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Sweet Hiking Spots: Texas

When you think of 'hiking' hot spots in America, the first place that comes to mind is probably not Texas. 
Between the snow capped peaks of Colorado and California to the raw beauty of Utah, Washington State, Arizona and New Mexico-- it's understandable that we're not at the top of the list. 
But don't sleep on a few of my favorites in the Lone Star State! 
These hidden gems are scattered across North Texas, the Hill Country, West Texas, and the Panhandle! 

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park (Visited: November 2021) 
I took myself on a solo road trip from Dallas to Amarillo, mainly for this state park. Check out the Lighthouse Trail! It's the most popular trail in the park-- with a roundtrip distance of 5.5 miles, mostly flat path and striking viewpoint, there's no surprise why people love it!

2. Big Bend (Visited: October 2020) 
The drive from Dallas to Big Bend National Park is a commitment! An almost 8-hour trek one way, you might be among those tempted to head west-- only to back out in anticipation of the seemingly endless journey. I assure you: the trip is well worth it. My most genuine advice: don't rush through it. 
Best stops along the drive: 
Try these trails: 
Ernst Tinaja 
Santa Elena Canyon Trail 
Lost Mine Trail 
Window Trail 
... and so much more! Stay up to date on weather, trail closures or alerts with the National Park Service.

Photo By: Sonia Azad
3. Cedar Ridge Preserve (Last Visited 2019)  
This is a Dallas-area gem! A popular spot for North Texas nature lovers, my favorite time to go was Tuesday afternoons. On pleasant weekend mornings and some weekday evenings, the trail packs with people, pets and families. It's popular for a reason! :) 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
4. Colorado Bend State Park (Visited December 2021) 
Gorman Falls Hike is a 3-mile round trip over some rough and rocky terrain. The reward is a 70-foot spring-fed waterfall! (Pro Tip: If in a drought, you won't see much water falling...)

Photo By: Sonia Azad
5. Chalk Ridge Falls Park (Visited December 2021) 
This is a fun one! It's 2.5 miles out and back, flat, and naturally beautiful in any season. It's a conveniently located and a popular trail, so you might see runners, mountain bikers, and bird watchers. Still, my experience was peaceful as a solo hiker. Here, you truly feel like you've escaped Texas!
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