Top 7 Off-Road 4×4 Trails & Areas to Explore in Texas: User-Sourced Reference

Lifted White 5th Gen 4Runner With Mud Terrain Tires & Hybrid Front Bumper Overlanding In Texas

Explore Texas Through These 4×4 Trails Rated For All Skill Levels

Welcome back to an all-new post featuring the top trails and OHV parks across America! Last time, we covered trails and areas to off-road in Montana.

We’re back with a new post this week covering Texas!

Texas has it all. Whether you’re looking to go explore out in the sandy dunes of the desert, or into the muddy forests, you’ll be sure to find a trail that fits your needs. With numerous off-road parks scattered across the state, options are unlimited. So, whether it’s a laid-back ride or a rock-crawling challenge, Texas delivers.

Let’s dive into this week’s top trails!

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Each week, we cover new areas across the country to highlight the top off-road & overland trails.

Note: The trails listed below are in no particular order.

1. Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area – Gilmer

5th Gen 4Runner at Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area in Gilmer, Texas

Submission By: Zach (@4runnerfreakk)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Barnwell is a great destination in Texas for off-roading, for what little amount of open off-road parks there are in Texas. Being in east Texas there is mud, especially during the rainy seasons but not so much that it’s a complete mud bog.

There are also plenty of places to set up camp if you’re going for an overland experience, which is a perk after a long day of adventuring. But Barnwell also offers cabins and RV spots as well, if you’re looking to just get out in the outdoors.

Fun fact, Barnwell is also home to the Toyota Jamboree! If you don’t know what Jamboree is, it’s one of the largest gatherings of Toyota off-road enthusiasts and vendors and is always held in this area. It’s such a cool event, if you ever have the chance to attend, I highly recommend it.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area offers a plentiful amount of trails that range from easy and accessible to very technical. With that in mind, I’ll have to go with an average rating of 6/10, because the technical spots, are technical but the easy trails are a walk in the park. It’s got something for everyone.

2. South Padre Island Access 6 – South Padre Island

2nd Gen 4Runner at South Padre Island Access 6 in South Padre Island, Texas

Submission By: Jonathan (@4runneradventure)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Apart from being close to home, a day at the beach is always fun. I have so many memories here from fishing, camping, cookouts, relaxing, meet-ups, seeing other sweet rigs out to helping others get unstuck – you never know what a day at the beach will be like. Driving down the beach never gets old. Something about the sea breeze, hearing the waves, and the Texas sunsets always seems to be so relaxing for me.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

The level of difficulty varies. Somedays the sand is packed in even more so during the beach season when it’s maintained so 2WD vehicles can access the beach but at times or the further in you go the sand can be very loose. Which can be a fun and busy day for those with 4WD vehicles waiting to help those who get stuck.

3. Chisholm Trail – Georgetown

5th Gen 4Runner on the Chisholm Trail in Georgetown, Texas

Submission By: Jacob (@ghost_runner_trd)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

The Chisholm trail in Georgetown is only about 2-3 miles long. One of the things that I like best about it is that not many people know about it, making it the perfect spot to head to for the day for a nice and quiet drive. The scenery is also so beautiful, it’s a must-do!

What Would You Rate This Spot?

I would give this trail a difficulty level of 3/10. It is not very complex and more of a trail for the views. Most of the trail I would rate as a 1 or a 2 in difficulty. There is one spot that can be kind of tough to get through if you don’t have four-wheel drive. But other than that, it’s a fairly easy and relaxed trail.

4. Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi

5th Gen 4Runner at Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Submission By: Anthony (@ostarahtx)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

I love the Padre Island National Seashore because it is 60+ miles of coastline to drive down, once past mile marker 10 the beach is no longer maintained and is 4×4 recommended only. Driving down the Seashore there is plenty to do, fishing, stargazing, bird watching, and the seasonal turtle hatchlings just to name a few. The main attraction for me was the 60+ miles of primitive camping. You just drive as far as you wish. Just remember to have a full tank if you’re going to run the full length. The blue water and camping make it a beautiful place to stay.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

Because its mainly beach is constantly changing it’s hard to pin down a precise level of difficulty. I would rate the first 10 miles as easy, maybe 1/10 or a 2/10, and then the unmaintained from miles 10-60 as anywhere from a 4-5/10 to a 7/10 (7 if you just happen to hit all the bad conditions, tide, and perhaps the softest of soft sand).

5. Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area – Gilmer

3rd Gen 4Runner at Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area in Gilmer, Texas

Submission By: Zachary (@_4mudder_)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

This area has fantastic trails with many different difficulty levels for any vehicle. Whether you want to challenge yourself and your vehicle or just go for a fun little trip to get out, they have what you need. The red dirt also adds a beautiful aspect to the whole thing. It’s run very well, it’s very well kept, you can camp overnight, and if needed there’s an emergency rescue crew.

They also host one of the most incredible events I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of called Toyota Jamboree. I’ve been to the event 3 times and I have a phenomenal time, every time. It’s an all-around great park! I highly recommend taking a visit!

What Would You Rate This Spot?

I’d rate the difficulty at a 5 for various reasons. The level of difficulty ranges throughout the park. Some trails are gravel roads, while others are guaranteed trail damage and you’ll have a difficult time making it through without assistance.

Some trails have walls higher than your rig that you will almost guaranteed hit, others have big boulders, and some just simply have big roots or ruts that are easy to make it over. However, if it rains before or during your park visit – the trails are a different beast. That red dirt becomes very, very slippery. Be prepared to slide into damage. Overall it’s a fantastic park with trails for anyone, any skill level, any rig.

6. Hidden Falls Offroad Park – Marble Falls

5th Gen 4Runner at Hidden Falls Offroad Park in Marble Falls, Texas

Submission By: Bradley (@tr5_4rnr)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

I love this park because some trails and obstacles offer a variety for beginners to seasoned off-roaders. At the highest point, you are rewarded with a view of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, but you can also venture down and find the hidden waterfalls at the base of the hills. Hidden Falls also offers a family-friendly environment and has a great overnight campsite and facilities accessible during park hours, including a repair shop and convenience store.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

You’ll find everything from 1/10 park roads with small obstacles you can teach a beginner on, to 10/10 carnage trails that you can expect to drive away from with new trail tats. Every trail above a 2/10 has a bypass, so if you are with a group and don’t want to hit a more extreme obstacle, you can opt out and keep going.

7. Big Bend National Park

2nd Gen Tundra in Big Bend National Park in Texas

Submission By: Sean (@black_pearl_the_tundra)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

If you’ve never been to the Big Bend National Park, you’re really missing out. Not only are there so many areas for you to explore but it’s also so beautiful.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate this area a 4/10 rating. The park trails are pretty tamed for most OHV trail systems with Black Gap and Ole Ore Road being the main feature. However it does provide everyone a good experience for everyone.

Final Thoughts

2nd Gen 4Runner on the Beach

And that wraps up our Texas off-road trail fan favorites!

I would love to head over to Texas and experience the off-roading over there, especially when they hold the Toyota Jamboree, that sounds like a blast.

We would love to hear what other areas you like to explore in the area, so make sure to comment on your favorites below! If you want to be a part of a future trail guide post, make sure to submit using the link above!

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Brian A Maddix
Brian A Maddix
5 months ago

No actual locations given? I guess I’m missing the point. I’m in Georgetown, and while this is so short it makes me wonder, but where the heck is Chisholm trail in Georgetown?

Jeremy Chambers
Jeremy Chambers
5 months ago

Merus Adventure Park was missed in the list. Outside of Claude and is part of the Palo Duro Canyon.

Brian A Maddix
Brian A Maddix
5 months ago

MERUS is epic and no joke. It’s also expensive, and seemingly only getting more so. Glad I went to their first Toyota Takeover, costing only a few hundred dollars.

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