This is my favorite hike in Davis Mountains State Park, by a long shot. Lots of great panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and the trail is wide and flat at many places. Not to mention, the reward at the end is definitely worth it!
If you’ve hiked it before, let me know in the comments!
Skyline Drive Trail
- Maps at end of this post
- Distance: 2.6 miles but with shortcut options
- Perks: Excellent panoramic views, with Indian Lodge and McDonald Observatory in the distance, scenic picnic tables. mostly flat or downill terrain (so much better than hiking uphill, am I right?!)
- Challenges: The terrain is mostly flat or downhill, but the surface of the trail is rocky in some areas. It proved difficult for our 3 year old and 1.5 year old nieces.
- Rock “fortress” at CCC overlook that is wildly popular with kids
- Recommended for kids 5+ or that you can carry on your back
Best Part of the Trail
The best part of the trail is the segment between the two scenic overlooks. It has varied terrain, panoramic views, and great rewards at each end of the trail with the scenic vistas!
Route Option 1: Recommended Option
The best scenario is to have two cars or someone willing to drop you off at the easternmost parking area on the top of the mountain, so you can hike down to the campsites. This is great because it is all downhill!
There is plenty to look at for miles around.
Route Option 2: Shorter, Good with kids 5+
Drive to the first parking area you come to at the top of the mountain and hike to the CCC overlook at the easternmost parking area. Have a picnic or break here, and then hike back. This is about 1 mile round trip.
Route Option 3: Slightly more challenging version
Only because it involves going uphill to the top and then retracing your steps back downhill.
That said, if you get up early in the morning when the weather is nice and cool I could see this being a great work out with a very rewarding ending of easy hiking downhill!
Round Trip: 5.4 mi
You will start at the trailhead near the Interpretive Center (shown on map) and follow Skyline Drive up to the scenic overlooks for 2.6 miles.
What You Will Love
The ample photo opportunities.
The picnic areas by the scenic overlooks.
The breeze at the top of the hill and being up there with your loved ones!
What Kids Will Love
The tower at the end of the trail.
I don’t know what the CCC thought this would be used for when they built it back in the 1930’s, but let me tell you — today it is the prime place for little kids with imaginations to play princess, house, or cowboys and Indians. If Rapunzel didn’t let down her hair from a place like this, then I don’t know what she did. It did not surprise me that by the time my husband and I arrived after our hike, my nieces had already taken command of the “castle” and we had to gain admission by pretending to be magical visitors from a distant land.
We thoroughly enjoyed our hike on Skyline Drive Trail and bet you will too! Happy hiking, ladies.