We all know Austinites love their hiking but visiting Mayfield Park and Zilker over and over again can get boring. Instead of running the same trails, hop in your car and visit some of the amazing state parks that surround the city. Some feature waterfalls while others feature steep hikes. All of them will lead you to a new adventure.

Photos and Words By: Hayden Pigott

Balcones Canyonlands National Wlidlife Refuge

Located near Marble Falls, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge has a little something for everyone.There is a paved trail for those who want to hike but might have slight access problems and then there is the loop trail that takes you up the steep side of the hill and drops you back down the other side. You get amazing views from the top of a beautiful valley in the hill country, what more could you ask for?

Enchanted Rock State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

If you love water Pedernales Falls State Park is the spot for you. It is located just outside of Johnson City and features tons of hikes along with the Pedernales River. They have miles of hiking and biking trails made for every kind of hiker. Make sure to bring your swim suit as you can spend hours lounging in the cool, clear waters. Also, if you have a horse, feel free to take it on the many horseback riding trails throughout the park.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Get ready to be out of breath for this hike. Enchanted Rock is located outside of Llano and is literally a bald rock out in the middle of the Hill Country. You can see it from miles away and once you reach the peak you can see everything for miles. The best way to see all that the park has to offer is just to hike to the top, there is a very well-marked path and the park is usually busy. Make sure to go in the winter time when it isn’t too hot yet; there is no shade.

Buescher State Park

Located just on the other side of Bastrop, Buescher State Park is ideal if you are looking for a good place to camp or do some hiking around a lake. You can even rent out their event hall for “glamping” which sits up on a hill so you have the perfect view of the sunset. Most of the trails in the park lead you down or around the lake at some point and the lake is very photo-worthy.

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