Animals

Discover the 5 Most Remote Spots in Texas And How to Safely Get There

Quiet and peaceful. That can be found in any of the five most isolated locations in Texas. Texas is the second-largest state in the union by land area, after Alaska. With more than 800,000 acres of land, Big Bend National Park is at the top of the list of isolated locations where it is impossible to see anyone or anything. Travel & Leisure magazine refers to the West Texas region as a “off-grid paradise” since it offers the most remote possibility for said peace.

A-Z.com investigated remote areas in the Lone Star State with fewer people and more natural surroundings. In the large state of Texas, there are many locations to leave it all behind, according to tourist publications and state officials that mention remote locations. A-Z.com provides safe routes to some of these destinations, as accessing some of them can be risky. Discover the greatest spots to vanish in Texas if you want to leave everything behind.

1. Big Bend National Park

West Entry Latitude: 29.542511, Longitude: -104.326348 
East Entry Latitude: 29.269902, Longitude: -103.757351

Known as “splendid isolation,” the 801,163-acre tract of land spans three counties according to the U.S. National Park Service (NPS). The park administration offers one-day to week-long itineraries for exploring the several isolated miles of land because they are so sure that tourists will want to escape to seclusion. River, Old Ore, and Old Maverick Roads are examples of “unimproved” dirt routes that lead to the middle of nowhere.

There’s a caution for these wilderness routes, unlike other portions of Big Bend. Authorities advise being extremely cautious when driving on “primitive” unpaved roads that twist around stones and washboards. Depending on the permissible weather, only high-clearance vehicles should be allowed on the streets because to their potential for extreme hazard.

The Rio Grande flows through the park, appealing to people who like isolated areas by the sea. Big Bend is a region that spans hundreds of miles along the river that borders both Mexico and the United States. It offers floating experiences through canyons that are 1,500 feet deep.

The national park provides detailed safety instructions for Big Bend. Officials advise tourists to follow several guidelines, citing anything from sweltering heat to poor road conditions. First off, keep in mind that you could hit any wildlife if you drive faster than 45 mph in the park. You should only use four-wheel drive cars to travel the rural routes. Even still, authorities encourage visitors to pack extra food and water in case they get stranded. Walking on foot also requires the same level of prudence. In order to hike in the remote areas of Big Bend, hikers must make sure they are both physically and mentally prepared.

Traveling from Alpine to Study Butte on Texas State Highway 118 will put you in the Big Bend National Park. From Presidio, follow FM 170 to Study Butte. From there, head 26 miles east to the park headquarters. You can also reach the park by traveling 70 miles south to an additional park headquarters from Marathon via U.S. 90 or U.S. 385.

2. Hill Country

Longitude: -99.181086; Latitude: 29.628034

Thousands of miles of limestone and granite hills may be found in this rural area of central Texas, which is located north of San Antonio and west of Austin. The region is made up of more than twenty counties. One of the most tranquil areas of Hill Country is the gently sloping grasslands that ascend to the top of Edwards Plateau. Native Americans originally lived in this 36,680 square mile area. They were drawn to the area by the special stones that could be used to construct arrowheads for hunting and animal protection. Nowadays, Hill Country’s threatened fauna draws tourists looking for serenity in the great outdoors.

It’s possible to encounter wildlife sightings at walk-in or hike-in campsites, like Butterfly Springs or Hermit’s Shack, which are exclusive to this kind of seclusion. Additionally, the 5,000 acres of isolated enjoyment available in Hill Country State Natural Area are away from artificial sights and noises.

The first step to reaching any of the more isolated locations in the Hill Country safely is to plan your routes in advance and use recommended roads and trails. Weather may make or break plans in all five of Texas’ most isolated locations. In bad weather, it’s never a smart idea to travel to any isolated region. The 40 miles of trails are home to numerous safety precautions provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), whether one is riding horses, walking, or camping.

Evaluate your physical stamina first. Hikers can get a sense of what to expect from easy-moderate to demanding courses by rating them according to difficulty. The TPWD gives the longitude and latitude of certain areas of interest, such as Heritage Garden and Comanche Bluff, for those who are willing to go the extra mile.

But traveling to any isolated region of the Hill Country safely means donning an insect repellent and SPF-rated clothes, drinking plenty of water, and wearing a helmet. The best precaution when visiting Hill Country is to let others know where you will be.

When driving, there are multiple routes to choose from, including the long and short ones. The lengthy route starts in New Braunfels, thirty miles north of San Antonio, and covers a distance of 250 kilometers. The route ends in Austin and is a clockwise loop. Along with alternative roads, you can reach Ranch Road 470 via Texas Highways 46 and 16.

3. Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area

Longitude: -96.63749745, Latitude: 28.222999108

This is a remote area of Texas that can only be reached by boat. The island of Matagorda is only 38 miles long and varies in breadth, while the Matagorda Wildlife Management Area covers thousands of acres in marshes and barrier islands. The width of the island varies from less than a mile to up to 4.5 miles in some places. According to TPWD, Calhoun County’s Mataragorda Island is renowned for its “seclusion and natural beauty.”Additionally, 20,000 acres or more of upland are reserved for hunting.

The island is so isolated that it lacks both drinking water and power. Primitive camping is available along the Gulf of Mexico Beach with migrating birds and several endangered species of fauna, such as white-tailed deer. However, danger is present with so much water. Accidents can occur in mouth rivers, passages, and island jetties. Authorities caution that rip currents created by mouth rivers can be rapid and deadly. When visiting Matagorda, the first precaution to take is to check the weather, especially around the nationally recognized lighthouse located near the north end of the island, which dates back to circa 1852.

Safety regulations apply to this island in the natural area, just like they do to land access. From the check station close to Port O’Connor, guests are only transported to the island by private and charter boats. Furthermore, motorized vehicles are not permitted at all on the island. Land rules differ from Matagorda Island’s safety precautions. When traveling here, a life jacket is more crucial to bring than a backpack.

It’s imperative to stay in the boat because hazardous animals are swimming in Texas’s waters, just like they are on land in some of these isolated Texas locations. On the journey to the enclave, other safety advice to consider are planning a float plan, being weather-aware, and having a backup skipper in case of emergency. Guests with medical needs that require charging equipment shouldn’t stay on the island because there isn’t any electricity or running water.

4. Lost Maples State Natural Area

Longitude: -99.570697, Latitude: 29.807719

Because of its size, Lost Maples spans two counties: Bandera and Real. The park was given the moniker Lost Maples because, according to TWPD, bigtooth maple trees lived in colder climates over 10,000 years ago that are not found in Texas. With electricity and water, Lost Maples is not nearly as remote as some other Texas locales, but it still offers more than 2,000 acres of privacy.

Situated in the Edwards Plateau region, this isolated Texas location offers Hill Country features with an even more secluded feel. Don’t misunderstand Lost Maples, though. It’s far away. Five miles from the area entrance, at an elevation of 2,200 feet, the Texas Forum and Capital Coalition describe the area as rustic and sparsely populated, promising “peace and quiet” along the West Trail.

Few people are aware of the route, which is in opposition to the East Trail and “traverses steep limestone canyons, plateaus, woods, and creeks,” according to the TPWD. Hikers may spot foxes, bobcats, or uncommon birds along the way. In this case, time is crucial when it comes to isolation. Steer clear of the location in the fall when crowds swarm to witness the vibrant falling maple leaves if you want privacy.

As with all of these hidden gems of Texas, it’s important to keep an eye out for any potentially harmful wildlife in the undulating plain or desert. Paying attention to your footing is necessary to reach some of Lost Maple’s most isolated locations safely. Officials from the TWPS advise visitors to stick to approved pathways because of the rugged, steep terrain. It is not permitted to climb any rocks or hillsides in Lost Maple. The TPWD cautions that “bigtooth maples have shallow roots, and you can hurt the trees by walking over their roots.” Be mindful when trekking in a natural region. Having the appropriate gear and being aware of your own limitations are the first steps in planning a hike, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

From Austin, you can travel to Lost Maple from San Antonio. The natural area access is reached by taking FM 337 from Texas Highway 16 in San Antonio. Take Texas Highway 90 toward Sabinal from San Antonio to reach the location as well. Depending on where you start, there are numerous routes and highways that lead from Austin.

5. Devils River State Natural Area

Longitude: -100.970206, Latitude: 29.939694

The name of this Texas natural area shouldn’t scare you. The tranquil and remote Devil’s River beach, located north of Del Rio, is a little piece of heaven on earth. The Texas Forum and Capital Coalition claim that “south of Sonora and north of Del Rio is sort of a blank spot on the Texas map, except for this park.” Known as the most “unspoiled” river in Texas, this unspoiled natural area is located far from man-made contaminants and off the map.

Devil’s River, which is in Val Verde County, has hike-in only areas and rustic campgrounds. Only a certain number of individuals can congregate at the small locations, maintaining the area’s secluded atmosphere for those who travel there. A few precautions are necessary to travel to and be safe in this isolated area of Texas, according to TPWD. To enter the area by boat, a person needs a Devils River Access Permit (DRAP). Only experienced paddlers who have at least three days’ worth of food, water, and other survival supplies should make the journey, according to TPWD.

Directions to Devil River begins on Texas State Highway 277 in Del Rio. Proceed 45 miles north and make a left onto Dolan Creek Road. The area’s entrance is reached by a bumpy gravel road that passes through multiple low-water crossings and is surrounded by cattle.

Remote Location Latitude Longitude
Big Bend National Park West Entry: 29.542511
East Entry: 29.269902
West Entry: -104.326348
East Entry: -103.757351
Hill Country 29.628034 -99.181086
Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area 28.222999108 -96.63749745
Lost Maples State Natural Area 29.807719 -99.570697
Devils River State Natural Area 29.939694 -100.970206