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3 Texas Hikes to Take in Summer That Won’t Melt Your Face Off

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Summer’s here and the hiking is easy…well, sort of. If you’re an avid outdoors person, there are some prime areas in Texas where you can take a hike, and not melt in the summer sun. They offer some of the more accessible and adaptable ways for people to get out by themselves or as a family and enjoy the great outdoors. Boasting a wide array of hikes for every ability as well, one can stroll along enjoying the scenery, or take treks for miles, through thick woods, into open country, or along high inclines that require moderate to extreme effort. Here are three summer Texas hikes to enjoy when the heat’s a little too much to bear.

1. Sam Houston National Forest

Three Texas Hikes to Take in Summer That Won’t Melt Your Face Off

Photo: Facebook/Suzanna Reeves

Along the portion of the East Texas Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Sam Houston National Forest, between Evergreen and Cleveland, is a good 27-mile shaded, narrow path you might find is worth your while to hike along. Designated a National Recreation Trail, the trees are tagged every 25 to 50 yards, marking the route, however, the Sam Houston National Forest district ranger’s office will also have maps for those that require them (located in New Waverly). Magnolias and pines provide shade along the trail, which also passes through some swampy areas and thick brush, crosses a number of creeks and even the eastern fork of the San Jacinto River. Along the way, you may encounter quail, rabbits, turkeys, and possibly some white-tailed deer. It’s an invigorating chance to get out for a summer Texas hike in an area that feels slightly untamed, and won’t make you want to find the nearest air conditioning unit to sit in front of!

2. Lost Maples State Natural Area

Three Texas Hikes to Take in Summer That Won’t Melt Your Face Off

Photo: Facebook/Texas Back Roads

Taking this park’s East Trail will guide your hike along a canyon that is bordered by a large stand of Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, which give the park its name. It also traverses along the gorgeous and clear Sabinal River. Although fall time is often a crowd-drawer for the changing of the leaves, summer hikes here offer the chance to leave the crowds behind, make your way up to a rocky plateau, and catch some of the most breathtaking views in the area. From here, the trail descends considerably to the shady Can Creek, finishing with a tempting waterfall and swimming hole. And if you’ve managed to make it that far, your reward is another thick stand of shady maples!

3. Big Thicket National Preserve

Three Texas Hikes to Take in Summer That Won’t Melt Your Face Off

Photo: Facebook/Kokopelli Travels

With roughly 100,000 acres in care by the National Park Service, Big Thicket National Preserve presents some excellent opportunities for summer Texas hikes in a vast ecosystem. Forests of pine, hardwood, and cypress are only three of the rare combination of 85 tree species the Thicket presents. There are also 26 species of ferns, four carnivorous plants (yikes!), and 20 orchid species. While you’re hiking in the cool shade of its forests, you’ll spot some of the 186 bird species, and need to be wary and vigilant for the 50 reptile species it’s home to. Eight hiking trails are available in varying lengths, leaving just you and Mother Nature to chat it up in the summer Texas temperatures. Some trails pass through dense stands of hardwoods, and even bamboo, and parallel creek beds in the area, where it’s rumored that otters like to play! That would definitely be a “cool” thing to see on a summer hike in Texas.