For more than a quarter century, the Walk Across Texas! program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has been helping Texans of all ages and abilities establish the habit of regular physical activity. 

 Walk Across Texas! is a free, eight-week community program delivered throughout the year via a web-based platform and implemented in communities across Texas. It challenges teams to track and log mileage to virtually walk across the state of Texas at its most geographically distant points — some 832 miles. There are two versions of the program — Walk Across Texas! Youth and Walk Across Texas! Adult.

How Walk Across Texas! works

“Through a team-based approach, program participants are involved in a friendly competition to promote ongoing engagement,” said Michael Lopez, Dr.PH, AgriLife Extension program specialist in the agency’s Family and Community Health Unit. “Local sponsored Walk Across Texas! events, typically facilitated by AgriLife Extension agents in counties across the state, allow for year-round participation.”

Elementary school student participants in the Walk Across Texas! program.
Elementary school students with their first-place medals for logging the most miles in the Walk Across Texas! fitness competition. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Paul Schattenberg)

Lopez said Walk Across Texas! activities are for people of all ages and levels of fitness. In addition to walking, any number of physical activities can be translated into miles toward the “journey” across Texas.

Each adult team can have up to eight members, with one of them being selected team captain. Each youth team can have an unlimited number of participants, and for schools, a class or designated group can constitute a team.

“The team that walks the farthest wins, but everyone who participates will begin to develop the habit of walking for fitness,” Lopez said. “The program gives participants the freedom to be active at their own pace, without setting unrealistic expectations.

Signing Up for Walk Across Texas!

More information, resources and registration for Walk Across Texas! youth and adult programs can be found at Or  contact the local AgriLife Extension office to find out if an event is planned locally.

Adult Walk Across Texas! participants gathered on the patio of the Bexar County Courthouse.
Participants gathered at the Bexar County Courthouse to begin their Walk Across Texas! challenge. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

While the Walk Across Texas! program is available all year and open to people of all ages, many counties hold annual activities. Some of these counties include: Angelina, Austin, Bexar, Brownwood, Burnet, Calhoun, Coleman, Colorado, Comanche, Floyd, Frio, Gillespie, Gregg, Hopkins, Houston, Jack, Kaufman, Kerr, Kleberg, Kenedy, Live Oak, Lubbock, Marshall, McLennan, McMullen, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Orange, Panola, Parker, Rusk, San Patricio, San Saba, Shelby, Smith, Tom Green, Victoria, Walker, Webb, Wharton, Wichita, Wise and Young.

The majority of events are focused on a single county but there are programs that involve two or more counties. One of these is the Walk Across Texas!-Brazos County program. The Brazos County event typically follows a February-to-April timeline. This year, Brazos, Grimes and Waller counties hosted their events concurrently. Another multi-county event is the Region I-35 Walk Across Texas!, slated to kick off Sept. 18. This coordinated Central Texas event will be held in Bell, Ellis, Hill, McLennan and Williamson counties.

Program supported by research                                                                                        

A study published in BMC Public Health confirmed the effectiveness of the Walk Across Texas! program to increase and maintain physical activity over eight weeks, even among inactive or low-active participants.

The study examined self-reported changes in the physical activity of more than 11,000 adults statewide who participated in the program. It noted any changes in physical activity across different activity levels, ages, genders and races/ethnicities.

“Study results found that self-reported physical activity significantly improved from the first to the eighth week, increasing an average of nearly 5 miles per week,” said Mark Faries, Ph.D., associate professor in AgriLife Extension’s Family and Community Health unit. Fairies served as principal investigator for the research.

“Participant activity translated to an additional 11,000 steps per week,” he said. “Similar results were found for all activity levels, and improvements did not vary between gender, age, race or ethnicity.

He said study results support the ability of the program to positively impact physical activities in a diverse group of participants.

“The program is effective in increasing and maintaining physical activity, and its team-based approach to friendly competition is effective in both garnering participant motivation and providing a level of support that helps them continue with the program,” Faries said.

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