14 routes · Hiking
Lost Maples: East Trail Loop
One of Texas's best hikes for fall colors!
- 8.4 km
- 217 m
- 217 m
- 2-3 hrs
- Low Point
- 546 m
- High Point
- 689 m
Looking for fall colors in Texas? Look no further than Lost Maples State Natural Area! Lost Maples "is the go-to place if you want to escape to New England-like Fall scenery in Texas, which is hard to believe for some," writes Sarah Vaughn on TheOutbound.com. "Tucked away deep in Hill Country near Vanderpool, TX, Lost Maples has a unique supply of Maple trees thanks to the deepness of the canyons found in this area. Although you can visit and hike at Lost Maples year-round, the most popular time is from mid-October through November when the vibrant Fall colors draw the crowds," she continues.
The most popular trail in Lost Maples is the East Trail, which you can either hike as an out-and-back or as a loop (as mapped). This stunning trail traverses through the bottom of a limestone canyon, crossing a small stream along the way. Eventually, you'll climb steeply out of the canyon, making for the hilltop.
The climb up to the hilltop is a bit steep and rocky, but in many places, rock steps have been created to aid your uphill progress. However, residents of Central Texas who are unused to true hiking may find this section of the trail difficult. Even though the entire loop shown here only climbs 712 feet of vert, the steepness has led a blogger to dub this trail "The Hardest Day Hike in Central Texas." Your perception of the difficulty may vary.
Along the hilltop, you'll enjoy expansive views over the region, with many lookouts providing fantastic photo opportunities. The spur out to the river overlook adds a bit of mileage, but is well worth it for the view.
After dropping down into the next valley, you can complete the loop as shown on the map. Or, if you're looking for some bonus miles, you can also head up the West Canyon Trail to create a much longer hike.
Sources: https://www.theoutbound.com/san-antonio/hiking/hike-the-east-trail-at-lost-maples https://catoma.com/the-hardest-day-hike-in-central-texas-lost-maples-east-trail/ https://www.lonestartravelguide.com/best-hikes-in-texas-hiking-trails/
Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.
Best time to visit
- Water features
- Family friendly
- Forestry or heavy vegetation