Discover Great Hikes in the Texas Colorado River Watershed

February 20, 2024

Spring in Texas, no matter what part of the state you’re in, brings a burst of life and colors to the varied landscapes, creating the perfect backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. From winding trails along the riverbanks to panoramic views of the Hill Country and beyond, this region offers an array of hiking opportunities. This spring, explore some of the best hikes to take in the Colorado River watershed where springs flow, rivers rush, and the countryside erupts with color.

1. McKinney Roughs Nature Park – Riverside Trail – 3.2 miles:

Located just east of Austin, McKinney Roughs Nature Park boasts several trails that wind through a variety of iconic Texas scenes. From riverbanks to dense oak and cedar woodlands, hikers can choose routes that cater to different skill levels. A favorite among the Colorado River Land Trust staff is the Riverside Trail that offers serene views of the Colorado River and is especially picturesque during spring when wildflowers blanket the landscape.

2. Pedernales Falls State Park – Wolf Mountain Trail – 8.25 miles:

Pedernales Falls State Park, known for its stunning waterfalls and rugged terrain, offers the Wolf Mountain Trail for those seeking a challenging hike. As you ascend the tree-lined trail, enjoy panoramic views of the Pedernales River and the surrounding Hill Country. Springtime brings a variety of colors to the park, with bluebonnets and other wildflowers dotting the landscape.

3. Colorado Bend State Park – Gorman Falls Trail – 2.8 miles:

A true gem of the Hill Country, the Gorman Falls Trail in Colorado Bend State Park leads hikers to the breathtaking Gorman Falls. This moderate hike takes you through canyons and across Texas prairies, culminating in the sight of a 60-foot waterfall surrounded by fern-covered grottos. Like many trails in the region, make sure to wear proper footwear as the trail can be rocky and slick in the areas near the waterfall.

4. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge – Quarry Canyon Trail – 2.1 miles:

For hikers looking to catch a glimpse of Texas’ iconic wildlife, the Quarry Canyon Trail at Warbler Vista in Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit. The trail offers expansive views of the Texas Hill Country and glimpses of various native wildlife, making it a unique and rewarding hike. Make sure to hike to the Sunset Deck at Warbler Vista where you can see spectacular views of Lake Travis and the Texas Hill Country. 

5. Bastrop State Park – Lost Pines Loop Trail – 9.8 miles:

Bastrop State Park, known for its Lost Pines, offers the Lost Pines Loop Trail—a scenic hike through an expansive pine forest. Springtime brings a burst of greenery to the area, offering unique scenery that can only be found in this part of Central Texas. The trail showcases the distinctive part of Bastrop County that’s home to vital wildlife habitat and towering pines.

6.San Angelo State Park – Burkett Trail – 1.6 miles:

Venture west to San Angelo and explore Burkett Trail in San Angelo State Park, a hidden gem within the Colorado River watershed. This trail offers a taste of West Texas hiking, winding through the park’s scenic landscapes dotted with cactus and providing breathtaking views of the Concho River.

Whether you’re seeking a challenging ascent, a riverside stroll, or an easygoing adventure, the hikes mentioned above offer a taste of the variety of natural beauty that awaits in our region. So, lace up your hiking boots and embrace the beauty of spring on the trails across the Texas Colorado River watershed.