Colorado Bend State Park

waterfall: gorman falls
Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

We headed out from Austin at 7:30 am to try and knock out more parks on our list of 93. On the agenda for the day was Colorado Bend State Park and Abilene State Park. We had Lake Brownwood as a “if we have time” destination for the way back to Austin.

Word of caution: Don’t use Apple Maps to get to Colorado Bend State Park. You’ll encounter a nice sign that warns you “don’t enter or else.”

We found the park using Google Maps about 9:30 am and headed down the road past Gorman Falls to find the park headquarters. The road into the park is unpaved but covered in rocky gravel. Any car can make it down the road fine, but you will need a car wash afterwards. About 6 miles down the road you’ll find a dreamy oasis with plentiful camping, a beautiful river, and the park headquarters. The restroom is 100 yds past the headquarters so if you are in need keep driving to the right and park closer to the restrooms.

Campground below bluffs next to Colorado River
Campground below bluffs next to Colorado River

The group unanimously decided that this was the most beautiful camping spots we’ve encountered on our state parks quest so far; nice camp area with spacious fire pits and tent spots, the slow moving Colorado River flowing close by, a bluff reflecting the morning sun hanging over the river, and a restroom close by.

park store
park store

tree

We headed to the park store to pick up a souvenir and get our permit. There’s a really cool tree outside that appears to be very old.

The staff inside was helpful though seemed like they may have needed more sleep or an extra cup of coffee. After getting our permit we headed back up the 6 mile unpaved, dusty road to head to our trail head to Gorman Falls.

The trail to Gorman Falls is about a mile from the parking area, but the closer you get to the falls the harder you’ll have to work to get there. “That escalated quickly” was a commonly held opinion among the members of our group.

rocky path
rocky path

I advise you to be careful, wear proper footgear and don’t pack too much for the last section of the hike. You’ll have to make some leaps of faith to get to the best view in the park. It is worth it and it is safe if you take it slow and think about your route down the steep, rocky path. The picture below is the beginning of the steep section of the path. It only gets more difficult from there. Hold onto the steel cables on the sides of the path. I don’t have any pictures of the more precarious section because I was a little distracted trying not to break my ankle.

The light at the end of the tunnel does shine brightly. When you make it down the rocky path you are rewarded with one of the most spectacular sights. “It looks like something out of a movie.”

I highly recommend the hike down to Gorman Falls. There is a self-pay station at the trail head for Gorman Falls. You don’t need to drive the 6 miles down the unpaved road to the park store if your only destination is Gorman Falls. Colorado Bend State Park is definitely a diamond among jewels in the state park system. It is one of my favorite so far and will defnitely be a camping and hiking destination for me in the years to come. Five stars all the way. (yes, even with the road)

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