Plains, Hills, and Myths: The True Terrain of Texas

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Texas is such a large state. It can be hard to imagine the terrain overall and if it’s flat compared to other states.  

If you live in or plan to visit Texas, you may wonder how flat the state is and how its hilliness compares with other US states. This article will explain the flatness of Texas and answer other hill-related questions you might have!

Quick answer; Texas is mostly flat! Texas is considered one of the flatter states in the US in elevation and feeling. 

Feeling means that people think the appearance and terrain of the state are flat, but topographical maps and geological studies show it’s one of the flattest states. So in both perception and scientific reality, Texas is flat!

The Capitol in Texas photo from a drone. - Texas View

Flat Parts of Texas

The flattest parts of Texas run along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Generally, you can find the flattest parts of Texas to the east and areas near the ocean. 

The flattest parts of Texas include the Great Plains region, the Coastal Plains, and eastern locations where it’s very swampy. Swamps and bogs require a low elevation, and the eastern side of the state has this kind of terrain which bleeds into neighboring states like Louisiana.

The border between Louisiana and Texas is one of the flattest areas. 

Houston Texas cityscape view from aerial view airplane. - Texas View

Hilly Parts of Texas

The most rugged and hilly parts of Texas lay toward the north and west. Hills trail down from the rocky mountains, the Guadalupe Mountains, and the Pecos River, creating the hilliest terrain in the state. 

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This area leads into Big Bend country, where the terrain begins to flatten as it moves toward the coast. Guadalupe Peak is the highest place in Texas, rising 8,749 feet high, over 1.5 miles. 

Other hilly parts of Texas include regions in the Texas Hill Country in Central Texas. Most hills here rise to about 400 or 500 feet, which is not particularly tall. This area consists of the Edwards Plateau, another high point, but the plateau itself is flat. 

The plateau is constantly changing and eroding, reshaping the landscape. Erosion takes millions of years, and the elements’ effects on this plateau have produced rolling hills and flat savannahs on different sides. 

How Much of Texas Is Flat?

If you want a hard number to associate with how flat Texas is, there is a percentage that may satisfy you. 

Texas terrain is roughly 44% flat. Only 6% is super flat, 12% is very flat, and a whopping 26% is generally flat. 

That means 57% of Texas is hilly or “not flat,” but this is still a large flatness percentage compared with most states. Even the flattest states in the US hardly exceed 50% flatness. 

Aerial view residential neighborhood in sunny autumn day with colorful fall foliage. Top of new development subdivision with row of single family house large backyard and bright orange color leaves - Texas View

The 10 Flattest Towns and Cities in Texas

So what Texans get to live in super flat areas? Below are the ten flattest cities and towns in Texas that you can visit or move to if you positively hate hills. A few of these places are popular spots for tourists to vacation. 

  1. Houston
  2. Mcallen
  3. Brownsville
  4. Beaumont
  5. Midland
  6. Odessa
  7. Galveston
  8. San Antonio
  9. Levelland
  10. Plano 

Fun Fact: There is a small town called Flat, Texas! Ironically, it’s not on the list of Texas’s top ten flattest towns!

The 10 Hilliest Towns and Cities in Texas

If you’re looking for the hills, or want to know where to avoid them, below are the ten towns and cities in Texas with the highest elevations. Interestingly, none of these are known as tourist destinations. 

  1. Fort Davis
  2. Presidio
  3. Hudspeth
  4. Brewster
  5. Parmer
  6. Culberson
  7. Oldham
  8. Dallam
  9. Castro
  10. Deaf Smith
Aerial view large parking lots in downtown Dallas Texas near highway with skylines in background - Texas View

The Top 10 Flattest States 

If you’re on the hunt for the flattest state in America, below are the top ten flattest states, and Texas made a list! 

  1. Florida
  2. Illinois
  3. North Dakota
  4. Louisiana
  5. Minnesota 
  6. Delaware 
  7. Kansas
  8. Texas
  9. Nevada
  10. Indiana 
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The Top 10 Hilliest States

On the flip side, below are the top ten hilliest states in the US. Many of these states are home to well-known mountain ranges, like the Rockies, but you may be surprised to see some states are not on this list, such as Colorado. 

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Vermont
  3. West Virginia
  4. Wyoming
  5. Arizona
  6. Connecticut
  7. Idaho
  8. Maine 
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Montana 

Texas Is Flat

Overall, it’s safe to say Texas is a flat state, but there are some hilly areas and high elevations you can explore. 

Maybe you love taking beautiful hikes up massive hills, or you’ll do anything to avoid trekking up an incline. Either way, it’s helpful to know how flat or hilly certain states are so you can prepare appropriately. 

Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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