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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Nov. 26, 2008

Hill Country State Natural Area trail named ‘Most Challenging Ride’

BANDERA, Texas-Texas Horse Talk magazine readers have named a limestone trail through Hill Country State Natural Area the "Most Challenging Ride" in Texas. The trail, named Stair Step, leads horseback riders up a hill of narrow limestone steps, guaranteeing a perilous and exhilarating ride.

"We [at the park] are proud of the fact that we cater to all levels of equestrian skills and that we are able to provide rides that are challenging as well those that are easier," said Paul David Fuentes, park manager at Hill Country State Natural Area. "The Stair Step actually gets you into the middle of the popular twin peaks area. Whether you are hiking, biking or horseback riding, it gives you a magnificent view of the beautiful vistas here at Hill Country State Natural Area."

Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera, Hill Country State Natural Area is an undeveloped and secluded retreat located 45 miles northwest of San Antonio. The natural area contains approximately 40 miles of multi-use trails where visitors can wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills.

Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy exploring the trails while the less adventurous can enjoy flora and fauna observation, as well as swimming and fishing. Primitive (no water and electric hookup) and backcountry camping areas are also available to equestrian and non-equestrian campers. Various adjacent ranches offer horse rentals, tours, and other accommodations to help visitors enjoy the natural area.

Texas Horse Talk magazine conducted a reader survey to decide the winners of their Best of Texas Awards for their November issue. Readers made nominations based on suggested categories as well as categories of their own.

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