3 Adventurous Trails In Texas That Lead To Interesting Rock Formations
If your idea of fun is knocking out a couple of ultra-marathons before lunch you’ll love these adventurous Texas hikes. Not only do you get to trek over sometimes rough terrain you’ll be constantly blasted by the hot desert sun.
Not scared yet? Good, because the reward is worth it. At the end of these tough Texas hikes, you will be rewarded by breathtaking sights and interesting rock formations so grand you’ll be left wondering if giants used to inhabit this land.
1. Lost Maples East Trail - Monkey Rock
Lost Maples East Trail is a beautiful 4.4-mile loop trail near Vanderpool Texas. During those hot Texas months, temps can get pretty steep out there so bring lots of water, and maybe even a hat to cool off the ole dome.
While rated as moderately difficult there are sections that give you a reprieve with an easy trek through the woods. You’ll also find sections with steep grades, slippery loose rocks, and rock-carved steps so be prepared for a good workout.
This hike is definitely worth visiting multiple times throughout the year to see how the different seasons transform the natural beauty around you. If you have a dog family bring them along as dogs are welcome on a leash.
There is a small fee to enter
for anyone over the age of 13.
Keep a lookout for "The Grotto," a section of weird and wild rock formations that look like layers of limestone Swiss cheese.
Another attraction found on a sign-marked offshoot of the Lost Maples East Trail is Monkey Rock. Whatever historic rapidly flowing waterway carved this area of the Sabinal Canyon definitely had a sense of humor, or maybe just a fondness for monkeys.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, USA
2. Lajitas Mesa
Lajitas Mesa is another challenging but beautiful hike that leads to interesting rock formations near Terlingua, Texas. This 8.1-mile out-and-back trail is located in Big Bend Ranch State Park so there is
a small fee to enter the park
unless you already have a Texas state parks pass. Dogs are not allowed.
Unlike the Lost Maples East Trail, this one ups the difficulty scale because there are no shaded areas to catch your breath. Expect tricky footing on loose rocks and sand, as well as sometimes extreme temperatures. Starting in the early morning is a good idea to avoid some of the heat. Being prepared with lots of water and sun protection is a must.
Don’t let the extreme conditions dissuade you because the views are amazing!
Along your route to the stunning views at the summit be sure to appreciate the natural beauty of the desert. Wild spiraling cacti, local lizards chasing in the shadows, and gorgeous surprises of color from bursts of seasonal blooming cacti.
There is more to the desert than one might imagine. Once you get past the dust and blazing sun you’ll be amazed by what beauty you’ll find hidden around you.
When you reach the summit of Lejitas Mesa it will take your breath away. There is no way to capture the sensation with words.
As the wind gives you a nudge toward the edge you might experience a moment of trepidation, but your boots will hold you firmly grounded.
The quiet peacefulness as you gaze miles and miles into the distance makes you appreciate the seemingly infinite world around us.
It’s these moments of accomplishment mixed with awe that truly makes life worth living. And reminds us of our capacity to achieve anything.
Lajitas Mesa, Texas 79852, USA
3. Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail
Our final pick for rewarding but challenging hiking trails in Texas with interesting rock formations is located in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Entrance is free with a yearly National Parks pass, or a day pass is available from the
National Parks Service
for a fee. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
The 8.4-mile out-and-back Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail could take you a good 6-10 hours unless you are a mountain goat. Be prepared with lots of water and maybe even trekking poles, as some of the terrain gets steep quickly - mostly the first and last mile or so. After the steep first mile and a half, you can enjoy a brief reprieve in the shaded high-elevation forest made up of alluring Douglas fir, pinion, and southwestern pine.
Often considered the most challenging hike in Texas your final destination is Guadalupe Peak - the highest point in the state of Texas at 8,749 feet.
After you reach this seemingly sketchy wooden bridge you are on the final climb to the peak. As you make it through a few switchbacks keep an eye out for the top of El Capitan off to the south.
When you reach the summit of Guadalupe Peak be sure to capture a selfie by this summit marker placed in 1958 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the transcontinental stagecoach route Butterfield Overland Mail.
Of course, your main reason for battling this tough Texas hike is the views. And they are MAGICAL. It might be a little daunting for beginner hikers to look out over the infinite landscape before you but we think once you experience it one time you’ll be hooked for life.
Guadalupe Peak Trail, Texas 79847, USA
These three challenging hiking trails in Texas offer some of the most breathtaking views the state has to offer. But don’t stop there, as Texas will surprise you with
numerous other amazing hikes.
Where have your boots found hiking love in Texas? Leave a comment and let us know.
Address: Guadalupe Peak Trail, Texas 79847, USA Address: Lajitas Mesa, Texas 79852, USA Address: Lost Maples State Natural Area, 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, USA
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