With the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in bloom, spring is the perfect time to hit the trail in the Lone Star State. Here are 5 of my favorite trails in Texas that I shared on SA Living on News 4 WOAI, my tv home for 10 years in San Antonio.
Hike that’s Short, Steep and Sweet:
Garner State Park – Near Concan. It’s 1.06 miles round trip on Old Baldy so its short and steep but views worth the effort. It is a great alternative to the much more crowded Enchanted Rock. Hiking shoes or trail shoes are a good idea on this hike since it has a little over a 400-foot elevation gain in 0.53 miles. There’s slick spots and rocky areas where you could potentially slide or slip so watching your footing, especially on the way down. I led three groups up and down this trail for the Women Who Wander Outdoor Retreat. Over 100 ladies successfully summited Old Baldy!
Hike with History:
Mission Reach – Gem in San Antonio’s backyard. Total distance on the trail is 8-miles. You can add a couple more miles by starting at Alamo. You can hike or bike it. There is access to all four of the missions – Conception, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. It’s about 6.5 miles from Conception to Espada. Missions are about 2.5 miles apart so you have lots of options for mileage. Park hours are sunrise to sunset and admission is free. Missions are active churches so visit with respect including covering your shoulders and remain quiet inside.
Hike with Bird Watching Galore:
Galveston Island State Park – It is on west side of Galveston Island, which have far less tourists than the rest of the island. There are easy trails with lots of overlooks. The marsh environment is great for bird watching and fishing. For something really unique try one of their paddling trails (3 trails from 2.6 to 4.8 miles for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboard). There are several outfitters who can take you on a paddle tour.
Hike with a Splash:
Colorado Bend State Park – This lesser known state park is about 2 hours northwest of Austin. Spicewood Springs is one of best swimming holes in the Hill Country. I did the Spicewood Springs Trail down to Colorado River then back up Spicewood Canyon Trail and was treated to springs, waterfalls, the Colorado River and then canyon views on hike. Colorado Bend State Park is also home to the 70-foot spring fed Gorman Falls.
Hike to a Window:
Big Bend National Park – The Window in Big Bend National Park is the iconic hike in park and it is worth it. I did it in February with a group from San Antonio out in West Texas for Darlene’s Vision playground dedication in Terlingua. Big Bend is the only national park with an entire mountain range within its borders. On this hike you get panoramic desert vistas, towering canyon walls, traverse Oak Creek on slickrock multiple times as you hike down to the Window pour-off with a stunning view of the desert landscape. We started at the campground to make this hike slightly shorter. The return hike is uphill.
My 5 Hiking Must Haves:
Sunglasses and Hat or Bandana
Snacks or Picnic Lunch
5 Optional Items: First aid kit, camera, sandals, extra socks, wash cloth (or small clean up rag)
Extras: Walking stick or trekking poles