Texas State Parks Want You to Take A Hike
With 94 state parks, hikers of all abilities will have no trouble finding the kind of trail – flat and wooded to rocky and mountainous – to tackle for healthy, low-impact exercise, to burn some calories and to get close to nature. After all, hiking is one of Texas State Parks’ most popular activities.
A survey of Texas State Park visitors conducted from 2002 to 2007 at 70 state parks revealed that hiking ranked highest for recreational activities participated in for both day users and overnight visitors. Thirteen percent of day park users listed hiking/walking park trails as the primary reason for a state park day trip, second only to sightseeing/scenery. Day park users also ranked trail improvements (signage/trail map/more trails) second only to “more interpretive programs” as the “most desired park improvement” they’d like to see.
As if to prove that point, on Jan. 1, more than 1,000 people headed to one of 47 Texas State Parks to participate in the parks’ inaugural First Day Hike program, part of a national effort sponsored by the National Association of State Parks. Lake Brownwood State Park reported 133 participants lined up at the gate to get in on the New Year’s Day fun.
Now is a great time to take to the trails in a state park near you, according to Brent Leisure, director of Texas State Parks. Dozens of state parks throughout the state have recently upgraded existing trails or added to their trail system.
“Outdoor activities like hiking are gaining popularity and are ideal for winter months which is off-season for most parks, bringing fewer crowds and many days of mild weather,” says Leisure. “Many of our parks either have just completed or are in the process of renovating and improving their hike and bike trails.”
From easy hiking trails like those at Brazos Bend State Park and Dinosaur Valley state parks that put hikers eye-to-eye with alligators and dinosaur footprints, respectively, to challenging desert trails covering 18 miles at Big Bend Ranch State Park in far west Texas, the Texas State Park trail system makes for happy feet.
Park rangers remind trail users to don sturdy footwear, bring along a hiking stick and pack plenty of water for your trek. Park entrance fees apply at most parks.
For more information on hiking in East Texas State Parks visit: http://myetx.com.previewdns.com/state-parks/