We think it’s about time we formally introduced ourselves. Our long-time followers may recognize either of us from our extensive travels and photographic work in and around our Texas parks, but many of you may not know of us, or why we created Hiking Texas — and why it matters so much to us.
Not long ago, we saw an opportunity to fill the gaps where other resources were found to be lacking. Searching for trails was tedious, content was limited (and mediocre at best), and very few online resources offered information outside of single activities — and we knew we could provide better. In late 2016, the Hiking Texas community was born on Instagram as a digital trail guide that is still continually updated by our community and contributors, showing current trail conditions, trail reviews, camping options, and of course inspirational photos from the trails. We also created this community to celebrate and share all that we love about the Texas outdoors.
Hiking Texas is dedicated to helping adventure seekers find the best hikes, and it’s our mission to make the Texas outdoors more accessible for everyone. We want to spread the spirit of adventure — whether down the street or across the state — by inspiring others to discover, explore, and share their favorite adventures and local stomping grounds. We strongly believe in leaving the world better than we found it, and we want to help make a difference through the community we create and the things we make. We also believe it is our responsibility to help promote, protect, and preserve public lands for all. Read more about our commitment to conservation.
Soon, we want to expand Hiking Texas to include camping and lodging resources, travel recommendations and more, providing a more comprehensive experience for outdoor enthusiasts at every stage of their travel journey, from inspiration and trip planning to participating in local adventures and experiences.
ABOUT THE CO-FOUNDERS
Both Aaron Bates and Pierce Ingram are avid hikers and campers, and they have hiked countless miles of trails across the state. Through their separate (and sometimes shared) adventures, they love exploring and photographing our parks in Texas and beyond. Read on to get to know them.
Aaron is a professional photographer and creative director, and has enjoyed both in parallel throughout his career. Throughout his photography career, he has produced adventure, travel and lifestyle images for clients like Texas Parks & Wildlife, Travel Texas, Texas Monthly and the National Park Service to name a few. He has also been named by Texas Highways as one of the Top 25 Texas Travel photographers to Follow. Aaron is an advocate for conservation and a supporter of our national parks, state parks and all wild places in between. He also strives to help connect people to the great outdoors and encourage the preservation of those wild places through his work.
Simply put, nature affects Aaron in a profound way and his images are a celebration of that. He enjoys capturing scenes that strike his viewers with awe — scenes that create a desire to explore further. Aaron grew up outside of Dallas, TX and has been playing in and exploring the outdoors since he was a kid. Fast forward through the years, he grew older but never really grew up!
In early 2015, Aaron established and managed the Instagram communities for Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. After handing that management over to the parks later, he partnered with Pierce to create Hiking Texas which has evolved from the Instagram community to what you see today — with plenty more planned for the future!
Favorite Parks: Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Favorite Trails: South Rim Trail (Big Bend National Park), McKittrick Canyon Trail (Guadalupe Mountains National Park)
“Out of all the parks I’ve explored across the country, I consider Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains my home away from home. There’s a certain magic out there in West Texas that keeps calling me back — and I’m all too happy to keep answering that call.”
— Aaron Bates
Pierce Ingram is a freelance photographer and Texas explorer based out of Austin, Texas. After graduating college and starting a traditional 9-5 job, the call to get outdoors was stronger than ever. He started by rediscovering the natural areas around central Texas and eventually made his first trip out to West Texas which sparked his passion for photographing, exploring, and connecting with the Texas outdoors. Throughout his freelance career, he has been named by Texas Highways as one of the Top 25 Texas Travel photographers to Follow, has been published in Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Backpacker Magazine, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, The Nature Conservancy and more. He most recently spent the spring of 2019 traveling across Texas documenting travel, lifestyle and outdoor destinations for Travel Texas.
Pierce has spent countless hours backpacking, photographing and exploring many of Texas’ wild spaces for personal and professional projects as well as his latest endeavor, the creation of Hiking Texas. Hiking Texas was started when he was frustrated with the lack of updated, dynamic and resourceful online content while researching his next trip. Hiking Texas first started as an Instagram community and has since evolved into what you see today. Ultimately, Pierce enjoys helping others discover the same passion he’s found by providing helpful tips, trips and other ideas to encourage Texan’s to explore their own backyard.
Favorite Parks: Big Bend National Park, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Balmorhea State Park, Inks Lake State Park
Favorite Trails: Guadalupe Peak (GMNP), South Rim (BBNP), Spicewood Springs Trail (Colorado Bend), and a whole lot more!
“As we explore, discover and connect with the land around us, we become better stewards and conservationists for tomorrow.”
— Pierce Ingram