Well-marked trails, beautiful scenery and accessible amenities all contribute to Garner State Park’s kid-friendly hiking experience. As an iconic Texas park and one of the most scenic camping destinations in the Hill Country area, Garner State Park draws local families from all around. You can pitch a tent and spend the days and nights in the great outdoors, or enjoy the amenities that the area’s vacation rentals have to offer. But, wherever you stay and whatever activities you plan, you won’t want to miss out on these 10 family friendly Garner State Park hikes.
1. Old Entrance Road
The Old Entrance Road trail is considered one of the easiest hikes within Garner State Park. It’s manageable for families with children of all ages, even those with tiny tots who can only travel short distances. The paved road is stroller friendly, so once toddlers tire of scampering along the path, hop them back into the stroller, from where they can enjoy the view. During the spring, the road is a great place to look for golden-cheeked warblers, one of the two endangered bird species that make their home in the park. While you’re on the 0.84-mile hike, see if you and your kids can spot these endangered birds found only in central Texas. You also won’t want to miss the Old Entrance Road Overlook for a panoramic view of the Frio Canyon.
2. Blinn River Trail
Also considered one of the easiest hikes in Garner State Park, The Blinn River Trail is just over half a mile on relatively even ground. More of a stroll than an intensive hike, the Blinn River Trail traces the Frio River. It’s a top pick for families with younger children, who will enjoy spotting wildlife that make their homes in the area. The cooling spray of the river is also a treat.
3. Frio Canyon Trail
A longer hike for beginners, the Frio Canyon Trail a little under three miles over relatively flat ground. The trail is both hiking and biking accessible, so visitors can explore the vastness of the Frio Canyon cruising on a bike or on foot. Be sure to stop at the vantage points along the way for stunning mountain views; the hill country ranks highly for its beauty.
4. Donovan Trail
Considered moderate in difficulty but relatively short, the Donovan Trail is highly recommended for animal enthusiasts. If you have young explorers in your family, won’t want to miss some of the best examples of habitats the Hill Country has to offer. The canyon is home to numerous animal species, from white-tailed deer to fox squirrels. From the park, hikers can also spot a variety of migratory birds, including two endangered species: the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo.
5. Foshee Trail
Another ideal hiking trail for adventurists, the Foshee Trail provides access to most of the back country area of Garner State Park. The trail is about 1.66 miles in distance, and also intersects with a number of other trails. If you and your family enjoy seeing where the road takes you, the Foshee Trail is the place to start.
6. Bridges Trail
The reward for completing the Bridges Trail is a stunning view of Old Baldy, one of the most iconic monuments within the park. Like Old Baldy, the surrounding hills were formed when limestone in the Edwards Plateau uplifted. The Bridges trail leads to Painted Rock Overlook, from which you can rest under the shade of the giant Ashe juniper tree while taking in the view. The steep terrain may make the hike difficult for young children. All hikers, regardless of age, should be careful on the loose rocks. The trails is about 0.65 miles.
7. Crystal Cave Trail
The 0.62-mile trail leads to the Crystal Cave, one of Garner State Park’s natural wonders. Families who prefer to learn more about the Hill Country landscape can choose to tour with a guide. Otherwise, don’t forget a flashlight as you venture into the 30-foot deep cave. Note that both the Crystal Cave and the trail can be challenging at times.
8. Old Baldy Trail
A little over half a mile, the trail follows a steep climb up to Old Baldy Summit. The hike isn’t easy, but the bird’s eye view of the Frio River Canyon is well worth the trek. The path can be rocky and steep at times, due to the rock formations that were created millions of years ago. Part of the dramatic terrain, alongside the deep canyons, high mesas and carved limestone cliffs, the trail traverses Old Badly to give you a view from above.
9. Old Horse Trail
Travel through trees and on the slope of a mountain on a narrow horse trail just under half a mile. The trail is several hundred feet about the Old Entrance Road, and looks out over the canyon. The Old Horse Trail is where you’ll find new appreciation for the vastness of hill country.
10. Ashe Juniper Trail
From the Ashe Juniper Trail, both hikers and bikers can travel on a 2.5-mile route close to the park’s boundaries. The trail offers backside views of Old Baldy, and is easily accessible from the Youth Group Camping area.