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Texas is the largest contiguous state in America and features vast areas of countryside and magnificent natural landscapes. It’s where some of the best hiking trails in the world can be found.

Choosing the best Texas trails is a challenge that represents an embarrassment of riches. Let’s take a look at just a few of the top contenders.

Big Bend National Park

Located in Brewster County of Southeastern Texas, this is an area where the Rio Grande River forms the border between the United States and Mexico. This location offers a rich selection of hiking landscapes featuring desert lands, mountain peaks, forested areas, and lakeside treks. A good choice is the 4.2-mile Lost Mines Trail. The hiker will be treated with breathtaking views of vast canyons while winding through lush, forested areas.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Located in the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest in the U.S., with only Arizona’s Grand Canyon being bigger. Hiking trails pass fossil-rich rock walls of marvelous color. Among the best-established hikes is the Lighthouse Trail, a 6-mile trek of moderate difficulty that leads through beacon-like rock formations that look like lighthouses.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

In northern Texas near Plano, this natural area consists of more than 200 acres through which numerous and excellent hiking trails abound. This is open prairie land that is replete with the wildlife of significant variety and charming creeks. A highlight is an observation tower open to climbing by visitors.

Katy Trail

Near Dallas, Katy Trails is named among the top hikes in America by several industry observers, including TravelAwaits. This popular hiking trail was established in the mid-1800s when a path was created for railroad tracks. The train tracks are gone now, but what remains is a 3.5-mile hike described as a “tree-lined escape” from the clamor of city life. It’s a quick, easy drive from Dallas.

Ann and Roy Hike-and-Bike Trail

This trail is located inside the city limits of Austin. The trail passes by a widened portion of the Colorado River known as Lady Bird Lake. What’s unique about this hike is that it combines urban vistas with natural beauty. Views of skyscrapers, ballparks, and cultural attractions can be seen along the way. This trail attracts 2.6 million visitors per year.