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25+ Best Hiking Trails in Texas with Waterfalls

Discovering the hidden gems of Texas isn’t just hiking through deserts and tumbleweed as some people like to imagine; it’s also about unearthing its stunning natural beauty filled with water and crystal-clear rivers, especially the best hiking trails with waterfalls.

As a Texas travel blogger who’s walked these paths and soaked up the views firsthand, I’m excited to share with you my top picks for waterfall hikes that promise both adventure and spectacular scenery. Some of the best waterfalls include a moderate hike. 

Thank you so much Merrell x LTK for sponsoring this post! It takes a lot of work to explore all these places, sometimes chasing leads that don’t actually amount to anything. With sponsors like Merrell, we can continue to provide valuable resources to you! With the help of Merrell we can help share some of the best places to enjoy the most beautiful waterfalls whether it’s a popular spot or a more hidden gem. 

We are so fortunate to have so much natural beauty in our state of Texas. I cannot talk about hiking in the great lone star state of Texas without talking about how important it is to protect our nature! Please stay on paths, pick up your trash, and don’t take anything from where you hike. Many places have been destroyed due to sensitive environments and people touching what they shouldn’t. Let’s make sure that nature is around for others to enjoy.

Looking for other best hiking spots in Texas? Check out these blogs and let your Merrell shoes take you to new heights on these trails.

Best Hiking Shoes When Visiting Texas Waterfalls

The great thing about hiking is that you can show up as you are. I have many times gone hiking with just simple tennis shoes, and a hiking shoe shouldn’t be a barrier to exploring all the outdoors has to offer.

However, if you are looking to upgrade your hiking game with the right hiking shoe that will help increase stability and comfort, the Merrell Moab Speed 2 is an incredible choice for  traversing Texas’ diverse terrains, from its rocky paths to slick riverbanks.

a person's feet in a field of flowers

This is exactly why I’ve fallen in love with the Merrell Moab 2 hiking shoe after getting to test it out. The first time I slipped my feet into a pair, I was surprised at how light they were, despite looking like they would be heavier with all the support they have.  They offer unparalleled support and comfort, a must-have for those long trails leading up to breathtaking waterfall views. Here are some of the things that make this a solid shoe for hiking to Texas waterfalls or any hike.

  • Durable Vibram® soles makes for maximum stability and minimal slippage
  • Certain waterproof styles provide protection from water seeping into shoes. When I’m crossing through creeks to get to the waterfall, my feet still stay dry.
  • Breathable and able to expel water – my feet aren’t getting too sweaty
  • Clean NXT treated (so less smelly shoes)
  • Large portions of the shoe made from recycled materials
  • Protections when potentially stepping on sharp or painful rocks and debris

Basically, it’s an all-around solid shoe for a little over $100. And it’s not just me singing the praises of the Moab Speed 2 as my go-to hiking shoe. This is the favored hiking brand for shoes of many seasoned hikers who have reviewed the shoe as durable, comfortable, and stable!

Best Hiking Trails to Texas Waterfalls

 Hamilton Pool Preserve

Nestled just a short drive from Austin, Hamilton Pool is a vision straight out of a fantasy novel. The swimming hole, with its 50-foot waterfall cascading into a serene pool, surrounded by massive slabs of limestone is a sight to behold and a must-visit for any nature enthusiast. It’s a short hike to get there and you do need to make reservations beforehand for it. 

a waterfall on a cliff

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls, located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, features cascading water over layered steps of limestone. As soon as you reach the overlook, you see vast areas of water with so many different falls and bends to explore. While you can’t swim at the falls, you can visit further down if you would like to swim.

Gorman Falls

This spot in Colorado Bend State Park, is a hidden treasure that feels like a step into another world. The hike is challenging but incredibly rewarding and includes a difficult and slippery slope that you navigate by rope to keep your balance. In times like this, the Moab 2 really helps provide that extra stability and comfort!

However, this fun trail ends up leading you to a 70-foot tall waterfall. The moss and fern-coated cliffs create a cool, misty microenvironment that’s refreshingly unique in the Texas landscape.

the gorman falls

McKinney Falls State Park

Located on the outskirts of Austin, McKinney Falls offers easy trails leading to the beautiful Onion Creek where you can find both the Upper and Lower Falls. These falls, though not as tall as others, present a tranquil spot for picnics, a gentle swim, or simply enjoying the soothing sounds of water, and also make a good swimming spot!

 Inks Lake State Park

A gem in the Texas Hill Country, Inks Lake State Park is renowned for its  scenic landscapes and the wildflowers and cacti that grow among the trails. The park offers a variety of trails, but the one leading upriver of Devil’s Waterhole along Pecan Trail is especially memorable, featuring small waterfalls after fresh rain and inviting pools. There are so many different routes to take which you can choose depending on your skill level and some even involve minor rock climbing, which makes the grip of the Moab 2 a particular benefit!

An interesting highlight of Inks Lake State Park is the striking pink granite formations that dot the landscape. The warm hues of the rock, particularly at sunrise or sunset, create a captivating backdrop against the lush greenery and sparkling waters of the park. 

Chalk Ridge Falls

Tucked away beneath the Stillhouse Hollow Lake dam, Chalk Ridge Falls Park is a sanctuary of tranquility. The main attraction, Chalk Ridge Falls, is a series of small waterfalls flowing over a chalky limestone bed, bordered by a lush forested area. The suspension bridge near the falls adds a picturesque touch to the hike, making it a perfect spot for photography.

the chalk ridge falls

Marion Sansom Park

Located in Fort Worth, Marion Sansom Park is a popular destination for both hikers and mountain bikers. The park features several trails that lead to a stunning waterfall, especially after a rainfall. The rugged terrain surrounding the waterfall provides a challenging hike with rewarding views of the natural landscape and Lake Worth at the summit.

a waterfall with rocks and trees

Garner State Park

Nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Garner State Park draws visitors with its clear streams, picturesque landscapes, and an abundance of recreational activities. The Frio River, winding through the park, offers a cool respite during the hot Texas summers and provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.

Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the park’s over 16 miles of scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the Frio River below.  One of our favorite hikes is the Blinn River trail, beyond where most people visit to a hidden inlet of clear water pools and miniature waterfalls that are stunning. 

a river with rocks and trees

St. Edwards Park

Clinging to the edges of Austin, St. Edwards Park is a slice of wilderness in the urban landscape. This underrated park features a variety of trails perfect for hikers, trail runners, and nature lovers seeking solace from the city’s hustle. The Bull Creek runs through the park, creating serene water spots and small waterfalls particularly enchanting after periods of rain.

With its rugged beauty, St. Edwards Park is a testament to the natural splendor that can be found right within city limits.

Crockett Gardens and Falls

Located within the Georgetown area, Crockett Gardens and Falls are part of the larger Lake Georgetown. Accessible via the Good Water Trail, these gardens are a historical site with a hidden surprise.

The first homestead in the area, now overgrown with lush vegetation, leads to the stunning falls. The spring-fed waterfall cascading into a clear pool below is a serene destination for hikers. The gardens and falls, resonating with both history and natural beauty, offer a peaceful retreat into nature.

a small waterfall over a rock

Window Trail Waterfalls at Big Bend National Park

The Window Trail, located in the heart of Big Bend National Park, is a captivating hike that culminates in a unique natural feature, the Window Waterfalls. This trail offers a moderate trek that winds through stunning canyons and ends at a narrow pour-off, providing an awe-inspiring view where water cascades through a gap in the canyon walls, especially after rain.

The trek to the Window Waterfalls is as rewarding as the destination itself, offering panoramic views of the Chisos Mountains and a chance to witness the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls at Barton Creek Greenbelt

Nestled within Austin’s urban oasis, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls stand out as popular natural retreats for locals and visitors alike. Twin Falls, easily reachable after a brief hike, mesmerizes visitors with its dual cascades, especially following a good rain. Further along the Greenbelt, Sculpture Falls offers a secluded haven, perfect for swimming and sunbathing on the natural limestone slabs that surround the waterfall.

These spots are prized for their accessibility and the serene experience they offer in the midst of the city’s vibrancy.

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Just a short drive from Austin, the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is a hidden gem that offers guided tours to one of the most pristine natural sanctuaries in Texas. The centerpiece of the preserve is a breathtaking grotto and waterfall, where water cascades over fern-lined travertine columns into a crystal-clear pool below. Surrounded by lush vegetation, this secluded spot is a testament to the beauty and tranquility of nature.

The Discovery Center’s initiative to educate its visitors on environmental preservation makes a trip here not just a visual feast, but an enlightening experience, encouraging a deeper appreciation for natural wonders.

a cave with a pond and a rock formation

Limestone Quarry Park Waterfall, Frisco

Tucked away in a small community park, Limestone Quarry Park is a cherished urban getaway featuring an enchanting waterfall that cascades gently into a picturesque creek below. This small but captivating waterfall, created by the creek as it flows over the limestone formations, offers a serene backdrop for visitors seeking tranquility amidst their busy lives. The park’s natural beauty is complemented by its accessible walking trails, picnic areas, and the clear, cool waters of the creek, which invite visitors to wade and enjoy on warm days.

Limestone Quarry Park not only serves as a beautiful local retreat but also highlights the unexpected natural wonders hidden within urban environments.

Limestone Quarry Park Waterfall

Airfield Falls Trail, Fort Worth

Airfield Falls Trailhead & Conservation Park is a delightful escape for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. It’s the city’s largest natural waterfall, offering a picturesque scene as water tumbles over limestone outcroppings, creating a serene oasis that feels worlds away from urban life. The trail leading to the falls is adorned with aerospace-themed educational signage, paying homage to the nearby Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk amidst the native Texas landscape, culminating at the stunning falls. The addition of a C-9 transport aircraft display near the trailhead provides a unique historical touch, making Airfield Falls Trail not just a natural retreat, but a fascinating nod to Fort Worth’s rich aviation history.

Wolf Creek Lake Waterfall, Palestine

Deep in the heart of East Texas, nestled among the towering pines and lush foliage of Palestine, lies the hidden gem of Wolf Creek Lake Waterfall. This tranquil spot is a testament to nature’s ability to carve beauty into the landscape, with water cascading down a rocky slope into the serene waters of Wolf Creek Lake below. The waterfall, while not as large as some, captivates with its peaceful ambiance and the melodious sound of falling water.

It’s a favorite among locals for picnicking, photography, and simply soaking in the beauty of untouched nature. The area around Wolf Creek Lake also offers fishing and kayaking opportunities, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Prairie Creek Waterfall, Richardson

Located in the bustling suburb of Dallas, Richardson, this hidden gem offers a surprising natural beauty. While it’s not necessarily a hike to get there, it’s a whole park and you could turn it into an adventure by walking on the trails. 

me sitting on a rock ledge with a waterfall

Krause Springs, Spicewood

A trip to the Hill Country is incomplete without a visit to the enchanting Krause Springs in Spicewood. Known for its lush gardens, butterfly-filled groves, and natural swimming holes, Krause Springs offers a scenic oasis that feels like stepping into a living fairy tale. The property boasts 32 springs, with a man-made pool and a natural pool that flows into Lake Travis.

It’s a great place for swimming, picnicking, and camping because of the towering cypress trees and picturesque waterfall. The springs are privately owned but open to the public, providing a perfect escape into nature’s beauty, meticulously maintained for generations.

a waterfall in a forest

Nichols Green Park Waterfall, Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Texas, might not be the first place you think of when dreaming of waterfalls, but nestled within Nichols Green Park lies a captivating, gentle waterfall that surprises and delights visitors. This hidden gem is part of a beautifully maintained park that includes walking trails, fishing ponds, and disc golf courses, making it a haven for both nature lovers and those seeking leisure activities.

The waterfall itself, while modest in size, creates a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for a moment of reflection or a peaceful picnic. Its accessibility and the serene environment of Nichols Green Park make it a cherished spot among locals and a pleasant surprise for travelers.

Madrid Falls, Big Bend Ranch State Park

Nestled within the vast expanses of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Madrid Falls emerges as Texas’s hidden treasure, standing as the second-highest waterfall in the state. This remarkable natural wonder is tucked away in a remote section of the park, offering a sense of solitude and untouched beauty to those adventurous enough to undertake the journey. The falls cascade gracefully over rugged cliffs, creating a serene and picturesque landscape.

Accessing Madrid Falls requires a bit of effort, including a hike through some of the park’s most stunning and diverse terrain, but the reward is a breathtaking view and the tranquility of one of Texas’s most secluded natural attractions. It’s an essential visit for those seeking to explore the wilder side of Texas’s natural beauty.

Cattail Falls, Big Bend National Park

Hidden within the arid landscapes of Big Bend National Park, Cattail Falls is a refreshing oasis that captures the hearts of all who discover it. This secluded waterfall is nestled at the end of a trail that meanders through diverse ecosystems, offering glimpses of the unique flora and fauna that inhabit the area. The trail’s culmination at Cattail Falls presents a stunning contrast to the surrounding desert scenery, with water cascading over rocks into a clear, inviting pool below.

The tranquility and natural beauty of the falls make it a perfect spot for contemplation and connection with nature. Though lesser-known and requiring a bit of a hike, Cattail Falls remains one of the most magical and rewarding experiences within Big Bend National Park.

Dolan Falls, Del Rio

Situated on the pristine Devil’s River, Dolan Falls stands as a captivating spectacle of natural beauty near Del Rio, Texas. With its waters gracefully streaming over layered limestone formations, Dolan Falls creates a mesmerizing visual and auditory experience for its visitors. As one of the most pristine river ecosystems in the state, the area around Dolan Falls offers a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife and an array of native plants, making it a prime spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Access to the falls is regulated to preserve its untouched beauty, ensuring that those who visit are treated to the rare sight of nature in its most unadulterated form. The trip to Dolan Falls, while requiring special permissions, promises an unforgettable experience blending adventure, tranquility, and the irreplaceable opportunity to connect with the wild heart of Texas.

Waterfalls at Azteca Park in Laredo

A lesser known waterfall, but a gorgeous one to visit when you are in South Texas (yes, there are waterfalls you can hike to in South Texas). This short and flat hike is truly one of those less discovered gems. Make sure to go right after a rainfall for the best flow and cleanest water, as sadly trash does tend to collect in this area. And since I know people will ask, Laredo is one of the safest places in Texas and you have nothing to fear, even if it’s close to the border.

a water falling into a body of water

Boykin Springs in Angelina National Forest

Nestled within the lush confines of Angelina National Forest, Boykin Springs offers visitors a serene escape into nature. Known for its enchanting waterfall. The area is a haven for those seeking peace and natural beauty. Surrounded by towering pines and verdant foliage, the springs and its surrounding trails invite adventurers to explore the heart of East Texas wilderness.

Whether it’s picnicking by the water’s edge, hiking through the forest, or simply enjoying the tranquil sounds of flowing water, Boykin Springs is a jewel in the landscape, promising a refreshing experience away from the hustle of modern life.

Turner Falls in Davis, Oklahoma

While technically outside of Texas, Turner Falls is a popular destination for many Texans looking for an impressive waterfall experience, and I felt it had to be included as a relatively short drive from Dallas. As the largest waterfall in Oklahoma, it cascades 77 feet into a natural swimming pool, making it a favorite spot for both relaxation and recreation.

The surrounding area, part of the Arbuckle Mountains, offers hiking trails, caves, and campsites, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the great outdoors. With its breathtaking views and plethora of activities, Turner Falls is a must-visit for anyone craving an adventure in nature.

a waterfall on a rocky hill

Final Thoughts on Best Hiking Trails to Texas Waterfalls

Visiting these waterfalls and hiking their surrounding trails have given me a profound appreciation for Texas’ diverse natural beauty. Each trail offers a unique experience, from the magical ambiance of Hamilton Pool Preserve to the rugged adventure of Gorman Falls. For anyone looking to explore the best hiking trails in Texas with waterfalls, these spots surely promise memorable adventures in the great outdoors.

me sitting on a rocky hill

me sitting on a rock

Last Updated 1 week ago by Jessica Serna | Published: March 23, 2024

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