Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Display Avatars Sort By:
Martin Ellenberger
texas on 08/25/2013 08:37:33 MDT Print View

I am moving to Texas, the midland area to be specific. I am looking for some places to hike/backpack. I will be traveling to Austin constantly so the hill country is not out of the question. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Search on 08/25/2013 08:45:44 MDT Print View

Search the threads. This has come up before.

With you being that far west, Big Bend is where I'd start. There is a good big bend message board. New Mexico is also close enough so keep that in mind. Guadalupe NP is good for a trip or too. Do it in the fall or winter. Actually do most of texas in the fall or winter!

Central tx. Garner, enchanted rock, Guadalupe bend, etc.
search the state parks site. You can camp, but it's more suited for day hiking with a bit of camping, not true backpacking.

Like I said, there is at least in good thread on it on here already.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: texas on 08/25/2013 08:48:59 MDT Print View

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: texas on 08/25/2013 11:21:03 MDT Print View


Guadalupe Mtns. NP is going to be your best bet for fall/winter/early spring backpacking trips nearest Midland. There's plenty to see and experience in and around the Guadalupe Mtns. Multiday trips are very possible in the Guadalupe Mtns. with creativity, but the sparsity of reliable water makes weekend overnighters the ideal trip length. This region is defined by deep canyons and high mesas. Pine, Juniper, Pinon, Oak, Maple, Mesquite- all tree varieties you can find up above the desert floor where most of the hikes originate in the Guadalupes.

You're less than 5 hours away from the Sacramento Mtns and the White Mountain Wilderness area where you can put any length of trip together. From Ruidoso, NM you can make your way into the White Mountain Wilderness and connect with the Crest Trail starting at Ski Apache (Sierra Blanca. 11,981') and make your way NE along the ridgeline. Wildfires have changed much of the landscape, but the region is slowly recovering and the trails are open and significantly cooler than the high desert below.

Midland to Gila Wilderness. 6-7hr drive and lots of remote canyons and mesas to explore. Easily one of my favorite slices of backcountry heaven. Come here if you want to escape pretty much everything and avoid the crowds. Only "downside" to the Gila now is the prevalent fire damage from a massive fire that wiped nearly the entire forest. Recovery has begun but this region will never be the same. If you do decide to head to the Gila, plan trips down along the Middle and West Fork of the Gila Wilderness where water availability is extremely reliable.

Midland to Pecos Wilderness, Jemez Mtns. 6-7hr drive. Pecos Wilderness is going to be your closest destination for big alpine mountain trips. Hit the road by 4am and you can be on the trail hiking up to an alpine lake by the days end. Worth every bit of the drive. I have friends that made the long drive from OKC to the Pecos for a trip and met up with me for beer and pizza that same afternoon in downtown Santa Fe before hitting the trail in the late afternoon.

Martin Ellenberger
thanks on 08/25/2013 12:17:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I look forward to exploring the dessert there, and all the suggested places in nm.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Midland area hikes on 08/25/2013 14:38:18 MDT Print View

Hey Martin I'm in Midland now too! Maybe I'll see you on a trail somewhere.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Far West TX and Trans-Pecos on 08/25/2013 14:49:59 MDT Print View

Just to add, both Big Bend NP and Big Bend SP have some nice hikes. Also near the Lubbock area there's Caprock SP and Palo Duro Canyon SP, one with a fairly recent "rail to trail" link, though that far north you start getting a taste of those Great Plains winter storms. There is actually a small patch of desert wilderness just east of El Paso TX called the Alamo Mtn, then the Alamo Huecos west of Las Cruces also but if driving that far west, might as well just get your Guad/Gila fix on.

edit: add

Edited by hknewman on 08/25/2013 16:40:54 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Far West TX and Trans Pecos on 08/25/2013 16:23:29 MDT Print View

Thanks HK! I've looked through trip reports on those areas and I'm excited. It will be a different kind of hiking for me. I think I'll have enough weekend trips to keep me busy during the school year. When I have bigger chunks of time off in the spring and summer it will be warmer and I'll probably head up to NM.

I think I need to save up for a Mchale pack to haul my water though...

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Big Bend area on 08/25/2013 19:48:45 MDT Print View

no need for a McHale, just have to know where the water sources are or cache some in advance. Lots of opportunity for deep winter trips down there, most of mine are in December when almost everything else is really getting cold. From Midland it is barely over 4 hours, I spend more time than that getting to some places in the Appalachians for 3 day trips.

Here is link to my Big Bend page

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Big Bend Area on 08/25/2013 21:33:06 MDT Print View

Alex I'd just about talked myself into a McHale pack and now you ruined it...

Seriously though thanks for the website. I had not seen it but I'll like having that as resources. Since I have family in Virginia I might be checking out some of your North Carolina hikes too.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: texas on 08/27/2013 07:23:28 MDT Print View

Martin...I am also moving to TX...Austin to be precise, leaving tomorrow. I am a little worried that there is no backpacking to be had in the whole state, but it seems like people have some nice suggestions.

Good luck with your move!

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
There's no basement in the Alamo on 08/27/2013 12:01:38 MDT Print View

I grew up in Arkansas on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. There are two National Scenic Trails running roughly east-west in the NE part of the state.

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail:

and the Ozark Highlands National Trail:

Also, there is the Arbuckle Mountains in southern OK (straight up I-35 north of Ardmore) where you can hike off-trail and see bison (although I don't think it's very large).

Martin Ellenberger
Thanks on 08/28/2013 10:13:10 MDT Print View

Thanks again to everyone, I too thought that there would be no backpacking within the whole state. I guess that's kinda true, everyone tells me to find trails outside of the state. :-P

Anyone that lives in the midland/odessa area or the austin area that would like to hit the trails starting in december/january send me a PM and we can set up a meetup.