Goodwater Loop is a great option for a weekend backpacking trip within driving distance of DFW and is very beginner friendly.
At just 3 hours south from Dallas in Georgetown TX, this highly trafficked loop circles Georgetown lake and features impressive views, a beautiful waterfall, plenty of swimming areas, challenging hikes that will leave you feeling empowered and plenty of established campsites near the lake so you can relax and enjoy the evening.
The trail is just shy of 27 miles and usually takes 3 days, 2 nights to complete with a full pack. While you are still in the city and may walk past some houses in some parts, most of the trail will still feel like you are deep in nature.
We started hiking at 10am on Friday and got back to our cars around 3pm on Sunday with our group of 12.
You can also start earlier on your first day and finish in 2 days 1 night but your feet may be a bit angry. This trail is very rocky and unforgiving to your feet so be sure to be prepared. I also recommend bringing an extra pair of hiking sandals and switch shoes to change up where your shoes may be rubbing and give your feet a break. I switched between my trail runners and keens.
There are also many trail heads and you should have cell service on the trail so you can bail at anytime (we still brought a satellite phone as a backup). Luckily there are many popular campgrounds so if you need to get a ride, it should not be too hard.