The gorgeous scenery, gently winding rivers and interesting wildlife in San Marcos make it a wonderful destination for outdoor lovers of all ages. You can experience the area’s natural beauty in a glass-bottom boat tour at The Meadows Center, in an inner tube floating the San Marcos River, or with a leisurely hike through one of the nearby trail systems. These hikes are not difficult to find—in fact, there are several within city limits that can be completed in under an hour. If you’re looking for something more challenging, there are plenty of options within a short drive of the city. We’ve rounded up the top hikes in the area to get you started. Some are simple, some are challenging, but all feature incredible views, wildlife encounters and a chance to experience something new.
1. The San Marcos River Walk
A trip to Palmetto State Park (located just outside of Gonzales) is well worth the 45-minute drive from San Marcos. The well-maintained and well-shaded trail system is perfect for hikers of all levels, and there is plenty of wildlife to see along the way. Since the three main trails are all fairly short by themselves, loop them together to make for a more substantive hike. But if you’re under a time crunch, at least make sure to do the River Loop Trail—this 1.4-mile loop features river views and just 32 feet of elevation gain. If you have time, finish your hike with the Ottine Swamp trail, which features patches of wild flowers and a series of wooden bridges.
Written by Sarah Strohl for RootsRated Media in partnership with San Marcos CVB.