By Amy Taylor @aavtaylor
There is a perfect window for hiking in the Texas Hill Country that occurs every Spring before the blistering temps of Summer arrive. Now, Summer is also a great time for a hike, but you have to bring more water, wear more sunscreen, and keep a sharper eye out for snakes. This could be more of an adventure, but I digress. Marble Falls maintains an incredible opportunity to seek out the best hikes in the Texas Hill Country with proximity to wildlife, lake-life, and the undeniable fresh air.
One of the most popular hikes is Doe Skin Ranch at Balcones Canyonlands, about 25 minutes outside of Marble Falls. The trail entrance is conveniently located right off of RR 1174 and there are more than five miles of foot trails open year-round from sunrise to sunset. From serene walks to more rugged terrain, there is something for everyone at Balcones Canyon Lands.
A beautiful kid-friendly hike is the ½ mile Pond and Prairie Trail that leads you through prairie and woodland forest. The half-mile Creek Trail is another short walking trail that follows a beautiful, clear creek and provides comfortable shade in an old oak forest. The Indiangrass Trail is a beautiful hike that offers a mile and a half of calm solitude with the prairie and forest in the backdrop.
One of the most noteworthy parts of Balcones Canyonlands is the Rimrock Trail. The hike is a vigorous 2.2-mile journey that takes you to the top of a picturesque plateau where you will find spectacular panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country. This trail is by far the most strenuous of the refuge trails but rewards the effort with the gorgeous overlook.
Inks Lake State Park offers 9 miles of hiking trails through shady forests and rocky hills. For avid bird enthusiasts, a Bird Blind was constructed by Master Naturalists to bring a wildlife viewing station to the edge of Inks Lake. With several scenic overlooks, the trails provide new perspectives to take in all that the Texas Hill Country has to offer. About 30 minutes from Marble Falls, this is the perfect place to plan a sunset or sunrise adventure.
Hiking and picnics go hand in hand and Shaffer Bend Recreation Area is ready to host, just 20 minutes from Marble Falls. With a rate set at $5/Adult, picnic tables and grills are available to accommodate any hike around the 508-Acre park that offers plenty of wide-open spaces. This is truly a hike of your own, so make it yours and share the experience with friends and family.
Pace Bend Park is the Texas Hill Country at its finest. Cactus, light brush, and the calming sounds of water in the background highlight the trails. It’s readily accessible and accommodates any hiking expectations while offering a laidback experience to trek along leisurely. About 40 minutes from Marble Falls, this is a rustic getaway that overlooks Lake Travis.
Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center offers a beautiful, semi-private Uplands Trail that winds through a dynamic Live Oak and Ashe Juniper savanna. Operating as a reservation-only experience, be sure to buy your tickets online prior to heading out of town. The center is 28 miles from Marble Falls, in between Cypress Mill and Bee Cave.
Perhaps the most famous state park in Texas, Enchanted Rock State Park exceeds expectations with a massive pink granite dome, unparalleled rock formations, and country legends. There are 11-miles of hiking trails that frame the scenic views, geological wonders, and stunning beauty. The Frontside Trail and Interpretive Trail are easy, family-friendly treks, while the Scenic View Trail, Base Trail, and Turkey Pass Trail offer a more moderate hike. Take on the Summit Trail or the Echo Canyon Trail if you’re looking for a challenge. Enchanted Rock is a natural wonder and a great place to meditate on the simple wonder of life and all that it offers. While this state park is just over an hour from Marble Falls, it is well worth the drive.
Please remember trail etiquette along the way!
- Keep the park natural and leave no trace of trash.
- Do not feed the wildlife.
- Do not disturb or remove any plants or rocks along the trail.
- Keep pets on a leash and in designated areas. Pick up after pets.