There may be no WiFi along these trails, but you’re destined to find a better connection.
All across the Brazos River basin, First Day Hikes are being hosted to help the community both discover and re-discover the beauty and diversity of the area, all while achieving fitness and healthier living goals.
Bundle up in the upper basin this New Year’s Day with a visit to the award-winning Possum Kingdom Lake Hike and Bike Trail systems. The awaiting adventure can include the family and fur baby hiking along one of the scenic two-mile walks or along the full 16-mile journey or a chance to dust off the mountain bike for a solo trip.
The trails at PK are five-feet wide and wind through easily accessible wooded areas.
Most of the trails feature a 5 to 12-degree slope, which is considered to be easy to moderate for hiking. One portion that rises high above Possum Kingdom Lake to Johnson Peak is more challenging, with a 20-degree slope.
Johnson Peak provides a fantastic view of the reservoir and nearby hills, including the famous Hell’s Gate rock formation, which provides an entryway to a cove in the southern part of the lake.
The PK trail system offers access to BRA parks with restrooms, playgrounds, and free campsites. The trails also provide on-site maps, rest areas with cedar benches, and markers highlighting information about the area’s history. Make sure any pets are on a leash, and don’t forget to pack a means of providing them water along the way.
The Brazos River Authority’s Possum Kingdom Lake Hike and Bike Trail systems are open year-round, but be aware heavy rains could make areas of trails inaccessible.
Click here for a printable map of the trails.
There are a multitude of other hiking adventures across the Brazos River basin to kick-off 2020.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hosts hikes Jan. 1 across the state.
Join others at Mother Neff State Park, Abilene State Park, Lake Somerville State Park, Dinosaur Valley State Park, Hill Country State Natural Area, and many other locations as TPWD staff leads hikes. TPWDs First Day Hikes vary from leisurely nature walks to climbs into the mountains. State park staff and volunteers guide most hikes and will talk about native plants, animals or park history along the way, according to the TPWD website. See a full hike list here.
Prefer to hike on your own? Try a new location by selecting one of these 978 easy trails in Texas ranging from 0.6 to 66.4 miles and from 0 to 5,912 feet above sea level. For even more options, check out Texas Outside here.
No matter where you set out this New Year’s Day, remember that cold weather hiking takes a few different preparations than journeys during summer months.
The American Hiking Society offers these tips:
Dress in layers.
Huge, fluffy parkas aren’t practical for trails. Instead, take several layers you can peel off or put on. The base layer of clothing should be a wicking fabric that will pull your sweat away from the skin. Overheating is a dangerous threat since excessive moisture that isn’t allowed to escape can freeze and cause hypothermia.
Wear a hat.
Our heads consume one-third of the body’s energy. During the colder months it is important to keep your head covered to maintain function and not lose precious body heat.
Keep the water bottle warm.
A foam sleeve like a koozie will help prevent the water from freezing in a bottle. Also, to keep water from freezing, keep the water bottle on the inside of your jacket.
Be prepared for shorter days.
Dusk settles earlier and more quickly than in the summer. Have a good idea of the usable daylight hours before going hiking.