Adventures and photos by Travis Perkins
From the limestone crags and caves of the Hill Country to the desert mountain winds of West Texas, the Lone Star State will surprise you with its ecological diversity and accessible adventuring (not to mention the breakfast tacos!). Here are a few recommendations for local and statewide adventuring.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt | Austin, TX
Without question, Austin is the perfect jumping off point for backyard adventuring. Quite literally. For hundreds of residents just South of downtown Austin, their backyard is a playground for outdoor recreation. Commonly referred to as just “The Greenbelt”, this 7 mile stretch of public trail and waterway stretches from the famous Zilker Park to “The Hill of Life” (gaining 300 vertical feet in just over half of a mile for all you trail runners and mountain bikers). Limestone sport climbing, paddling, biking, hiking and running trails all have their place here and come summertime (or a warm day in January), so does swimming and cliff jumping. This stretch of pristine trail is Heaven on Earth and most Austinites spend our days in office dreaming about post-work Greenbelt plans.
Pro tip: Bring your adventure pup, Kammok hammock, swim trunks, Goal Zero portable speakers and always grab your headlamp (you’ll quickly lose track of time and space in this local never-never land).
Reimers Ranch Park | Spicewood, TX
Need to get a bit more distanced from the hustle and bustle of city life? There are a slew of adventure destinations within an hour drive of downtown Austin. Reimers Ranch is a personal favorite for day trip getaways. This county managed forest and canyon reserve runs along the Pedernales River and is the local mt. biking and climbing destination for not only Austinites but adventure seekers from Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Hit the maze of single track trail or drop down into the canyon for undoubtably the best limestone sport climbing in the area. Strong features and steep crags make for a great day on the rock.
Best part of Reimers Ranch is, no doubt, the post climb or post ride dip in the slow current of the Pedernales.
Pro tip: If climbing during Winter months, pick up a guide book and be mindful of sun facing crags to ensure your fingers don’t freeze to the rock. During the summer, bring a lot of water! I usually carry a full Miir growler of ice water with me that will last the whole day.
Davis Mountains | Fort Davis, TX
Need to really clear your head and see some of the best sunsets and stargazing in the South? For many Austinites, a trip out West is an annual pilgrimage, and rightfully so. About 7 hours West of Austin, this adventure brings you to The Guadalupe Mountains on the Northern New Mexico border, Big Bend NP on the Southern Mexican border, and plenty to do and see in-between. Most recently, we spent time in the Davis Mountains, just south of Balmorhea seeking out the perfect sunset (a lifelong journey) and counting the stars (also a lifelong journey). We spent our days soaking up the sun on the trails and evenings back at camp, cooking dinner on the BioLite, sharing stories and dreaming dreams. In short, West Texas is where we go to be inspired, feel free, and connect with it all.
Pro tip: Bring your camera! Even if you’re a terrible photog, you’ll walk away with some stunners! I keep my kit literally attached at my hip via the capture clip system by Peak Design. If out for multiple days, I also carry plenty of Goal Zero solar gear to keep everything charged up and ready.
El Potrero Chico | Hildago, Mexico
***Special International Edition - Mexico!
Most recently, I’ve decided that my favorite part about adventuring in Texas is its proximity to the Mountains of Northern Mexico. The beauty and grandeur of this area is a story largely untold and is a total gem. Most notable is a sport climbing mecca just North of Monterrey (about a 6 hour drive...if you don’t get lost) dubbed “El Potrero Chico”. Rest assured, the journey across the border is always worth it for this climber's paradise. Bring some stoke, a sturdy climbing partner and cruise up hundreds of feet of sticky limestone with multi-pitch top out views that will break your heart to rappel down from.
Pro tip: Go...just go.
Editor's note: This piece was created as part of a multi-brand campaign celebrating Backyard to Backcountry adventuring (#BY2BC). For more inspiration, check out #BY2BC on Instagram.