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National Trails Day

I was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania in a small town called Boiling Springs. My hometown is particularly important on the east coast because it marks the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail (AT). The Trail starts in Georgia and travels north over 2,000 miles to its terminus in Maine. Boiling Springs is a hub for thru-hikers as a place where they can restock on supplies, grab a warm meal, and get a good night’s sleep before heading back out on the trail.

I met several hikers throughout the years and learned a great deal about them, about the AT, and about the long-trail hiking culture. Lots of hikers walk the trail because they love nature. Some want to complete it for personal pride. Others hike it in search of closure after a life-changing event. Many describe it as “finding yourself.” Completing the Appalachian Trail can be cathartic, reminding those who do it of their personal strength and ambition.

The Appalachian Trail is the only trail offering a rewarding challenge. Embarking on a nature walk, no matter the length, opens our creativity and lets our minds wander away from the distractions of society. Trails take us on a journey through nature, allowing us to explore our environment as well as our personal strengths.

In honor of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 2nd, Texas Children in Nature has compiled a list of interesting places to explore in nature with family and friends. National Trails Day is a time to celebrate and appreciate how we most commonly navigate the outdoors. It’s also a time to get involved with a host of activities and events taking places across the state.

You and your family can even register for a volunteer workday in most cities. Texas Children in Nature can get you connected to the nearest walking, biking, paddling or horseback trails via our website Nature Rocks Texas. Here are a few of our favorite trails in your area.

Short Nature Walks: If you want to enjoy a walk in nature with little ones we have found some fun walks that are short in distant, but long on adventure.

Austin - Forest Trail (Austin Nature Science Center)

Caprock -

Coastal Bend - Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve (OSO Bay Wetlands Preserve)

Dallas/Fort Worth - Trinity River Audubon Center

Houston - Nature Discovery Center

Pineywoods - Banita Creek Trail

Rio Grande Valley - Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area

San Antonio - Skip's Pond Trail Route

Long Nature Walks: If you are looking for a walk in nature that offers some real distances, here are a few we recommend. When taking a long walk, remember to pack lots of water, know your limits, tell someone where you are going and when you will return.

Austin - Violet Crown Trail

Caprock - Lower Canyon Trail

Coastal Bend - Padre Island National Seashore

Dallas/Fort Worth - Fort Worth Trinity River Trails

Houston - Lonestar Hiking Trail

Pineywoods - 4C Natioinal Recreational Trail

Rio Grande Valley - Gator Pond Trail

San Antonio - Government Canyon State Natural Area

Places to Paddle: Who says a trail has to be on land? Texas Parks and Wildlife has designated over 50 paddling trails throughout the state. A paddling trip with the family is a great way to explore in nature when the weather is warm.

Austin - Lady Bird Lake

Coastal Bend - Mustang Island Paddling Trail

Dallas/Fort Worth - Paddle Point Creek

Houston - Armand Bayou Paddling Trail

Pineywoods - Mineola Bigfoot Paddling Trail

San Antonio - Saspamco Paddling Trail

Whimsical Walks: Take a walk on the whimsical side. Each of these trails are offer something fun and unusual for those that choose to travel them.

Austin - Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden

Caprock - Amarillo Zoo

Coastal Bend - Texas State Aquarium

Dallas/Fort Worth - Dallas Arboretum and Gardens

Houston - Lost Lake

Pineywoods - Ellen Trout Zoo

Rio Grande Valley - Quinta Mazatlan

San Antonio - Japanese Tea Garden at Brackenridge Park

Cave Crawls: Get out of the heat and explore underground this summer. Central Texas has some very interesting caves that offer a journey of a different type.

Austin - Airman's Cave

San Antonio - Natural Bridge Caverns

Equestrian Trails: Texas has such a deep history and love of horses. There are still places to ride horses of your own or that you can rent for a day.

Austin - Slaughter Creek Trail

Caprock - Old West Stables

Coastal Bend - South Padre Island Adventure Park

Dallas/Fort Worth - Marshall Creek Ranch

Houston - The Spread

Pineywoods - Davey Crockett National Forest

Rio Grande Valley - Texas Border Tours

San Antonio - West Creek Trail Rides

Best Biking: You don’t have to be a master mountain biker to get out to enjoy these trails with your family and friends.

Austin - Walnut Creek Trail

Caprock - Abilene State Park

Coastal Bend - Oso Creek Park

Dallas/Fort Worth - White Rock Lake

Houston - Buffalo Bayou Park

Pineywoods - Hunt's Woods Stephen F. Austin Recreational Trail

Rio Grande Valley - Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

San Antonio - Pepper Creek Trail