Pine needles pad the trails of Lost Pines like a carpet—but the Hill Country ups and downs, and an undercoat of oak trees, remind you that you are closer to Austin than the pine forests to the east. Still, the ancient “lost pine” trees and slender loblolly pines give the forest a mystical feel, and the big city seems centuries away. Though the area was affected by fire in recent years, new trees now sprout up defiantly. Mosey along the 7.5-mile loop, rated as a moderate foray. Most likely, you’ll pass more Boy Scouts and runners than wildlife, though keep an eye out for some of the more than two hundred species of birds that have been spotted in the park. Keep a steady pace, but be aware that there are some intense hills that make the hike more strenuous in sections. Dogs on leashes allowed.