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San Antonio is known most famously for its bustling Riverwalk, the historic Alamo, and the surrounding missions that play an important part in Texas history. However, there are a surprising number of beautiful nature and outdoor spaces that you can explore by hiking in San Antonio. The Texas Hill Country is a wonderful playground for people who love the outdoors, especially if you enjoy the variety of desert-type landscapes, forests, and slowing waterways side by side. We created this guide to the best hikes in and near San Antonio to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

Easy Hikes in San Antonio

The San Antonio Riverwalk

  • Trail Distance: 15 miles
  • Location: Downtown San Antonio

Among San Antonio’s most famous landmarks is the San Antonio Riverwalk, which extends 15 miles down the San Antonio River. Some of the Riverwalk is quite commercialized, with lots of shops, street performers, and boats. However, most people don’t know if you escape the main stretches of the Riverwalk, you can find some really beautiful parts of the city.

One of our favorite sections of the Riverwalk is called Mission Reach, which extends through some of the historic Catholic missions in the area that date back over 250 years. Alternatively, for families or people who enjoy learning, the Museum Reach features a scenic trail near many of the city’s museums, including the San Antonio Zoo, the Art Museum, and the Witte Museum.

Photo Credit: mlhradio (Flickr CC)

Cibolo Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: Up to 3 miles
  • Location: Boerne, TX

When you arrive there, you may not think that Cibolo Nature Center fits in with the rest of the Hill Country scenery. That’s because the park features several ecosystems that all look completely different: prairie, forests, marsh areas, and savanna. You can literally explore all four of these sections in one day, along the various trails that span over 3 miles in length. For easy and education hiking near San Antonio, Cibolo Nature Center is a great choice.

Rio Medina Trail

  • Trail Distance: Up to 12.6 miles out and back
  • Location: Medina River Natural Area

South of San Antonio, you can find the Rio Medina Trail, a beautiful running, biking, and hiking trail that runs alongside a river of the same name. Lots of people come here to get away from the hectic areas of downtown and the Riverwalk, for a bit more peace and quiet. With lots of trees and shade, many local outdoor enthusiasts enjoy coming to this trail for a scenic stroll or a bike ride. There are even a few historic sites scattered around the trail that you can view, including a skeleton of an abandoned barn. Scenic, spooky, and shady, this is a great place for hiking in San Antonio for any level of hiker.

Photo Credit: Marcus Calderon (Flickr CC)

McKinney Falls State Park

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: McKinney Falls State Park

If you’re looking for a spot to go hiking in San Antonio and the surrounding areas that takes you away from the city and into a more serene environment, McKinney Falls State Park is a fabulous option. Beloved by locals for its scenic waterways and tree-lined pathways, the Homestead Trail is a fantastic starting point that’s accessible to all levels. This 3.1 mile trail takes you past waterfalls, swimming areas, and rocky outcroppings that are very picturesque. Note that there’s a $6 state park fee to enter the park area.

Photo Credit: Kelly Bollinger (Flickr CC)

Moderate & Difficult Hikes in San Antonio

Barton Creek Greenbelt

  • Distance: 13.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: Zilker Park area

As one of the most popular places for hiking in San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country, Barton Creek Greenbelt is a local favorite for a stroll through a naturally beautiful part of the city. Here, you can find lovely waterfront views, waterfalls, and colorful wildflowers during the warmer months of the year.

The trails are mostly shaded, so it’s a perfect year-round hike that will make you feel like you’re in the countryside (even though it’s just minutes away from downtown). It’s also dog-friendly so your favorite pooch can explore too! Unfortunately, sometimes the creek dries up, but the trail is still quite beautiful nonetheless.

Pro tip: On warm days, bring a swimsuit and end your hike with a dip in Barton Springs Pool.

Tower Loop

  • Trail Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Location: Comanche Lookout Park (Northeast San Antonio)

As one of the more popular hikes in San Antonio, the Tower Loop is a fun, short hike that is accessible to all levels of hikers willing to do some hiking across different kinds of terrain and rolling hills. The trail culminates in an abandoned historic tower, which was built in 1948 when the builder passed away. Today, what’s left is the stone structure and the scenic land surrounding it – perfect for photo opportunities or to admire this spooky tower.

Photo Credit: sbmeaper1 (Flickr CC)

Enchanted Rock Loop Trail

  • Trail Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Location: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock is a huge, rounded rock formation that springs up seemingly out of nowhere amidst flatter plains outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. Known for being locals’ favorite recreational areas, Enchanted Rock Loop Trail is an unforgettable spot for hiking near San Antonio.

This 5.4-mile trail takes you to the top of the rock and around the park area, where there are lots of offshoots to see spectacular views of the surrounding countryside or scramble up some of the giant boulders in the area. Note that there is a fee to enter the park, and if you’d like to go during peak season or on weekends, reservations are required.

Bandera Creek Trail

  • Trail Distance: 6.4 miles
  • Location: Hill Country State Natural Area

While it’s a bit of a mouthful, the Wilderness, Ice Cream, Spring Hill, Bandera Creek Trail (we’ll call it the Bandera Creek Trail for short) is a beautiful, 6.4-mile stretch through the Texas Hill Country. This long, moderately difficult trail boasts very scenic views of the area’s rolling hills, with plenty of uphill and downhill stretches to challenge you. Locals love that much of the trail is shady, plus the epic views you can see from the tops of the hills.

Photo Credit: satanoid (Flickr CC)

Pedernales Falls State Park

  • Trail Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Location: Johnston City

For another waterfall-esque hike that boasts beautiful views, the Pedernales Falls Loop trail is definitely worth the day trip. Situated in a hilly, rocky area, the teal blue waters and colorful wildflowers of the Pedernales Falls area are highlights of this trail. You can also take another short (0.6 mile) hike to the falls themselves, where you can climb around the rocks and explore. As this is one of the longer hikes in San Antonio, it’s a great spot for a half-day adventure with family, friends, or your dog.

Crystal Cave Trail & Bridges Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Location: Garner State Park

Although it’s a short hike, Crystal Cave Trail is one of the best hikes in San Antonio take you through classic Hill Country and allow you to explore a small cave. This hike is moderately challenging, despite its short length. The cave is located on a rocky hill, and is a small little nook that you can head into.

The real highlight of the trail lies at the top of Painted Rock Overlook, where you can catch the most beautiful hill country sunsets near San Antonio. Be prepared for a steep climb and bring good shoes with lots of traction. The path down Bridges Trail is gentler and should make for an easier descent than your uphill trek. You can see lots of wildlife and flowers in the springtime and summer.

Photo Credit: Patti (Flickr CC)

Prairie, Painted Bunting, Barred Owl, and Live Oak Trails

  • Trail Distance: 5.1 miles
  • Location: Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park is located just 45 minutes driving north of San Antonio. It offers a peaceful retreat into the colorful Texas hill country. During autumn, the leaves light up many brilliant different shades of colors. The Prairie, Painted Bunting, Barred Owl, and Live Oak trails are aptly named as they take you through a diverse ecosystem of open fields and oak forests. It’s common to see giant lizards, armadillos, and snakes on this trail. Although it’s a little bit longer, this trail is mostly flat but can be difficult if done in the middle of the summer.

Inks Lake State Park

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Location: Burnet, TX

Inks Lake State Park is a serene state park area with a glassy lake surrounded by large boulders and rock formations. The 4.4-mile loop trail around the park is a great place for hiking near San Antonio if you want to escape the crowds of Enchanted Rock or other popular hikes on this list. With trails spanning from wide, smooth terrain to narrow, rocky passages, this trail offers an accessible challenge to hikers of all levels. While the trail is quite pretty, it’s fairly exposed, so be sure to bring sun protective gear – a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen – if you plan on tackling this scenic trail.

Photo Credit: Randall Chancellor (Flickr CC)

Pace Bend Park Trail

  • Trail Distance: 11.6 miles
  • Location: Pace Bend Park

If you are looking for a longer hike, head over to Pace Bend Park. This 11 mile hiking trail is a favorite for hiking in San Antonio and Austin, and will take you through wooded, gravel paths inside a sharp bend of the Colorado River. Bring a swimsuit! Hikers can take the trek through the main trail of the park and afterwards dive into the Colorado River from the rocky cliffs. The trail itself is mostly shaded and won’t afford you many views of the river, but you can take a short detour and camp on the cliffs overlooking the river.

Tinaja and Dogleg Canyon Loop

  • Trail Distance: 6.4 miles
  • Location: Colorado Bend State Park

Although it’s further away from San Antonio, Colorado Bend State Park is a gorgeous 5,000 acre park located in prime Texas hill country. Tinaja and Dogleg Canyon Loop is a challenging trail that’ll take you up and down rocky hills overlooking the Colorado River. You’ll hike down near the river and get breathtaking views of the water. Along the path you’ll also see the entrance to Gorman Cave, but it’s unfortunately closed to the public. Armadillos are frequent visitors on the trail so get your phones and cameras ready. This is a great hike near San Antonio that offers lots of solitude.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 to 7 miles
  • Location: Lost Maples State Natural Area

Texans often complain about the lack of fall colors in the state, but Lost Maples State Natural Area is a notable exception. This beautiful area, filled with towering maple trees, blazes red and orange in the fall, and is filled with spectacular rock formations. It’s also home to two incredibly stunning trails – the East Loop and the West Loop. Both loop trails are rated as moderate, and bring hikers past large canyons, still lakes, and more. This magical state park area is a hidden gem, and while it’s 2 hours from San Antonio, it’s definitely worth the drive for an autumn day trip or weekend getaway.

Additional Resources for Hiking in San Antonio

What to Pack for Hiking in San Antonio

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links

Austin – home to the University of Texas, SXSW, Sixth Street, and those trendy “Keep Austin Weird” shirts. There are SO many reasons to love this city’s quirky and offbeat atmosphere, and the abundance of hiking trails in Austin is certainly one of them. Whether you’re an Austin local or simply visiting to see the city, hiking in Austin is a must for experiencing the beautiful nature areas the city has to offer. We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the most scenic hikes in Austin to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

A note on transportation: Austin does have tons of walkable and bike-able areas, as well as public transportation, but we’d strongly recommend renting a car or driving your own if you want to experience most of these hikes in Austin. For hiking near Austin, a car is essential.

Photo Credit: ATMTX (Flickr CC)

Most Beautiful Hikes in Austin

Mount Bonnell

  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Northwest Austin

(Okay, okay, we know that 0.5 miles is barely a “hike,” but we felt that this iconic Austin hiking trail was worth a mention!)

While it’s a very, very short trail, Mount Bonnell is one of the best (mini) hikes in Austin for the views alone. It’s also a hike you can tackle in less than an hour, so if you’re on a time crunch, it’s a nice way to spend some time outdoors and soak in the views of the Colorado River and the massive homes lining the hills nearby. While we’ve rated this hike as easy, it does begin with a staircase/incline, so be prepared to hike uphill for a little while to get to the viewpoint.

Violet Crown Trail

  • Distance: 1.8 miles (3.6 miles out and back)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Southwest Austin

The Violet Crown Trail is an urban development project in Central Texas which will eventually span 30 miles. For now, only Phase I is the only part of the trail that’s open, but construction of the rest of the trail is currently underway. While just under 2 miles of the trail are complete, this is still one of the coolest hikes in Austin, because it’s literally making history as part of Central Texas’ first regional trail system. Along the trail, you’ll find beautiful rock formations, waterfront views, and well-groomed gravel paths.

Photo Credit: notevenathing (Flickr CC)

Lady Bird Lake

  • Distance: 10 miles total (can be shortened)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Downtown Austin

Lady Bird Lake, also known as the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, is a popular running, biking, and hiking trail located just south of downtown Austin. For those visiting the city and staying downtown, Lady Bird Lake is a fantastic, wooded trail to explore some of Austin’s urban nature areas. Along this waterside trail, you’ll catch gorgeous views of the Austin skyline, lovely dirt paths surrounded by trees, and tons of locals wandering about with dogs, families, or on their own. While the full loop trail is 10 miles long, you can shorten it by crossing back into downtown on one of the many bridges spanning the Colorado River.

St. Edwards Park

  • Distance: 2.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: St. Edwards Park

The green and red trails at St. Edwards Park are a local family-friendly favorite. The park is a beautiful spot for hiking in Austin, with lovely rock formations lining the waterfront, and trees everywhere. Within the park, you’ll find several networks of trails running through wooded, rocky, and waterfront areas. Be sure to follow the arrows along the trail to stay on track!

Photo Credit: Kelly Bollinger (Flickr CC)

Barton Creek Greenbelt

  • Distance: 13.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: Zilker Park area

As one of the most popular places for hiking in Austin, Barton Creek Greenbelt is a local favorite for a stroll through a naturally beautiful part of the city. Here, you can find lovely waterfront views, waterfalls, and colorful wildflowers during the warmer months of the year.

The trails are mostly shaded, so it’s a perfect year-round hike that will make you feel like you’re in the countryside (even though it’s just minutes away from downtown). It’s also dog-friendly so your favorite pooch can explore too! Unfortunately, sometimes the creek dries up, but the trail is still quite beautiful nonetheless.

Pro tip: On warm days, bring a swimsuit and end your hike with a dip in Barton Springs Pool.

Laurel, Yaupon, Possum and Arroyo Vista Loop

  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

As one of the protected areas, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a fantastic spot for hiking in Austin. With views of the surrounding hills, small creeks, and a beautiful forested area, this is an easy trail that’s suitable for hikers of all levels. Unlike most of the trails on this list, dogs are not allowed in the preserve, so if you’d prefer a pet-free hiking area, this is a great option. Most hikers at the preserve tackle the Laurel, Yaupon, Possum, and Arroyo Vista Loop, which takes you through the park area and offers lovely views of nearby hills and forests.

Photo Credit: sbmeaper1 (Flickr CC)

Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail

  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Location: Hamilton Pool Park

Home to one of Austin’s most famous natural landmarks, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a beautiful, short hike that brings you to a unique and beautiful swimming hole in Austin. With its teal waters, beautiful cave-like rock formations, and waterfalls, the Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail really packs a punch when it comes to beautiful, picturesque hikes in Austin. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit – during the warmer months it’s definitely worth taking a dip in the water!

Note: Because of the growing popularity of this trail, you are now required to make a reservation in advance to enter the preserve. There’s an online reservation fee of $12, plus $8 per adult when you arrive on-site.

River Place Nature Trail

  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Location: Northwest Austin

For more experienced hikers looking for challenging hikes in Austin, the River Place Nature Trail is a fantastic option. With some steep inclines and descents, as well as challenging terrain throughout, this hiking trail has tons of tricky staircases and narrow pathways. There are also several cool rock formations and lakefront areas here, as well as a waterfall.

Note: There is a $10 fee to enter the River Place Nature Preserve.

Wild & Breathtaking Hikes Near Austin

Homestead Trail at McKinney Falls State Park

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: McKinney Falls State Park

If you’re looking for a spot to go hiking near Austin that takes you away from the city and into a more serene environment, McKinney Falls State Park is a fabulous option. Beloved by locals for its scenic waterways and tree-lined pathways, the Homestead Trail is a fantastic starting point that’s accessible to all levels. This 3.1 mile trail takes you past waterfalls, swimming areas, and rocky outcroppings that are very picturesque. Note that there’s a $6 state park fee to enter the park area.

Photo Credit: satanoid (Flickr CC)

Pedernales Falls

  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Location: Johnston City

For another waterfall-esque hike that boasts beautiful views, the Pedernales Falls Loop trail is definitely worth the day trip. Situated in a hilly, rocky area, the teal blue waters and colorful wildflowers of the Pedernales Falls area are highlights of this trail. You can also take another short (0.6 mile) hike to the falls themselves, where you can climb around the rocks and explore. As this is one of the longer hikes near Austin, it’s a great spot for a half-day adventure with family, friends, or your dog.

Photo Credit: sbmeaper1 (Flickr CC)

Enchanted Rock Loop Trail

  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Location: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock is a huge, rounded rock formation that springs up seemingly out of nowhere amidst flatter plains outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. Known for being one of Austinites’ favorite recreational areas, Enchanted Rock Loop Trail is an unforgettable spot for hiking near Austin.

This 5.4-mile trail takes you to the top of the rock and around the park area, where there are lots of offshoots to see spectacular views of the surrounding countryside or scramble up some of the giant boulders in the area. Note that there is a fee to enter the park, and if you’d like to go during peak season or on weekends, reservations are required.

Lakeway Canyonlands & Mt. Lakeway Scenic View

  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Location: Lakeway

Lakeway, Texas is home to lots of rocky, hilly terrain that’s perfect for hiking near Austin. The Lakeway Canyonlands and Mt. Lakeway Scenic View trail is composed of a network of shorter trails that will bring you to viewpoints and canyon areas, with diverse terrain to keep you challenged. Lots of ascents and descents mean that this trail is fairly challenging – definitely not for the faint of heart!

Another option in the Canyonlands area is the Lakeway Canyonlands to Rough Hollow Cove trail, which takes you to even more beautiful rock formations and views in the area.

Photo Credit: Anne Worner (Flickr CC)

Inks Lake State Park

  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Location: Burnet, TX

Inks Lake State Park is a serene state park area with a glassy lake surrounded by large boulders and rock formations. The 4.4-mile loop trail around the park is a great place for hiking near Austin if you want to escape the crowds of Enchanted Rock or other popular hikes on this list. With trails spanning from wide, smooth terrain to narrow, rocky passages, this trail offers an accessible challenge to hikers of all levels. While the trail is quite pretty, it’s fairly exposed, so be sure to bring sun protective gear – a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen – if you plan on tackling this scenic trail.

Photo Credit: mlhradio (Flickr CC)

Chalk Ridge Falls Park

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Belton, TX

If you’re looking for hikes near Austin that have it all, the Chalk Ridge Falls Park trail is a perfect, accessible adventure for you. With waterfalls, forests, bridges, and more, this dog- and family-friendly trail is a fantastic outdoor escape for hikers of all levels. Along the way, you’ll catch creek and cascade views, quiet forested settings, and wide open Texas skies. This trail tends to get pretty full on weekends, so we recommend getting there early to avoid crowds.

Photo Credit: Nathaniel (Flickr CC)

Westcave Preserve

  • Distance: 0.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Location: Round Rock, TX

As one of the more unique hikes near Austin, Westcave Preserve offers a pretty dramatic range of terrain and environments, for a wonderful day trip full of hiking and exploring. The preserve’s Grotto area is perhaps the most famous, with a pretty waterfall and rock face surrounded by lush, tropical plants that look like they belong in a rainforest. The vibrant greens of this cool, shady area are a huge contrast to the reds and browns of the rest of Central Texas. However, since the Grotto Trail is so short, we’d recommend taking a stroll through the Uplands portion of the preserve as well.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Austin

What to Pack

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links to Hiking Near Austin


The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is not traditionally known for being a hiker’s city. Believe it or not, the metroplex has beautiful, forested hiking trails and parks for locals to explore! Some spots for hiking in Dallas and Fort Worth are even hidden within plain sight in the middle of the cities and suburbs. We’ve reached out to local DFW natives and compiled a detailed list of some of the best hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth!

Know before you go: Because Dallas and Fort Worth tend to be warm and sunny throughout the year, it’s important to bring the right hiking gear when you head outside. For Texas, this includes breathable hiking clothes, solid hiking boots or sandals (like Chacos), a wide brimmed hat, and lots of sunscreen and bug repellent.

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

Best Hikes In & Near Dallas and Fort Worth

Spring Creek Forest Preserve Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.1 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take President George Bush Turnpike and exit on North Garland Ave going west. The park is about half a mile down the road.

A small park located within the suburbs outside of Dallas, Spring Creek Forest offers some seclusion from the busy surrounding area. Find yourself inside a quiet overgrown forest. This trail is great for all skill levels. It features some paved portions and some unpaved paths. Take your dog with you as the park is dog-friendly! For a quick taste of hiking near Dallas, head to this park first.

Katy Trail

  • Trail Distance: 7.5 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Start on Houston Street in Uptown Dallas and end at Airline Road in Highland Park.

An easy but long trail that takes you through several parts of Dallas. This is one of the most popular and well known hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth. Many locals call it the hidden treasure of Dallas. This trail usually has a good crowd and you can find many joggers and dog-walkers enjoying the trail during the evenings and on weekends. Highlights of the trail include wildflowers during the spring and several bars and icehouses near the American Airlines Center.

Photo credit: Adam (Flickr CC)

Cedar Ridge Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 2 to 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • How to Get There: I-20 to Farm-to-Market rd 1382 near Duncanville.

The preserve is a park located in Dallas that spans over 600 acres. It is adjacent to Cedar Hill State Park but boasts the better hiking trails of the two. There are 12 trails spanning in length from 2 miles to 5.4 miles. Cedar Brake Trail is the most popular. It is a 2.2 mile loop that features various elevation changes and offers beautiful scenic views of Dallas.

Local’s tip: The nature center is closed on Mondays but try to plan your trip during the middle of the week to avoid the crowds

Colleyville Nature Center Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 miles loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take Colleyville Blvd NE from Precinct Line Rd and turn left onto Mill Valley Dr.

An easy beginner trail that is excellent for kids and families. Dogs are allowed on leashes. This trail is especially beautiful in the springtime when the wildflowers bloom. Most of the trail is shaded. There are several ponds that allow you to see some local small wildlife. Overall a great taste of the simple outdoors in a suburban setting, and a spectacular hike in Fort Worth.

North Shore Trail

  • Trail Distance: 18 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take TX 121 to Grapevine Mills pkwy going SW. Turn onto Fairway Dr and the southern trailhead is on the left just after you pass the golf course on the right.

Looking for longer trails to go hiking near Dallas and Fort Worth? Look no further than Grapevine lake. This trail offers gorgeous views of the lake that will make you forget you are in the metroplex. Mountain bikers frequently share the trail. The best times to hike are early spring and fall since there is not much shade on some parts of the trail and the mosquitos can get annoying.

Local’s tip: End at the southern trailhead near sunset and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sunset over a rocky shoreline.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Outer Loop

  • Trail Distance: 2.4 miles loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take the Dallas North Tollway near Hebron and then head west on W Parker Rd until the preserve entrance.

A great escape from the city, the Arbor Hills nature preserve has a few trails that feature natural wildlife and wildflowers. Follow the outer loop trail to see all the different parts of the park including creeks, plains, and a forest. This trail is moderately trafficked, especially on the weekend with lots of families.

Photo credit: Bernie Emmons (Flickr CC)

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: I-20 to Farm-to-Market rd 1382 near Duncanville.

While you are checking out the Cedar Ridge Nature Center, don’t forget to stop by the adjacent Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center. There is a short loop trail that features Texas wildflowers in the spring. This is a family friend hiking trail near Dallas that has lots of benches for sitting down and enjoying the trees.

Local’s tip: The center is closed Sundays and Mondays. On Saturdays, leashed dogs are allowed.

Trinity River Audubon Center

  • Trail Distance: 2.5 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: From Dallas, take I-45 S and then head east on E Ledbetter Dr. Turn South onto S Longacre Ln.

Bird watchers rejoice! The Trinity River Audubon Center is a nature preserve dedicated to the natural bird wildlife of the area. The park itself was recently constructed over an illegal dumping ground and converted into wetlands. The trail lets you see the wetlands, the Trinity River, and several forest paths. There is a mix of paved trails, dirt paths, and platform trails here. For a unique experience hiking near Dallas, stop by the Audubon center near sunset.

Photo credit: Robert Nunnally (Flickr CC)

Texas Buckeye Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take I-45 S from Dallas and exit onto TX 175 going E. Exit onto Municipal St and then turn left onto Bexar St. The trailhead will be at the end of the road.

The Texas Buckeye Trail is named after the “Buckeye” trees located along the Trinity River. There is a paved trail but some parts of the hike will lead you through an overgrown path. This is a great trek to see local wildlife and to bird watch.

Scyene Overlook/Piedmont Ridge

  • Trail Distance: 1.3 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-30 E from Dallas and exit south onto N Jim Miller Rd. Continue until you see the golf course on your right. The trailhead is on the other side of the road.

Park at the golf club across the street and with a good pair of headphones or on a quiet day, you’ll forget you were in the city. This trail features a heavily wooded path with a small uphill ascent. It is sparsely crowded and is easily accessible off a busy street. This is a well kept secret for those hiking in Dallas.

Oak Point

  • Trail Distance: 6 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take Present George Bush Turnpike to Central Expressway Northbound. Exit onto East Spring Creek Pkwy and the trailhead will be on the left.

Take a stroll in a peaceful park located in a suburb of Plano. This trial will take you on an easy, paved loop around a lake. At the end of the loop, you’ll pass by the equestrian area. This is a dog friendly park and there are plenty of activities besides hiking. The park boasts biking trails and zip-lining.

Photo credit: Robert Nunnally (Flickr CC)

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 6.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Head south on I-35E and exit west onto W Illinois Ave. Turn left onto Pierce St to get to the trailhead.

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve has some truly incredible natural scenery. Despite its location in Dallas, you’ll feel as if you are walking through a magical forest. The tress are covered with Spanish moss, and depending on the weather, you can see some truly amazing colors while hiking. The trail takes a lot of twists and turns and can sometimes be confusing. Our recommendation is to allow yourself to get lost as some of the prettier parks are within the woods. The Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association has a good map of the winding trail listed on their website.

Sansom Blue Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-820 up to Lake Worth and exit onto Jacksboro Highway heading southeast. Turn right onto Roberts Cut Off Rd.

Take a hike near Lake Worth on a beautiful patch of rocks and boulders. Only a short distance from Fort Worth, this hike is one to remember. This trail is not well marked so prepare to do a bit of exploring on your own. We recommend hiking with some trekking poles and going during the day. Unfortunately this park is not very well maintained and previous hikers have complained of some trash at the start of the trail. Please be mindful of this and carry out any trash you may have.

Post Oak Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take TX-175 southbound and exit onto Bowers Rd. Continue about about half a mile down the road until the trailhead.

This secluded trail on the outskirts of Dallas features a gorgeous small lake surround by overgrown foliage. The Post Oak Preserve trail is better hiked in the wintertime during the drier months. You’ll get a sense of being in a fairytale from the spooky looking trees and the constant chattering of birds.

Local’s tip: Bring bug spray during the warmer months and be mindful of snakes and coyotes in this area.

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area

  • Trail Distance: 2.2 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take I-35E up to Lewisville and exit east onto Jones St. From there head into the environmental learning area and the trailhead is over the creek.

The Lewisville Environmental area features a raised platform hiking trail through the wetlands that take you through some beautiful scenery. Highlights of the trail include bountiful lily pads, red algae, and a cute gazebo on the water. We recommend bringing hiking boots as your feet may get wet!

Photo credit: Aaron Jacobs (Flickr CC)

Spring Creek Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 4.5 miles total (varies based on path)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: From PGBT, exit onto Waterview Pkwy towards UT Dallas and turn left onto W Renner Rd. The trailhead is just after crossing Central Exwy.

It’s easy to forget how close you are to the freeway when you’re in the nature center. A heavily wooded area just outside the University of Texas at Dallas, this hiking trail offers a distraction from the bustle of a busy lifestyle. Expect to see plenty of dogs on this trail. There’s a mix of paved and gravel paths here, as well as a crossing over a small creek.

Fossil Ridge Loop Trail (Cleburne)

  • Trail Distance: 4.1 mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take I-35W southbound to US-67 W until it turns into County Rd 1116. Follow this road and stay right onto County Rd 1225 and then head west on TX-21. Turn right a couple of miles down the road onto Park Road 21 to get to the park.

If you are looking to get completely out of Dallas and Fort Worth, head over to Cleburne. This trek features a gorgeous empty lake surrounded by quiet dirt paths. Head up a few steep paths along the Coyote trail to get some stunning views of over a small waterfall.

Additional Resources for Hiking Near Dallas and Fort Worth

What to Bring

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links & Resources for Hikes Near Dallas & Fort Worth