The Top 3 Most Famous Offroad Trails in Texas
Whether you like racing across desert sand a la Baja, the disorienting experience of driving slowly, methodically, and thoughtfully over boulders the size of buffalos, or something in between, off-roading is your passion. But let’s not make it sound so noble. At the heart of it is the thrill of getting away with something logic says you shouldn’t do. That rutted trail with logs and rocks strewn across it or that mud hole or sand dune were not intended as roads for ordinary vehicles, but you drive over them anyway. It’s kind of like sneaking into the neighbor’s pool when they are gone. You shouldn’t do it, but you do.
The biggest challenge to fulfilling your need for off-road adventure is finding and gaining access to the terrain and climate you want. Thanks to the ever-growing off-road community, you can find commercial and government-sanction off-road trails in virtually every state. Even New Jersey, the densest populated state in the union, has dozens of off-road trails.
Of course, some states, primarily big states, offer more off-roading opportunities than others. With that in mind, its easy to see why we here in Texas have access to some of the best off-road country anywhere in the US.
Texas Off-Road Trails
In the Lone Star State, off-roading is referred to as overlanding, and there are hundreds of trails and roads on public lands and national parks where you can test out your 4×4 skills. But before you head out, visit Texas Parks & Wildlife and purchase an OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) tag so you can legally travel the state trails.
The massive Great Bend National Park is the daddy of all off-road trail sites in Texas. Within the boundaries, you will find trails, tracks, and roads that range from beginner to technically challenging. For example, Jeep thinks so much about Black Gap Road it awarded the trail their Badge of Honor award. In addition, incredible tracks serve up vistas of the Chisos Mountain Range and the Chihuahuan desert. Also in the park are notable trails like River Road OHV Trail, and Old ORE OHV Road.
If you want to ride where the sand meets the Gulf, Mustang Island Beaches is the place for you. The 13-mile beach is relatively easy to negotiate, but if you want to spend a day at the beach and play in the surf, this stretch of sand is perfect. The island is also home to some of the best shallow water fishing that you will find in the Texas area, as well as paddling trails, and secret coves that most tourists wouldn’t be able to find in an average sedan. If you’re looking to explore this unspoiled barrier island park we would recommend checking out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s guide to the area.
Our final pick was tough. The lone star state is the second largest state in the US and covers 268,597 square miles, and is covered with beautiful scenery and rugged terrain. However, if you’re in the San Antonia area then you have to check out the iconic Hill Country Trail. The Texas Hill Country Route consists of 148 miles of dirt and gravel trails winding through hills, mesas, and valleys. It is a beautiful country, and while the trails are relatively easy to navigate, there are some tricky creek fordings that come into play. With a trail this massive you could spend days exploring all of the small offshoots, small towns, and natural caves on this beautiful road, we would recommend checking out this extensive guide on Overland Trail Guides
Virtually every state has off-road trails and parks. Our best recommendation is to visit your state’s Department of Natural Resources to learn locations, maps, licensing requirements, and types of off-road vehicles allowed. Enjoy!