Explore the most popular hiking trails near San Marcos with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did this Trail onSaturday. Wasn’t too muddy and only passed four others. Lovely in the sunshine fall air!

My wife and I have been meaning to hike Purgatory Creek, so a few days after the rain, we went hiking. As everyone mentioned, traffic noise can be heard the closer you are to the trailhead but tapers off. The hike itself was OK...with a few lookouts along Dante’s Trail and wildlife, mainly deer, in the clearing along the trail. I thought it would be more scenic. Oh yeah, there’s still plenty of muddy areas and a swamp blocking Dante’s Trail close to the start. There are plenty of mosquitoes along the trail so make sure to apply generous amounts of bug juice.

We went after the rains and it was really too muddy. Will definitely return when it dries up! Easy access and pretty surroundings, too bad the highway noise is so near.

Good moderate urban trail! Easy to get to and a lot of fun to hike.

Nice little trail. No dramatic elevation gain and not too many people.

It’s outdoors.... but little to get excited about. Very little elevation change, scenery changes from tree cover to desert. Some of the rocky parts could make mountain biking uncomfortable.

No views to speak of.... one part you are above the creek, but there’s no water, and nothing to really see.

Suggested for meditation, but not sightseeing.

Come back again and again and we see something different each time. Deer, lizards, little grass snakes, a coral snake. Its awesome. Trail shared by hikers, dogs, runners and mountain bikers, but, its never busy. Tons of diversity. Smooth wide trail, rocky rooty trail, nothing but rocks rocks rocks trail, open meadow trail. It never gets old. Even has an overlook where you can sit for a minute and look at the trail below. The buzzards like to hang out on the overlook and glare at the hikers below. Bring water, there is no water in the park and while the majority of it is shaded a few sections are nothing but sun baked rock and in summer it gets HOT. There is a water fountain at the Hunters road entrance, and privies at both the Hunter and Craddock entrances. No benches within the park so be prepared to either find a nice rock to sit on of just be prepared to not stop moving. So.e sections have a very wilderness feel to them. Also, use this app. All the trails are marked but some intersections are marked a little weird and its easy to walk right past one if you're in a section that requires you to keep an eye on your footing.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Good ride with rolling hills. Apparently I went the wrong way, starting on the east side of the park with kinda steep climbs and gradual declines. several spur options. Nice tree cover. It rained last night and is a bit muddy today but not bad. Will return.

But y B.B.

A staple of respite from the grind.

mountain biking
3 months ago

I liked this little trail. There were some parts that were tough which was a nice surprise. No one else was there when I went in the middle of the day on a Monday. I got a lil lost as the signage isn't the best. I will definitely be coming back here.

it's got some distance to it don't forget to take a bottle of water or two, easy to moderate with some elevation included

Great trails and trail markings, moderately flat and curvy. Love the intersections and alternate trail routes available. But there's a lot of road noise from the nearby highway, but only on certain sections on the trail. Bring water.

Rough rocky hike but enjoyed it

I loved running this trail. It has a lot of variety. There are wide smooth parts to very rocky areas. I enjoyed the challenge of the hills and the rugged terrain. I ended up with 9 miles at 10:40 pace to include some walking parts. I can't wait to run it again!

walking
4 months ago

The San Marcos Riverwalk trail, while providing a decent orientation of available recreational activities along the river, was shorter than we prefer. Additionally, we were hoping for a trail that closely paralleled the river with more nature and less urban scenes.
All in all, the trail wasn’t bad and was pretty deserted and quite early in the morning that is probably ideal for a leisurely walk.

Had a great time. Ended up 13.58 miles so it was a good hike. But the trails are poorly marked

trail running
5 months ago

Can’t get enough of this trail. Not crowded at all but when you come across someone they are super nice

walking
5 months ago

Easy trails with lots of shade. Don’t forget bug spray, you will get eaten up by mosquitoes!

Ran Dante's Loop there and back starting at Lower Purgatory. Tripped and fell 7 times, mostly on the upper portion. Too many roots and too rocky. Even if I didn't trip and fall, I couldn't enjoy the scenary because of the concentration the trail requires. Not what I am personally looking for with trail running. I might run the Lower portion again but not Upper. It makes for a fine hike though.

The trail was well marked and was not challenging. However, once you get further into the woods it is much more quiet from the traffic and enjoyable to see and hear nature.There are also many alternatives to other smaller trails or take the long loop around.

plenty of additional trails to explore, wear boots

Make sure you have GPS. Some parts of the trail are clearly marked and other areas can be confusing. I planned a 4.3 mile hike and ended up doing 6.6 miles my 1st time out. It's a beautiful area so I didn't mind too much. Lower Purgatory has some car noise from Wonder World/ RR12 so I much preferred upper. I have seen a coral snake very near the trail. We startled each other so watch your feet, expecially in the summer. Upper Purgatory is rather rocky and technical. The Paraiso portion on this suggested route in upper Purgatory is closed in the spring.

Great trail! It was surprisingly cold today, but the hike was great!

I went to this trail in late March and it was a tad muddy so boots are important. Also ran into a hive of bees that we're swarming, perfectly natural for them to do, but also had to turn back and take a cut over on Ovid trail. Please avoid the bees for personal safety, and also to cause as little stress as possible to the hives, as they are in decline.

Trail is a decent length. Especially for the area.

Nice trail, not long, but enjoyable for what it is.

Beautiful trail! I went when the mountain laurels were blooming. Fantastic place if you’re a butterfly enthusiast!

This was one of the nastiest parks I have been to in a long time. Everywhere you look there was dog poop on the ground. So sad to see how this park has turned out in the last year. It used to be a beautiful place to walk my dog. Now it’s absolutely disgusting

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