It’s no secret that Texas is a huge and incredibly beautiful state. With so much to offer outdoor enthusiasts, it can be overwhelming to try and decide exactly how to spend your time in the Lone Star State. If you are on the East side of Texas, there are hundreds of hiking trails to choose from that offer you elevation gain, lake views, bayou strolls, and cascading trees. To help you narrow down your hiking options, here are 24 amazing East Texas hiking trails that can give you an awesome workout and help you connect with nature.

1. Coyote Run Trail

Location: Near Cooper, Texas

Distance: 5 miles

Average Completion Time: 2 hours

The Coyote Run Trail is ideal for people looking for a longer trail with lots of wildlife activity. People come to this trail specifically for birdwatching so if you are a birder or simply a fan of birds, this is a great trail for you. However, there are dirt trails, so it is best to avoid them during the heavy rain or wet season, as they can become muddy. As long as you go when it is dry, this trail is considered a moderate difficulty trail.

In addition to hiking, you can participate in mountain biking and trail running here. The best time to visit this trail is between March and October. This is a dog-friendly hike, but dogs must be leashed at all times!

2. Terry Hershey Hike And Bike Trail

Location: Along the banks of Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

Distance: 10.7 miles

Terry Hershey trail is ideal for people who want to just go for a nice walk and do small sections of a paved hike near downtown Houston. This 10-mile trail is designed for bikers, but it is also used by walkers looking to get a bit of exercise. The trail surface here includes grass, dirt, and asphalt, depending on which section of the trail you choose to do.

The best way to make the most of this trail is to bike here. It will help you complete the trail within no time while enjoying the views. In addition, the trail has restrooms, a playground, and many places where you can relax and have a picnic.

You can park your car at various spots along the trail. These include Highway 6, Beltway 8, and Dairy Ashford Road.

East Texas Hiking Trails: Terry Hershey Hike And Bike Trail

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3. Elm Lake Loop Trail

Location: Brazos Bend State Park

Distance: 2.1 miles

Average Completion Time: Less than an hour

Appreciate the natural beauty of Brazos Bend State Park by visiting this short loop trail. This trail is shaped like a figure-8 and wraps around the lake. If you are looking for a short trail with lake views then this is one of the best East Texas hiking trails for you. It is rated as an easy trail and is a gravel path.

The trail is open to visitors all year, and the weather is wonderful year-round. Just make sure to check the forecast before you go because hiking in the rain isn’t for everyone! You can also bring your dogs to the trail, but people have mentioned that they have seen gators in the lake, so keeping your furry friends on a leash is essential.

You’ll want to bring your phone to take photos of the amazing scenery on this hike. When you are posting your photos on Instagram of cool hikes like these don’t forget to add some beautiful nature captions to your posts!

East Texas Hiking Trails: Elm Lake Loop Trail

4. McKinney Roughs Loop Trail

Location: McKinney Roughs Nature Park

Distance: Over four miles

Average Completion Time: 2 hours

The McKinney Roughs Loop Trail is a moderately difficult trail that people use for horseback riding, hiking, and trail running. The nature park is over 1000 acres and runs along the Colorado River. The park has 18 miles of trails and the McKinney Roughs Loop Trail is one of the more popular. This park gets extremely busy so they have a mandatory reservation system. Visitors are not allowed without reservations inside the park. You can find more information about the reservations here.

Because of these rules, the trail is well-maintained and has some beautiful views that you will enjoy along the way. You can also choose from various courses, ranging from easy to difficult, depending on what you prefer. There is also a variety of terrain to make your experience worthwhile.

So, if you want to visit an excellent trail right outside of Austin, be sure to contact them and make reservations. It will not disappoint you.

Besides hiking, McKinney Roughs Nature Park offers activities for the thrill-seekers in your life. They have zip lines and ATVs available for reservations as well!

5. Winding Woodland, Barred Owl, And Roosevelt’s Cutoff Loop

Location: Buescher State Park

Distance: 5.6 miles

Average Completion Time: 2.5 hours

The Winding Woodland is an easy loop trail that will not take you long to complete. However, many people choose to combine it with the Barred Owl and Roosevelt’s Cutoff Loop trails for a full-day hiking experience. The trail takes you through a beautiful wooded area and up and down small hills. The trail is fairly rocky so it is important to wear proper footwear. In addition to the rockiness, there are a few steep inclines. However, this trail is rated easy to moderate and can be completed by anyone of average physical fitness.

The best part is that the trail is open all year for visitors to come and enjoy these activities. It is a dog-friendly trail as well! The rockiness and hills are definitely worth it as this peaceful trail offers you some wonderful views and time to connect with nature. It is easily one of the best East Texas hiking trails.

East Texas Hiking Trails: Winding Woodland, Barred Owl, And Roosevelt’s Cutoff Loop

6. Possum Kingdom Johnson Peak Loop

Location: Palo Pinto, Texas

Distance: 4.8 miles

Average Completion Time: 2.5 hours

The Possum Kingdom is a moderately difficult trail that is ideal for those who want to have great views and a little bit of elevation change in Northeastern Texas. The trail itself has multiple overlooks that give you a beautiful view of the Brazos River. As you walk on this trail, you may also find some beautiful wildflowers. Many people also come here to enjoy some solitude as some parts of the trail are quieter than others.

While doing the loop, you also have the option to hike to Johnson Peak for a little bit of elevation change. If you add the peak, the hike extends to around 5.5 miles total. The extra distance is worth it as it gives you an incredible view of the woods and water together. So, if you are looking to challenge yourself in a small way, be sure to check this loop out.

It is important to note that the trail can sometimes be confusing as too many people have hiked off-trail causing some confusion with weathered paths. Make sure to stay on the main trail and not veer off the path. This trail is dog friendly, but the sun can be intense as you gain elevation, be sure to start early and bring plenty of water for your best buddy.

East Texas Hiking Trails: Possum Kingdom Johnson Peak Loop

7. The Lone Star Hiking Trail

Location: Sam Houston National Forest

Distance: 92 to 129 miles

Average Completion Time: around 10 days

The Lone Star Hiking Trail is not for the faint of heart. It is the ideal trail for people who want an intense backpacking experience through the heart of Texas. If you are looking for an incredible Texas backpacking experience or a long trail to train for a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, then this is the hike for you!

The trail is open all year to visitors, and it is beautiful the entire year, which is why you can visit whenever you like. The trail takes you through the Sam Houston National Forest and is the longest continuous footpath in Texas. The trail itself is broken up into 10 sections which makes it easy to break up the hike into a ten-day stretch. If you are interested in learning more about this hike or planning to complete it, check out this complete guide to the trail.

8. Rattlesnake Run

Location: Lockhart State Park

Distance: 2.85 miles

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Despite its intimidating name, Rattlesnake Run is an easy trail that is ideal for walking, hiking, and trail running and is a great East Texas hiking trail. This route combines all of the trails in Lockhart State Park, which is why it is the ideal way to experience this state park in its entirety. You will notice green ash trees, eastern red cedar, bluestem prairie grass, and much more as you are here.

At one point Rattlesnake Run has a steep slope, which accounts for most of the 200ft elevation gain of the trail. If you are not used to this, you might feel easily tired. That is why it is best to hydrate yourself as you go along this trail. It is a dog-friendly trail, but keep your furry friends leashed at all times!

9. Muleshoe Bend Trail

Location: Spicewood, Texas

Distance: 5.9 miles

Average Completion Time: 2 to 3 hours

This shady trail is the ideal East Texas hiking trail if you are looking for a moderately challenging trail that is hard on the legs but easy on the lungs. The trail includes lots of shade from the beautiful trees in the area as well as waterside views. It is also a good trail for bluebonnet viewing when they are in bloom.

The trail is relatively challenging to complete even though there is minimal elevation gain. The trail itself is rocky and not flat terrain which is what makes it challenging It is important to note that many people recommend the use of hiking poles as the ground can be rocky and uneven on parts of the trail.

This is also a heavily used mountain bike trail so if you are into mountain biking then this is a great trail for that as well. If you aren’t a mountain biker, be aware that you may need to move out of their way occasionally on the trail.

Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

East Texas Hiking Trails: Muleshoe Bend Trail

10. San Marcos River, Mesquite Flats, And Ottine Swamp Trails

Location: Palmetto State Park

Distance: 3.1 miles

Average Completion Time: 1 hour

Located in Palmetto State Park, these East Texas hiking trails combine to make one, lovely 3-mile loop. As you go along the trail, you will find many educational posts about the history and nature of Palmetto State Park as the trail is often used for educational purposes. This trail is awesome if you want to get a little bit of exercise while learning about Texas nature.

You can also bring your pets and kids here as they will enjoy this short trail. However, be sure to put your dogs on a leash if you plan on bringing them. There are also picnic tables and benches along the way so you can rest when tired or bring a nice picnic with you.

11. Cross Timbers Hiking Trail

Location: Cedar Bayou Public Use Area

Distance: 14.2 miles

Average Completion Time: 7-8 hours

If you are looking for a challenging backpacking excursion or long day hike, then the Cross Timbers hiking trail is a great option. Cross Timbers is a moderately difficult trail ideal for visiting between March and December. A lot of people use this trail as a practice trail for longer backpacking trips as it offers moderate elevation gain and a longer distance to test out pack weight.

This trail is not heavily trafficked so it is a great place to try and see some wildlife or do some birding. There are even eagles in the area. The trail is has a great view of a lake for large portions of it as well which makes for a peaceful hiking experience.

The best part is that some areas of this trail allow you to have your furry companion off-leash! However, you should always follow proper safety rules while hiking with your dog.

12. Tyler State Park Lake Loop Trail

Location: Tyler State Park

Distance: 2 miles

Average Completion Time: 1 hour

Although this trail is only two miles long, it is a moderately challenging trail that will give you a bit of a workout and some beautiful views. Tyler State Park is a beautiful park that has incredible lake views, wildlife, and watersport options. It is also open all year, and you can go whenever you like as it looks fantastic throughout the year.

The trail itself has minimal elevation gain but is famous for its overgrown roots that cover the trail. Avoiding the roots is what brings the challenge of this trail. As you hike along the lake, you have the chance to see wildlife as it is common to see turtles sunning themselves on warm afternoons. There are also some benches and bridges throughout the trail for you to stop and relax. Hikers of this trail find it incredibly beautiful, which is why it is ideal for all nature lovers.

13. Beaver Slide Nature Loop

Location: Purtis Creek State Park

Distance: 1.6 miles

Average Completion Time: 45 minutes

If you are looking for a short loop to hike with a chance of seeing wildlife, then Beaver Slide Nature Loop is one of the East Texas hiking trails that you should consider. It offers an easy and peaceful hike that will offer you some excellent views of the lake, and it is famous for the amount of deer that frequent the area. It is common to see deer on this trail in both the morning and the evening. As always, never approach or feed the animal and use caution when viewing the beautiful creatures.

This is a great hike for the family as it is relatively easy. However, there are many tree roots on this trail, so it’s important to pay attention so you don’t trip on them. This trail is dog friendly as well as long as they are on a leash.

14. Rose Rudman and Southside Trail

Location: Rose Rudman Park

Distance: 3.7 miles

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hours

The Rose Rudman trail is near Tyler, Texas, and it is an easy trail that you can complete without much hassle as it has a large walking path. The trail includes a lock bridge, playgrounds, and large fields. This trail is perfect for walking, trail running, and even hiking all year round especially if you have children participating in sports at the park. You can visit any time of the year, and the trail will look fantastic.

The best part about this trail is that it is paved the entire way, which is why it will not be too difficult for you to complete. You can think of this trail as a huge park with a walking path for you to experience.

15. Sheldon Lake State Park Nature Loop

Location: Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center

Distance: 1.8 miles

Average Completion Time: 45 minutes

If you are looking for a relaxing and short day hike, the Sheldon Lake State Park Nature Loop is the perfect East Texas hiking trail for you. Relax and enjoy some peace and quiet at Sheldon Lake before heading off to the nature loop to enjoy some exercise on the trail. This trail offers incredible views of the Texas prairies and wetlands. It is a great trail to spot birds and other wildlife, but keep an eye out for alligators so you don’t run into one!

The park is open all year, but it can be very busy during the summer months. Most people visit it during the winter season as there are fewer people during that time. The bugs can get pretty bad here so make sure that you bring bug spray with you!

16. John Burge Park Trail

Location: John Burge Park

Distance: 2.2 miles

Average Completion Time: 1 Hour

If you want to go on a hiking trail for an hour, be sure to visit John Burge Park. It is ideal for walking, trail running, and hiking. The trail itself runs along a creek and also boasts a wonderful disc golf course. You can play as you walk if you like throwing frisbees! It is open throughout the year, and you can visit anytime with your furry companion, but they must be on a leash.

The trail is well-maintained, but there are many people that come here that can be a nuisance sometimes. That is why it is ideal for you to plan the best time to go when there is not too much traffic. It will allow you to take in the trail without any disturbance or noise in no time.

17. Cary Bayou Trail

Location: Jenkins Memorial Park

Distance: 1.9 miles

Average Completion Time: 45 minutes

The Cary Bayou Trail is open all year and is best for people who want to go walking and trail running through a beautiful forest setting. The trail is out and back and is an easy one, which is why it will not take you long to complete. If you want to take a quick stroll through the woods, then this is the perfect trail to visit.

You can go here for your morning or evening run and enjoy the beautiful wooded and shaded area. Because of this, you can even go in the summer as the trees offer a lot of shade to people that want to use this trail. If you have a dog, you can also bring them to this trail for their daily run.

While you have to put them on a leash in most areas, there are some areas on this trail where you can take your dog’s leash off. That is why if you are looking for a short and easy trail that will add to your fitness regimen, be sure to check it out. It will not disappoint you as it is ideal for walking and running.

18. Pitcher Plant Trail

Location: Big Thicket National Preserve

Distance: 1 mile

Average Completion Time: 25 minutes

The Pitcher Plant Trail is a beautiful East Texas hiking trail that is suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels. Because it is only a mile long, it won’t take you long to complete which is why it is also perfect for people who are not used to hiking. Most people come here for walking and hiking or to relax in the beautiful national preserve.

The preserve maintains the trail well, and you can also bring your little hikers here. Everything is clearly marked, and you will also notice that the Pitcher Plant Trail also merges with the Turkey Creek Trail. You can also use this trail if you want to experience pine woods and the Big Thicket.

There are many plants for you to notice that you might not find anywhere else. If you want to make the most of your experience, you can also visit the forest area and explore more what it has to offer. As the name suggests, one of the best things you will see here is the pitcher plants.

However, you must go at a time when these plants are in bloom (usually for 2-3 weeks around April and May). Overall, the trail is pleasant and short, but it has a lot to offer to nature lovers, explorers, and adventurers.

19. Inks Lake Devil’s Backbone Trail

Location: Inks Lake State Park

Distance: 3.4 miles

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hours

The Inks Lake Devil’s Backbone Trail is moderately difficult and located inside the Inks Lake State Park near Kingsland, Texas. Many people use this trail for walking, hiking, and camping all year. That is why you can visit anytime you like, and the trail will offer you unparalleled beauty no matter what time of the year it is.

The first half-mile of this trail is the most challenging, and it will get easier after that. So, it is important to warm your body appropriately and hydrate yourself before you begin this trail. Once you cross the first half mile, the rest of the trail will become a breeze for you to complete in less than two hours.

The best part is that there are lots of places on this trail to go off-trail into the lake if you want to enjoy the water. Besides that, you can also come here for a family outing. That is because the landscape is rocky; there is a swimming hole and a few little falls you and your family will love.

Finally, there is a clearly marked path on the trail that will guarantee you can easily follow it and complete your trail. You can also explore the southern trails in this park if you want more challenges. This trail is dog friendly as long as they are kept on a leash.

20. Turkey Pass Trail At Enchanted Rock

Location: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Distance: 3.1 miles

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Enchanted Rock State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Texas. The Turkey Pass Trail is near Llano, Texas, and is a moderately difficult loop trail. Many people come here for trail running, rock climbing, and hiking. The trail is open to visitors throughout the year, and you can visit anytime you like. The trail itself is famous for its views of the park as the hike takes you to the summit of Enchanted Rock which allows you to overlook the entire park.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area charges a fee per entry. It is $8 per day per person for everyone over the age of 13, but the fee is worth it to visit this incredible area.

Hikers that come here love the unique scenery of this area, and the view on top of the summit is worth the hike. Keep in mind that there are some loose rocks you must be wary of when you are hiking this trail. The key is to exercise caution and see where you are going.

Photo by Gower Brown on Unsplash

21. Vista Knoll And Ridgeline Loop

Location: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Distance: 3.1 miles

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Vista Knoll is a short loop trail that is open all year to trail runners and hikers in the region. It is one of the best East Texas hiking trails that we recommend to beginners as it is very easy to navigate, it will not tire you, and you will feel energized after finishing the trail. Even though it is an easy trail, you will be able to hike to a beautiful overlook of the area which is what makes this trail so popular. There are also lots of shaded spots if you want to rest during this trail.

22. LBJ Grasslands Red Trail

Location: Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland

Distance: 8.8 miles

Average Completion Time: 5 hours

LBJ Grasslands Red Trail is the perfect hike for those looking to cover a lot of distance without a lot of elevation change. This 8.8-mile hike will take you multiple hours to complete in its entirety, but the trail is worth it. It is a great trail for those looking to test out their backpacking gear and pack weights for longer thru-hikes.

The trail itself features rolling hills and sandy trails with lovely views of the grasslands. There are a few shady spots for you to rest and relax, but most of the trail does not have any shade. However, it is not a highly trafficked trail so it is a great place to get away from the world for a bit.

Photo by Jared Evans on Unsplash

23. Lake Bob Trail

Location: Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Distance: 6.3 miles

Average Completion Time: 3 hours

The Lake Bob hiking trail is the perfect trail if you are looking for a quick getaway in the Dallas area. This hike features ponds, creeks, and even dogwood flowers. While the Lake Bob Trail is long, it is still an easy trail that you can complete. If you want to make the most of your hike, be sure to visit between February and November. You can also take your dog, but you must put them on a leash.

The route is easy and well-maintained, which is why beginners will also enjoy this hike. Lake Bob Trail is not too crowded, which is why it is also perfect for some peacetime. Other than that, the trail is easy to navigate and complete. The view of the lake is beautiful, and it’s a great little hike.

24. Walnut Creek Park Short Loop

Location: Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Distance: 0.6 miles

Average Completion Time: Half an hour

If you are looking for an easy and fun trail, you will love the Walnut Creek Park Short Loop. The trail is easy, and the terrain is well-marked so that you can easily navigate this area. It is also dog-friendly if you want to take your dog for a walk in the morning or evening. This trail is perfect for children and families as it is short and easy. If you are looking for a great little path to take your kids exploring, then this may be the best East Texas hiking trail for you.

Final Thoughts

That was your complete guide to East Texas hiking trails. Of course, the key is to find a trail that suits your preferences and then visit it to enjoy everything it has to offer. All of these trails are great and offer something unique to the hiker.

We have recommended trails for beginners and pros. So, understand your hiking level and select a trail that suits you best. Once you do, you will have the best time while you are on the trail.

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Don't miss out on these 24 amazing East Texas hiking trails that can give you an awesome workout and help you connect with nature.  #texas #texastravel #texasvacation #texasroadtrip #usroadtrip #rvlife
Don't miss out on these 24 amazing East Texas hiking trails that can give you an awesome workout and help you connect with nature.  #texas #texastravel #texasvacation #texasroadtrip #usroadtrip #rvlife
Don't miss out on these 24 amazing East Texas hiking trails that can give you an awesome workout and help you connect with nature.  #texas #texastravel #texasvacation #texasroadtrip #usroadtrip #rvlife

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