Backpacking around Texas could be one of your life’s most exciting experiences. This outdoor experience is best if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure filled with various activities.
Whether you’re a rookie or professional backpacker, you’d enjoy basking the travel opportunities The Lone Star State has to offer as it’s one of the many beautiful places in the world offering diverse activities. To get you going, here are some tips and itinerary ideas you could use:
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1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Without preparation, you’d face many difficulties. One of such is the distance in Texas, which is unlike other states. It may seem reasonable for native Texans, but it’s a long drive for outsiders. What more if you plan to walk such distance. Thus, you might want to consider taking a bus from Dallas to Houston so you’d reach your destination in a much faster way. From there, you can start backpacking to view the highlights of each city.
Mentally preparing yourself for possible distance in Texas is one thing. In addition, be sure to take prepare for the following to ensure you’d survive the Texan weather:
- Always check the forecast to know the hottest time of the day. Then, plan your daily itinerary based on such forecasts. That way, you know when to start, rest, and end the day. And by doing that, you can avoid extreme heat exposure.
- Dress accordingly. If you’re scheduled to trek or hike, it’d be best to wear pants, closed-toe hiking shoes, long socks, and other protective garments. This is essential to avoid bug bites, snake bites, poison ivy, and other toxic elements that you may encounter.
- Stop for eats. By planning your food stops, you can have the proper sustenance to survive backpacking in Texas. It’s also recommended to try local eats like BBQ (barbeque) joints, taco stands, and others offering sumptuous meals. That way, you can immerse yourself in the local Texan food culture.
2. Camp At Pecan Flats
One of the best itinerary ideas you may want to consider is to end your day at Pecan Flats in Inks Lake. This is a perfect camping getaway since it’s secluded, and it’s one of the most preferred sites out of the numerous campsites in Inks Lake. Not only that, but you can also enjoy swimming, cliff jumping, and canoeing in this area.
You can enter the site via the Pecan Flats trailhead and a guide is there to help you understand the plant life and wildlife in this trail. The guides will also help you from getting lost since a large area of limestone can make it hard for you to find your way.
Also, a tip to ensure you get first to Inks Lake is to rise early since dawn is the best time to enjoy the pristine waters. This time also lets you see the wildlife at the park. After swimming, you can also explore the water by canoe to see the infamous Water Moccasin and other water snakes.
And if you reach the Devil’s Waterhole, you can cliff-jump or take a swim in this small canyon-like area.
3. Take A Road Trip At El Paso Road
While the heat can be extreme, you can still trailblaze at El Paso as long as you check the number one tip above. If you love walkathons, you can go for it. But you could also horseback to get the feel of being a Texan cowboy.
The great thing about horseback riding or walking on this road is to see the desert landscapes and mountains surrounding the city. And it’ll be easier to spot the state and national parks which you can hike if you have more days for such activity.
One famous park is the Hueco Tanks State Park which has historic rock art and unique granite landscapes for climbers. And when you continue hiking, you can reach Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where you can find the four tallest Texas mountains and the world’s largest fossil reef.
4. Continue Hiking In East Texas
If you want to continue hiking, don’t miss East Texas. Unlike the arid deserts, East Texas has more forests. In here, you can find exotic plants, meandering streams, and lush hardwood forests found in the Davy Crockett National Forest and other recreation areas.
When traversing the Big Thicket National Preserve, you can also see more wildlife, such as boars and woodpeckers. You can take the small nature trail on this preserve if you want to see the Venus flytrap. This itinerary can be refreshing as you’ll be hiking in forests.
5. Take A Dive At Swimming Holes
Another extraordinary experience when backpacking in Texas is diving in the nation’s best swimming holes. They’re surrounded by natural and scenic views, making the experience relaxing.
You can head to Balmorhea State Park, the largest spring-fed swimming pool located outside the city limits of West Texas. And since West Texas has warm temperatures all year round, the clear water is also warm. Thus, this is perfect for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers wanting to encounter turtles, non-game fish, and other endangered species.
Since it can get crowded during peak seasons, you may want to visit during lean seasons so you’d enjoy the waters with less crowd. If you’re lucky, you’d have it all by yourself.
If you’re visiting Austin and prefer to stay within the city limits, visiting Deep Eddy is perfect for you. It’s in the heart of Austin and also the state’s oldest spring-fed swimming pool. This is especially suitable for serious swimmers as it offers a wading area and six lap lanes.
Another swimming hole within Austin is the Barton Springs Pool. Its temperature ranges from 68-70 degrees throughout the year. What’s even great about it is its shallow kiddie areas that your young ones can enjoy while you’re deep diving.
Level up your backpacking excursion by doing it in Texas. From deserts to forests to swimming holes, you’d never get bored. You get to enjoy various itineraries since there are activities that you may only experience in Texas. Whether you’re a solo backpacker or in groups, these outdoor activities will challenge your adventurous nature. And if you prepare right, you can avoid difficulties.