Hiking the Western Trail in Texas
The Western Trail Conservancy protects the historic bluffs and creek banks on the west side of Austin, Texas. The trail follows the old bluffs and creek banks to their source on the south side of Austin. The trail also includes access trails to historic Westlake, Conroe and Mason residences. It includes the Greenbelt Land Trust, which administers the property. The Bluffs Restoration Corporation is responsible for restoring the remaining portions of the original west-flowing White River drainage to its original condition.
The western trail class is designed for experienced and beginner users. It provides an overview of the trail’s major attractions and gives a background of the historical events that occurred in the area. The trail offers spectacular views of the Guadalupe river valley and Fort Bowie, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Lake Travis on the other. The trails have numerous options for crossing these vital streams, including bridges, creeks, dirt roads and access through natural drainage. Crossings are rated according to difficulty.
The western trail covers an area of about seven hundred miles from the west side of Austin, Texas, to the Canadian border. This route follows the old mining trail of the Roaring Fork Creek and Big Red River drainage, which merge with the Colorado River. There are several alternative routes that vary in difficulty. Most of the trail is in good condition and passes through a variety of landscapes and vegetation. Wildlife encounters, wildlife paths and beautiful flora and fauna make it an exciting hiking experience.
The western trail traverses the Padres, Big Hole, Landa, Guadalupe, San Miguel, Coahuilla, McKinney andanches and Red River drainage. Wildlife encounters, road kill and cattle trail wanderings are common occurrences. Hikers can expect to pass several cattle campsites along the way. Wildlife watching is a popular sport during the summer months in this part of Texas.
To the north are the historic Route 30 campgrounds, where you can locate historic remains of wagon trains and mining operations. Past this point, the western trail passes through five more large townships – Dodge City, El Mate, Lucerne, Silao and Lucid. Cattle trail allows hikers to see cattle, deer and wild hog.
To the south lies Texas’ largest city, Houston. The Texas Southern Medical Center (TSMC) is located here. Nearby are two world class public swimming areas, George H.W. Bush Park and Seapole Environmental Center. There are several historic landmarks near downtown Houston, including the Post-Tropical Depression Recovery Site, which serves as a research center for the Sea Resources Conservation Act. Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWCA), the state’s leading wildlife management agency, is within a few miles of downtown Houston.