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8 Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

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Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

The Hill Country offers a plethora of lakes, rivers, hike and bike trails, and other public spaces where you can engage in pretty much any outdoor sport or Elite Sports you can think of. Most of the state parks in the area have specific trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking. If road bikes are more your speed, you can find trails with smoother terrain and paved road routes.

The best part about outdoor activities is you can usually find at least one other person to participate with you. Windsurfing? Join the Austin Windsurf Club. Running? Try the San Antonio RoadRunners. Running and drinking beer? There’s definitely a Hash House Harriers club nearby.

Here are some more great places to exercise outdoors in the Hill Country.

1. Hit The Trail

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Hiking is low impact, low cost, and you can find a trail in nearly any Hill Country town. The state and country parks in the area offer miles and miles of trails ranging from easy, relatively flat terrain to rugged routes with frequent elevation changes.

The plethora of hiking opportunities can be overwhelming, so the best place to start is at a state park. For example, Colorado Bend State Park has over 32 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails winding through different habitats, including caves and waterfalls.

2. Ride a Bike

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

Cyclists and mountain bikers of all ages and skill levels can find various trails and routes throughout the scenic Texas Hill Country. All of the state parks in the area offer miles of trails, which vary in surface type and distance. If you want to stay in an urban setting, look for a city trail like the multi-use hike and bike trail at Lady Bird Lake in Austin.

Road cyclists have hundreds of miles of scenic routes to choose from in the Hill Country, including family-friendly cruises between small towns and challenging, hilly rides.

3. Grab a Paddle – or Two

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: tpwd.texas.gov

The many scenic lakes and waterways of the Texas Hill Country are perfect for almost any paddle sport. You can burn some calories kayaking or canoeing along a slow-moving river, while enjoying the views of the natural habitats on the shore. Stand up paddle boarding is also a popular sport on rivers and streams, as well as lakes.

The Texas Paddling Trails program provides maps, signage, and information on fishing and wildlife, so you can plan a quick excursion or a day-long trip on the water.

4. Go For a Run

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: Flickr / Jack

With all the state parks located in the Texas Hill Country, it’s no wonder this area is a favorite among runners. Many of the trails offer both paved roads and smooth surface trails perfect for both short runs and longer training runs. Stick to designated trails in these parks, as you might run into rugged terrain or some of the native wildlife off the trail. Try the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail or the San Antonio River Walk Trail if you prefer to run in an urban setting with plenty of bathroom and water stops.

If you don’t like to run alone, you can find plenty of groups like the Hill Country Trail Runners or the Austin Runners Club.

5. Take a Swim

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: austinparks.org

When you think of swimming in the Texas Hill Country, you might think of the refreshing swimming holes scattered throughout the area. They might be great for relaxing on a hot day, but if you want to get some exercise, you might need to pick another spot. Deep Eddy Pool in Austin is a man-made, spring-fed pool with lanes for swimming laps and a wading area.

If you would rather swim in open water, check out any of the lakes in the Highland Lakes system. Be sure to check for designated swimming areas, so you know you will stay clear of boats.

6. Practice Fresh Air Yoga

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: pureaustin.com

Outdoor yoga classes add a different element to the practice and will help you reestablish your link with nature. The Hill Country offers some of the best weather and locations, so yoga enthusiasts have plenty of opportunities to take their practices outside.

The Austin Parks Foundation sponsors Yoga in the Park, which features various types of yoga classes held at city parks throughout the year. Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg offers Yoga By The Vines classes in their shaded patio overlooking the vineyards. Mobile Om in San Antonio takes yoga to different places throughout the city, from rooftops to pedestrian bridges to outdoor plazas.

7. Hit the Golf Course

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo: az760333.vo.msecnd.net

The Texas Hill Country is home to some of the best golf courses in Texas. Its diverse environment includes rolling hills, green ranch lands, and desert-like terrain, which add and interesting element to each golf course. Some courses, like the Hill Country Golf Course in San Antonio, span hundreds of acres and feature dramatic hillsides, wooded ravines and plateaus, and lakes and ponds.

From Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Golf Course to the exclusive Austin Country Club, you’ll find a course to fit your skill level and budget.

8. Climb a Rock

Great Ways to Exercise in The Hill Country

Photo:  tpwd.texas.gov

The Texas Hill Country has recently gained popularity among rock climbers. Only a handful of state parks offer rock climbing and rappelling, but each is located in its own unique, natural environment.

Enchanted Rock is known for its pink granite dome, which is popular among hikers. Rock climbers have found some more challenging climbs in the area, so it is now a go-to destination for avid climbers. Other state and city parks with rock climbing opportunities include, McKinney Falls State Park, Pace Bend Park, and Pedernales Falls State Park. Texas Climbing Adventures offers trips to Enchanted Rock and sites around Austin.