Exploring the Best Backpacking Trails Across Texas

Texas Backpacking Trails

Share This Post

Texas offers a wealth of backpacking opportunities, with its diverse landscapes ranging from desert to mountains to lush forests. Backpacking in Texas can be challenging yet incredibly rewarding. In this article, we will explore the best backpacking trails across the state, highlighting their unique features and providing essential details for each trail. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or a beginner looking for an adventure, Texas has something for everyone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the best backpacking trails in Texas, from desert to mountains to forests.
  • Experience the challenging yet rewarding nature of backpacking in Texas.
  • Learn about the unique features of each trail and essential details for planning your backpacking adventure.
  • Whether you’re experienced or a beginner, Texas offers backpacking opportunities for every level.
  • Immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes and outdoor adventures that Texas has to offer.

Lost Maples State Park – Vanderpool, TX

Located in Vanderpool, Texas, Lost Maples State Park is a mesmerizing destination for backpacking enthusiasts. The park is renowned for its enchanting fall foliage, where the Uvalde big-tooth maples transform the surroundings into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors.

Lost Maples State Park offers a variety of natural features that add to its allure. Visitors can revel in the grandeur of steep canyon walls, explore a small grotto, and enjoy breathtaking views of the picturesque Sabinal River from an overlook.

Backpackers can traverse the park’s 1-3.2-mile out-and-back trails, allowing them to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing beauty of the area. The elevated campsites provide not only a peaceful atmosphere, but also scenic views that showcase the park’s natural splendor.

The park’s appeal extends throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique beauty. In addition to the stunning fall foliage, Lost Maples State Park boasts an abundance of wildflowers and ample opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer along the trails.

Lost Maples State Park Details

Location Vanderpool, Texas
Trail Length 1-3.2 miles
Main Attraction Fall Foliage
Notable Feature Sabinal River Overlook
Wildlife Deer

Lost Maples State Park is a hidden gem in Texas, offering backpackers a breathtaking display of fall foliage that rivals the beauty of renowned fall destinations. The vibrant colors of the Uvalde big-tooth maples create a truly magical experience that will leave any nature lover in awe. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or a novice seeking adventure, Lost Maples State Park should definitely be on your bucket list.

Cross Timbers Trail – Gordonville, TX

Cross Timbers Trail

The Cross Timbers Trail in Gordonville, Texas, is a hidden gem for backpackers. With its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it serves as a convenient weekend getaway. The trail offers scenic views of Lake Texoma and winds through oak and pecan tree-lined sections. One of the highlights of this trail is the availability of reservations-free and fee-free camping spots, making it budget-friendly for backpackers. Although the trail has an advanced beginner difficulty level, it rewards hikers with stunning landscapes and a surprising elevation gain.

Cross Timbers Trail Details

Trail Name Location Difficulty Level Camping Options
Cross Timbers Trail Gordonville, TX Advanced Beginner Reservations-free and fee-free camping spots

Goodwater Loop – Georgetown, TX

Goodwater Loop

The Goodwater Loop in Georgetown, Texas, offers backpackers an immersive experience in the heart of the state. This 26.6-mile loop showcases the diverse ecosystems of the area, providing hikers with a range of stunning landscapes.

As you traverse the Goodwater Loop, you’ll encounter a variety of natural wonders, including prickly pear, savannah grasses, wildflowers, cedar trees, and limestone formations. Each step along the trail reveals the richness and beauty of Texas’ diverse flora and geology.

With its range of difficulty levels, the Goodwater Loop is suitable for both beginners and advanced beginners. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker looking for a refreshing weekend escape or a novice hiker seeking a new adventure, this trail offers something for everyone.

The Goodwater Loop provides designated campsites along the trail, ensuring that backpackers have convenient and well-equipped spots to rest and rejuvenate. Some campsites even offer picnic tables and fire rings, allowing you to enjoy a hot meal under the stars. These designated campsites enhance the overall backpacking experience by providing essential amenities and ensuring hikers can fully immerse themselves in nature without sacrificing comfort.

If you’re seeking a backpacking adventure that combines the beauty of diverse ecosystems with convenient camping options, look no further than the Goodwater Loop in Georgetown, Texas. This trail promises memorable moments and unforgettable views that will leave you in awe of the natural wonders that Texas has to offer.

Big Bend National Park – Big Bend, TX

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park, located in the remote backcountry of southwestern Texas, offers a truly unique backpacking experience. With over 800,000 acres of undeveloped land, the park showcases diverse landscapes, from desert vistas to river canyons to the Chisos Mountains. Backpackers can explore the park’s backcountry and enjoy primitive camping options. The park offers trails of varying difficulty levels, catering to both experienced backpackers and intermediate hikers. Highlights include the Emory Peak Trail, which offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset views, and the Lighthouse Trail, which leads to a towering spire.

Experience the stark beauty of the desert Southwest as you traverse the rugged terrain of Big Bend National Park. The park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking solitude and a connection with nature. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker looking for a challenging adventure or an intermediate hiker wanting to explore diverse landscapes, Big Bend National Park has it all.

Trail Name Difficulty Level Highlights
Emory Peak Trail Advanced Stunning sunrise and sunset views
Lighthouse Trail Moderate Towering spire and panoramic views
South Rim Trail Advanced Scenic vistas of canyons and mountains
Rio Grande Village Nature Trail Easy Opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting

Big Bend National Park offers primitive camping options, allowing backpackers to immerse themselves in the park’s stunning landscapes. From setting up camp under starry desert skies to waking up to breathtaking views, primitive camping in Big Bend is an unforgettable experience.

“Big Bend National Park is a hidden gem in the desert Southwest. The remote backcountry and diverse landscapes make it a dream destination for backpackers seeking adventure and solitude.” – Backpacker Magazine

Experience the Beauty of Big Bend

Embark on a backpacking journey through Big Bend National Park and discover the wonders of the desert Southwest. The park’s vast expanse of wilderness provides opportunities for exploration, reflection, and unforgettable moments in nature. Whether you’re standing on the edge of a canyon, trekking through cactus-dotted landscapes, or witnessing the vibrant colors of a desert sunset, Big Bend National Park will leave you in awe.

Don’t miss the chance to experience primitive camping in one of the most remote and breathtaking natural landscapes in the United States. Take your backpack, lace up your boots, and set out on an adventure that will leave you with lifelong memories.

Lone Star Hiking Trail – Sam Houston National Forest, TX

The Lone Star Hiking Trail in Sam Houston National Forest is an extraordinary adventure for backpackers seeking solitude and a deep connection with nature. Spanning an impressive 96.4 miles, it holds the distinction of being the longest continuous trail in Texas.

For those longing to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this trail offers the perfect retreat. The serene beauty of the Sam Houston National Forest provides a picturesque backdrop as you traverse through pine woods, oak woodlands, and bottomland hardwoods. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance and rejuvenate your soul amidst the vibrant colors of the forest.

One of the trail’s standout features is its designated campsites, strategically located to provide convenience and comfort for overnight stays. Savor the tranquility of the forest while relaxing at these campsites, some of which feature benches and fire rings for a cozy and memorable camping experience.

The solitude experienced on the Lone Star Hiking Trail is unparalleled. Each step along the way offers an opportunity to find solace, reflect, and reset amidst the harmonious melody of nature. Whether you embark on a multi-day trek or a shorter backpacking excursion, you’ll find the trail’s captivating landscapes and secluded atmosphere to be a balm for the soul.

Trail Highlights

  • Spanning 96.4 miles, the longest continuous trail in Texas.
  • Traverses through pine woods, oak woodlands, and bottomland hardwoods.
  • Designated campsites with benches and fire rings for a comfortable overnight stay.
  • Offers solitude and an immersive nature experience.

Trail Map

Trail Section Distance
Section 1 5.2 miles
Section 2 7.8 miles
Section 3 9.6 miles
Section 4 6.3 miles
Section 5 8.9 miles

“The Lone Star Hiking Trail is a true hidden gem, offering backpackers the chance to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and immerse themselves in the serenity of the woods. It’s a journey that provides solitude, breathtaking scenery, and an opportunity for deep introspection.” – Backpacker’s Journal

Enchanted Rock – Fredericksburg, TX

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas, is a must-visit destination for backpackers. As the second-largest granite batholith in the country, Enchanted Rock boasts a unique geology that fascinates geologists and nature enthusiasts alike. The park offers a variety of trails that cater to different difficulty levels, allowing backpackers to explore the area at their preferred pace. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there’s a trail for everyone.

The highlight of a visit to Enchanted Rock is the chance to witness its stunning rock formations and experience the breathtaking scenic views. The hikes at Enchanted Rock provide panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape, immersing backpackers in the beauty of Texas’ natural wonders. From the summit, visitors can marvel at the sweeping vistas, capturing the essence of the unique geological features.

One of the most exciting aspects is the opportunity for overnight camping. Backpackers can choose to spend the night under the twinkling stars, surrounded by the mystical ambiance of Enchanted Rock. It’s an experience that truly allows you to connect with nature and appreciate the serenity of the outdoors.

Enchanted Rock Trail Highlights:

  • Unique geological features of the granite batholith
  • Breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape
  • Opportunities for overnight camping under the stars
Trail Difficulty Trail Length Estimated Time
Easy 0.5 mile 1 hour
Intermediate 1.1 miles 1.5 hours
Difficult 1.4 miles 2 hours

Guadalupe Ridge Trail – Carlsbad Caverns NP to Guadalupe Mountains NP

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail is an advanced backpacking adventure that spans 102 miles, taking hikers from Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas. This trail is a thrilling journey through rugged landscapes, showcasing the untamed beauty of the region.

Embarking on the Guadalupe Ridge Trail requires a sense of adventure and off-trail navigation skills, as it doesn’t follow a well-defined path. Hikers must rely on their map-reading abilities and orienteering skills to navigate the varying terrains and find their way.

What sets the Guadalupe Ridge Trail apart are the breathtaking vistas it offers along the way. From the Dark Canyon lookout, hikers can witness stunning sunrises that paint the skies with vibrant hues, casting an ethereal glow across the magnificent landscape.

Another highlight of this trail is the enchanting beauty of McKittrick Canyon during autumn. The vibrant shades of maple trees create a captivating spectacle, drawing hikers into a world of colors as they traverse the trail.

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail reaches its culmination at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. Standing atop this majestic summit, backpackers can savor a sense of accomplishment and be rewarded with a mesmerizing sunset view that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Guadalupe Ridge Trail Highlights:

  • Rugged landscapes and challenging terrains
  • Off-trail navigation skills required
  • Breathtaking vistas, including sunrise views from Dark Canyon lookout
  • Vibrant autumn foliage in McKittrick Canyon
  • Culminates at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas

Embark on the Guadalupe Ridge Trail for an unforgettable backpacking adventure that will test your limits, reward your efforts, and immerse you in the awe-inspiring wonders of nature.


Texas offers a wide range of backpacking trails, each showcasing the state’s diverse landscapes and providing immersive experiences for outdoor adventurers. From the tranquil beauty of Lost Maples State Park to the remote wilderness of Big Bend National Park, there is something for everyone in the Lone Star State.

For those seeking fall foliage and scenic views, Lost Maples State Park in Vanderpool is a must-visit destination. The park’s vibrant colors and the breathtaking Sabinal River views will leave you in awe. If you’re in search of budget-friendly camping options, the Cross Timbers Trail in Gordonville offers fee-free and reservations-free spots, providing a perfect weekend getaway.

The Goodwater Loop in Georgetown is ideal for experiencing Texas’ diverse ecosystems, with its prickly pear, wildflowers, and limestone formations. And for a truly unique backpacking experience, head to Big Bend National Park, where you can explore the desert Southwest, river canyons, and Chisos Mountains.

Whether you choose the longest continuous trail, the Lone Star Hiking Trail in Sam Houston National Forest, or the enchanting granite batholith of Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas will immerse you in its natural wonders and outdoor adventures. So pack your backpack, grab your boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Texas’ backpacking trails!

More To Explore