Hill Country Natural Area Pt 2

After the hike at the “falls” (see pt 1 of our trip to HCNA) we headed to the other end of the park.

This is the old ranch house at the park.

The Bar O Ranch House from the late 1800s
You can almost see the parking area off in the distance. That parking is at the Equestrian Camping Area on the map.

This hill is the same height as Enchanted Rock so it’s a pretty good climb, but worth it for the great views.

To get to this spot park at the Equestrian Camp Area. Take path 1 to 5a, to 5b. The trails are marked fairly well, but if in doubt take the path leading up. 6 goes around the hill and 5b looks like a staircase (below) so it’s pretty obvious which is 5b which leads to the top and some amazing views.

5b

Another great park in Texas and I highly recommend a visit. Like I said in my other post on this park take lots of water with you. There’s no fill station or park store to get more water. If you find yourself short on water drive back into town and get more.

Old Tunnel State Park

One of the newest state parks in Texas is the Old Tunnel State Park. The main attraction here is the bat emergence nightly from May to October.

Open year-round from sunrise to sunset for general use.

Bat viewing nightly May through October. The trail to the lower viewing area is closed each evening. Monday through Wednesday evenings the trail and lower viewing area are not open to the public. On Thursday through Sunday evenings, the trail will only be open to those visitors who pay admission to view the bats at the lower viewing area.

For the most up-to-date emergence information, call the toll-free information line at (866) 978-2287.”

Plan your visit ahead of time and find a place for dinner close by. It is a bit out of the way and “out in the middle of nowhere” off of Old Fred Road and Old San Antonio Road. If you spot Old Fred that’s just a bonus.

 

Visit to Barrington Farm

Barrington Farm is a living history farm similar to the the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm at LBJ State Park.

If you haven’t been to one of these living history farms I highly recommend a visit. It is educational and entertaining. Ask lots of questions.

farm house at Barrington Farm

The farm still uses the smokehouse. They slaughter a hog in January and smoke meat for the rest of the year.

The farm has a beautiful Polish Crested Red that guards the hens.

There are also two slave houses that are present at the farm.

There is not quite as much to check out at the Barrington Farm as the Sauer Beckmann Farm, but I still recommend the stop.

Battleship Texas

Next to the San Jacinto Battleground in Houston is Battleship Texas. If you like history, ships, militaria, or all of the above you’ll easily spend a few hours checking out this jewel of the Admiral Nimitz Fleet.

battleship texas

Your parks pass gets you aboard for free. This is a great deal considering it’s normally $12 for an adult and $6 for the kids.

You can take a seat on the guns and get a feel for what it was like to aim these beasts.

view from guns on battleship texas

If you’re a photography nut, you’ll need to bring extra memory cards. One of my favorite shots was of the San Jacinto Monument from the bow of the ship.

view of monument from battleship texas

Washington on the Brazos SHS

Today we visited Washington-on-the-Brazos SHS. The birthplace of Texas.

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Be sure to visit the gift shop. It’s one of the largest I’ve seen at a state park.

Every hour on the hour there is a guided tour of Independence Hall.

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The guide gives a great explanation of the history of Washington, TX and the story of Texas’ independence.

From there head outside and stop by the obelisk just outside independence hall.

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The inscription on one side reads: “The necessity of self preservation therefore now decrees our eternal political separation.”

From there head down the La Bahia road to the Brazos River. The La Bahia was an old highway hundreds of years ago. It’s estimated that people have traveled that east-to-west road for over 300 years.

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At the end of this path you’ll see the old fairy crossing at the Brazos.

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Turn right at the fairy crossing and you’ll see the La Bahia Pecan Tree. This type of pecan is normally found in Mexico. It is believed to be 190 years old.

There was a great amount of history to this park, but not much in the way of trails. There are picnic areas, an amphitheater, and a pavilion.

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