Every adventurer needs to fuel a long hike with a snack. If you’re about to set off on a short walk or a more difficult rock climb, you’re going to need to pack something to give yourself much needed energy. No matter whether you’re going with your family or if you’re going solo, check out the following parks with scenic trails and the SaveOnEnergy.com® team’s favorite trail mix recipes.
Five trails to get you moving
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
This park is home to the second largest canyon in the nation (second only to the Grand Canyon) and lies at the heart of the Texas Panhandle. There are more than 30 miles worth of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, with campsites and nature or bird watching spots along the way. If you’re looking to take an easy stroll through the canyon, check out the park’s Pioneer Nature Trail. It’s a half-mile loop that takes you down to a river and back. If you want to get a bit more adventurous, check out the Capitol Peak trail. It’s an almost three-mile loop that has three different levels of difficulty: easy (green trail), moderate (blue trail) and difficult (black trail).
Pedernales Falls State Park
Located in Johnson City, the Pedernales Falls State Park is full of slabs of limestone and a beautiful, yet sometimes turbulent, Pedernales River. While this is a great place to swim, it’s important to keep in mind the park’s safety tips. Besides swimming in the river, you can take scenic hikes on one of the many trails. To explore the Pedernales Fall State Park’s interactive trail map, visit the website. However, if you want to get straight to exploring the actual outdoors, the park’s Wolf Mountain Trail is full of twists and turns around Tobacco Mountain and Wolf Mountain, stopping at Arrowhead Pool so you can cool off in fresh water from Bee Creek.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
While this sandy park is a great place for horseback riding and camping, you can also enjoy the beautiful dunes and wildlife that fill western Texas. Known for its sand dunes, this park allows visitors to rent toboggans and disks to “surf” the dunes and have fun with their entire family. However, if you’re bringing some trail mix to munch on while you walk around the park’s interpretive nature trail, you can rest assured knowing its quarter-mile loop won’t leave you too far from the park’s Dunagan Visitor Center and Headquarters.
Huntsville State Park
This state park is home to tranquil Lake Raven, a luscious forest perfect for bird watching and areas to spot exciting wildlife, such as the American alligator. In total, the park has more than 21 miles of trails that are perfect for bike riding, horseback riding, strolling and even intensive hiking. Huntsville State Park is also home to a modern-day form of treasure hunting called geocaching. Essentially, different items such as books and boxes are camouflaged throughout the park. Guests are able to sign their name and trade items, making geocaching a fun activity for kids and adults. All you need is a smartphone or GPS to start playing.
Copper Breaks State Park
As a designated International Dark Sky Park, Copper Breaks State Park is ideal for long walks at night, gazing upward at the stars. The park is also home to Lake Copper Breaks, as well as a portion of the Pease River. With 10 miles of trails, you can go for a rocky bike ride on the Bull Canyon Trail or a relaxing walk on Chris’ Link. There is also a 3.7 mile trail that is ideal for horseback rides, exploring prairie, woodlands and wetland areas. If you’re super adventurous, the 1.63 mile Rocky Ledges Loop is great for hiking since it features rugged and challenging outcrops. Be sure to pack your trail mix for the much needed boost of energy.
Four recipes to satisfy your cravings
The SaveOnEnergy.com® team wanted to showcase its favorite recipes for granola and trail mix that are perfect for exploring Mother Nature. Below are four of our team’s favorite recipes. Let us know what you think by commenting on social media!
Garra’s Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Recipe
Garra works on SaveOnEnergy.com’s Community Outreach team and has an affinity toward heathy eating. Her sweet and salty trail mix is her “favorite to top off Greek yogurt in the morning.” Garra also says that while the sweet and salty flavors are important, she recommends the extra touch of peanut butter – hence, the peanut butter M&Ms.
Serving size: 1/4 cup. Calories: 240, Fat: 11 grams, Carbohydrates: 30 grams, Protein: 6 grams.
- 1 cup honey toasted pecans (inspired from Food)
- 1 cup of honey roasted peanuts
- 1 cup of your favorite granola bars, crushed
- 1 cup mini pretzel twists
- 1 cup peanut butter M&M’s
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips
- Don’t over-crush the granola bars. Leave them in big enough pieces for easy on-the-go eating.
- Simply mix everything together and enjoy!
Heather’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
Heather is SaveOnEnergy.com’s Editor, and has served the team since 2012. She loves exploring and finding new recipes. Instead of trail mix, Heather wanted to share her family’s favorite granola bars. “The recipe is very versatile,” says Heather. “[Y]ou can replace the peanut butter with another nut butter or change out the nuts and/or chocolate for dried fruit.”
Adapted from Prevention magazine recipe. Makes 16 bars.
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup crispy rice cereal
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Put honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted together, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Mix cereal, oats, walnuts and chocolate chips in large bowl. Add honey mixture and stir well to combine.
- Line an 8" × 8" baking dish with plastic wrap. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish, pressing down gently, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Cut into bars. It's easier to do this by taking the bars out of the pan, then cutting on a board. From here, you can put in a bag or wrap them individually for snacks on the go.
Margaret’s Banana Nut Trail Mix
Margaret is one of SaveOnEnergy.com’s writers, and has a knack for finding and sharing eco-friendly activities, tips and destinations with our readers. Her trail mix recipe is versatile, and many ingredients can be swapped out. “Don't have walnuts or cashews? Add in peanuts, pecans or one of your favorite nuts,” says Margaret. “Not a big chocolate lover? Skip the semisweet chocolate chips and throw in a 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips. The recipe is flexible and delicious no matter what!”
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup dried banana chips
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut chips
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Measure out all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.
- (Optional): Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut chips on a non-stick baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and add to bowl.
- Mix ingredients together and store in an eco-friendly tin.
Jordan’s Sweet & Southern Trail Mix
Jordan is also a SaveOnEnergy.com writer, managing social media content and helping write blogs (like this one!). While he, on occasion, brings in snacks for the team to try, Jordan tries to keep cooking and baking to a minimum. “My favorite trail mix is Target’s Monster Trail Mix,” says Jordan. “However, taking cues from the pre-made mix, I’ve made my own recipe.”
- 1 cup dry-roasted pecan halves
- 1 cup lightly salted peanuts
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup peanut butter chips
- ½ cup M&Ms
- ½ cup raisins
- Feel free to swap out dry-roasted pecans for praline pecans, and semisweet chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips.
- Pour into a re-useable bag and shake until blended.
- Share with friends and family, and enjoy.