepared for many stops along this hike. But as soon as you reach the peak it will be worth the challenge as you stand on the highest point in all of Texas. 

Ernst Tinaja:

 1 miles – 20  ft elevation 

Ernst Tinaja was probably one of our favorite hikes in all of Texas. It took us by surprise while visiting Big Bend National Park. There are layers upon layers of rock forming pools (Tinaja’s) of water. The area is very fragile, so please treat the area with respect and as always Leave No Trace. The road out to this trailhead is moreso the challenge than the hike. It’s a 4.7 mile drive down a long rocky dirt primitive road where 4×4 & high-clearance is strongly encouraged. It took Jake and I 45 minutes in our campervan. Also be sure to check the weather before traveling, as the road can become impassable during rain or snow. 

Once you reach the trailhead, then the hike is the easy part. The hike is between the canyon walls and you will absolutely know when you get there because the different rock colors are absolutely breathtaking. 

Devil’s Hall:

Devil's Hall Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

 3.6 miles – 577  ft elevation 

Devil’s Hall is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and offers some breathtaking views. The hike is more challenging because it’s rocky toward the middle section where you need to be careful of where you step. But most of the sections have a path where foot traffic has made the path relatively flat. Once you reach the last section it will come to an abrupt stop where you need to climb up a steep rock wall to continue. This is where most people end their journey. But you can continue down the canyon if you choose. We thought the steep rock wall section was pretty cool and well worth the trip. 

Gorman Falls:

 2.6 miles – 344  ft elevation 

Gorman falls is definitely more epic depending on the season. It is located in Colorado Bend State Park. Unfortunately when we visited there was only a small trickle of water, but it was still gorgeous over the green fungi. 

The hike is well marked to direct you in the right direction, but toward the end it gets a little more tricky. There are some slippery steps once you are almost at the waterfall, but there is a guard rail to help assist you. 

Once you reach the falls there is a little bench area where you can sit and enjoy the view. There is also a river flowing which can also be a nice relaxing setting for a snack before hiking back out. 

I should note the road out to the state park is pretty rough and not well maintained, so it’s advised to take it slow to avoid potholes. 

The Lighthouse:

Palo Duro State Park a great stop on an adventurous texas road trip

 5.8 miles – 521  ft elevation 

The Lighthouse hike is located in Palo Duro State Park which offers some stunning red rock landscapes. This hike is fairly easy and well maintained. There are also many benches along the way for a quick break or to take in the beautiful views. 

The end climb toward the Lighthouse is the challenge and a little harder to find. There will be a little narrow dirt path that climbs toward the top where you can climb up onto the rock ledge and view the beautiful “Lighthouse”. 

This is one of the more popular hikes in the park, so you will most likely be sharing it with other tourists, but there is a decent amount of space to sit down, enjoy the view and have a nice snack. 

Caprock Canyon Loop Trail:

Caprock Canyon State Park

 5.8 miles – 820  ft elevation 

If you are looking for some epic desert landscapes and wildlife in Texas, then Caprock Canyon State Park is the place for you. Caprock Canyon is home to hundreds of wild bison. So this definitely adds a note of caution. Be sure to keep your distance from the bison. But one of our favorite hikes in the park was the Caprock Canyon loop which offered a variety of different views. The hike starts off the towering red rock walls, then climbs up to the rim, and ends along a wash with flowing water. 

We did accidentally miss a turn on this hike, which inevitably made the hike longer, but it’s advised to follow AllTrails if you want to stick to a specific route. 

Takeaway | Best Hikes In Texas:

Texas has some great outdoor recreation to get your fill of nature. There are a variety of different hikes that range from climbing mountain summits, roaming desert landscape or to nature preserves that take your breath away. Texas is a huge state, so there is so much to see in between each hike! We hope this helps you see much of this beautiful state and you get to enjoy some of the best hikes in Texas.

Help Us Share Best Hikes In Texas On Pinterest: