Nature

5 Under the Radar Must-Try Hikes to Take in the Texas Hill Country

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Everything is bigger in Texas! This sentiment applies to the plethora of  Texas’ state parks, natural areas, historic sites, and its five state forests. Let’s not forget to mention the national parks and forests that can also be found throughout our great state. With the wide-range of prime hiking hot spots to choose from, here are a few under the radar bucket list must-try hikes:

Purgatory Creek

1. Reimers Ranch

Reimers Ranch is for the outdoor aficionado. The ranch is perhaps more well known as it is located in Travis County. However, being located in the small town of Dripping Springs, it is a bit off the beaten path. It features rock climbing, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hiking, and even equestrian trail riding. There is a canyon and a forest preserve all along the Pedernales River.

2. Turkey Creek Trail

Turkey Creek Trail (off Emma Long) hike is an off-leash area for four-legged friends near Downtown Austin. The off-leash area is a good 2.4 miles and crosses the creek repeatedly. Dogs will love to splash and play, so bring a towel to wipe down your four-legged friend once done. The only downside is parking limited, so be sure to arrive early.

3. Purgatory Creek, Upper Purgatory

Purgatory Creek

This hiking trail tucked away in San Marcos, Texas ranges from easy to very difficult. With stunning canyon bluffs and a limestone grotto, this is a hike not to pass up. Upper Purgatory is located off of West Craddock.

4. Blanco Shoals Natural Area

Blanco Shoals Natural Area is 81 acres west of the Blanco river, underneath the I-35 bridge. This is a completely undeveloped area for hiking and will remain that way except for a few trails being built. There are several types of trees found including large pecan trees and mesquites. The earthy terrain is comprised of shoals, high bluffs, and limestone bedrock. This hike is the most under-the-radar due to the lack of developed trails. Be careful when hiking not to venture through gated fenced areas as the area banks up to private land.

5. Violet Crown Trail

Violet Crown Trail is currently a six-mile segment and is now open in Downtown Austin. The vision for the trail is to be the longest of its kind in Central Texas. When completed, it is projected to expand 30 miles: from Barton Creek to Sunset Valley. The Trail will then lead through never before public access to water quality land. Eventually, the 30-mile trail will span from Barton Creek all the way into Hays County, near Buda. For more information please visit www.violetcrowntrail.com.