Texas Hill Country hiking features rocky terrain with plenty of brush and cacti. This area includes the crossroads of West Texas, Central Texas and South Texas.
When Brian and I lived in San Antonio, we spent nearly every weekend exploring the state parks! We discovered our favorite trails rather quickly. However, ONE of the hikes listed below is not technically in the Hill Country, but it was too good not to include! Let me know if you can guess which one!
Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored, we paid for all the activities mentioned and all opinions are our own. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission (at no extra charge to you) if you make a purchase after clicking my link. Thank you for being a loyal reader!
Painted Rock Overlook at Garner State Park
- Old Baldy, Bridges, and Crystal Cave Loop Trail
- 3 – 4 miles, loop trail
Located in the EXTREMELY popular Garner State Park of Concan, Texas, Painted Rock Overlook is one of the first hikes Brian and I tackled in the Hill Country.
Garner State Park fills up very quickly, especially on the weekend, due to the easy access to the Frio River. Folks love tubing and camping along the river’s edge. If you plan to hike on the weekend, try to be first in line when the park opens at 8AM. You’ll probably still have to wait in a line of cars to enter the park if you come before the gates open.
Take The Bridges Trail to Painted Rock Overlook. The trail is fairly steep and can seem daunting to inexperienced hikers, however, it is short (only about a mile!) and totally worth it with the amazing views.
For an equally exciting perspective of the Frio River and of Painted Rock, we suggest you continue your hike along Bird Trail and White Rock Cave Trail to the summit of Old Baldy.
Overall, the trail is about 3 miles round trip and is rated as moderate because of the steep climbs over very rocky terrain. Be sure to wear hiking shoes and bring your poles if you have them. The perk for this hike is after all that climbing, you can dip your feet in the Frio river!
Enchanted Rock Summit Trail
- Enchanted Rock Summit Trail
- 1 – 2 miles, out and back
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is also one of the most popular parks in the Hill Country. Only a 20 minute drive outside of Fredericksburg, Texas, Enchanted Rock is a must see if you are in the area!
For more fun things to see and do in Fredericksburg, click here!
Of course, the Summit Trail is the most popular, but it’s definitely worth your time to explore the trails around the dome such as Echo Canyon Trail.
I’m not ashamed to admit that it took me a couple of times attempting the summit hike to actually finish it, haha!
The trail is exceptionally steep and if you’re a big fat chicken, like me, when it comes to heights…Well, you MIGHT have to scoot down on your bottom a few times! Also, it is VERY windy at the top, so stay steady on your feet while you’re soaking in those awesome views.
The Grotto at Lost Maples State Park
- Lost Maples East Trail Loop
- 4 – 5 miles, loop trail
This park is located in Vanderpool, Texas. Take a stroll along this Texas Hill Country hike to see some incredible fall colors! The Lost Maple trail is the most popular.
While most folks only visit Lost Maples State Natural Area in November and December, this park has a lot to offer year round!
Of course, as characteristic of Texas weather, it is quite hot until early winter. Therefore, the changing of the leaves doesn’t really occur until late November or December.
If you do decide to enjoy some classic fall foliage in the Hill Country of Texas, be aware that everyone else will be with you! Lost Maples experiences the MOST visitors at this time.
Venture off the beaten path of the Maple Trail to earn a bird’s eye view of the changing leaves from the Scenic Overlook. Then, stand in awe of the Grotto on the East Trail.
Pedernales Falls Overlook
- Pedernales Falls Trail
- 0.6 mile, out and back
Located in Johnson City, Texas, Pedernales Falls State Park is truly a gem. This is probably the shortest trail with the biggest bang! You really can’t even call it a hike, as it’s only a quarter of a mile walk to the overlook.
However, you could spend all day exploring around the waterfall and the short trails that stem from it.
Be sure to check out the falls in the spring when the flow is in full force! But, step with caution when around the falls as the rushing water is EXTREMELY powerful and you could easily slip on the smooth rock.
Canyon Rim Trail at Seminole Canyon
- Canyon Rim Trail and Rio Grande Trail Loop
- Easy to Moderate
- 11 – 12 miles, loop trail
Seminole Canyon State Park is located in Comstock, TX. In my opinion, this is the best hike in a Texas state park that we have completed.
However, this is the longest of the day hikes at about 11 miles round trip. The stunning views of the Rio Grande river and walking along the edge of the canyon make it SOOOO worth the effort!
The Canyon Rim Trail took us nearly all day, not from difficulty, but from stopping so often for photo opportunities. I stopped to ooohhh and ahhhh around every bend!
Oh yeah, did I mention we had this trail to ourselves the entire time? ‘Cause we did!
West Peak Overlook at Hill Country State Natural Area
- Wilderness and Spring Branch Trail Loop
- 5 – 6 miles, loop trail
Check out my Bandera Texas Hill Country Day Trip Guide for more adventure!
Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera, TX is one of the most underrated state parks in the Hill Country. Although, this park is primarily an equestrian haven, the hiking here is superb. Also, there is rarely anyone else on the trails! Except for the occasional four-legged friend.
West Peak Overlook is a short, but incredibly steep climb. It’s also the beginning of a lot of other trail options in the park. Continue along Spring Branch Trail to Ice Cream Hill Trail to make this an all day loop hike in the heart of the Texas Hill Country!
What are your favorite state parks in Texas? Let me know in the comments section below!
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