For those that haven’t heard you can now reserve your spot at our state’s parks using the online reservation system. This is great for those parks that are difficult to get to and then you do get all the way there and see the dreaded “park full” sign. Not any more. You can now reserve a day pass to popular parks like Enchanted Rock and not worry about there being space when you get there. Plan ahead though as parks are filling up faster than ever.
This is one of my favorite parks. Not only is it close to my home base, but it offers so much as a park. Waterfalls, bird watching, wildlife, long challenging trails, and so much more. I’ve been to this park many times over the years and I’m still learning new trails and discovering new treasures every time I visit. Here’s some pics from my recent visit. It’s amazing how much two years of good rains has changed the river. Bouldering is still fun but it is a little more challenging to get to some features.
PSA: remember to stay on the park side of the river. The other side is private property and you can be arrested if caught trespassing. Also, there is no swimming above the falls. It is very difficult to see the rock formations just under the water and with just a little precipitation the water above the falls becomes violent in mere seconds.
Next to Mission Espiritu Santo is Goliad State Park. Although small, this park packs a punch when it comes to Texas History. Along with the neighboring mission that I posted about previously there are several other historic sites nearby. Additionally the park has plenty to offer in the form of outdoor activities.
Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, swimming is available across from the park, at a junior Olympic swimming pool, operated by the city of Goliad (Swimming Safety Tips), nature study, and historical study. The park offers a floating dock and river access for kayaks and canoes, and is a take-out point for the Goliad Paddling Trail.
Park #34 on our quest to visit all the Texas State Parks and Historic Sites was Garner State Park.
It was very cold and started to rain when we arrived to the park. Even with the conditions we enjoyed the unique features of this park. The Frio (pictured above and below) is frequented by many during the summer for tubing activities. You wouldn’t want to do that in November. Besides being really cold, there’s also very little water.
Check the visitor’s center in the center of the park for path tags, wildlife viewing suggestions, and other park souvenirs. The main office at the entrance is for entrance fees ONLY and don’t forget to take a number on the way in.
There is plenty for the whole family in this park. There is a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a miniature golf course (seasonal and weather-permitting), camping, hiking, swimming and tubing (seasonal), and much more. You can see why this is one of the more popular parks.
Our 34th park was Lost Maples State Natural Area. We headed out early from Austin to beat the crowd…and then found that we were the only ones crazy enough to brave the weather.
It was 32 degrees and muddy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
There were many maples that still held their leaves, but many of the trees were bared during the recent storms. This was definitely one of the most colorful parks that we have visited so far.
There were also some interesting formations at the park like Monkey Rock.
Can you see it? How about now?
The view from the top of the East Trail was definitely worth the climb.
About that climb…1.5 miles straight up a rock staircase. It was challenging, but it paid off.
Check out the foliage report at TPWD for the latest on the maples at Lost Maples.
Also a great video on the TPWD Youtube channel.
I made it out to Pedernales on Monday after the heavy rains. Got some great pictures with the old camera I dug out of the closet. Easy to say that this park is my favorite so far. Every time I visit I see something I haven’t seen before.
I haven’t been out to one of my favorite hiking spots in Central Texas in quite some time. I headed out to Doeskin Ranch today to check out the end of a hot June at Doeskin Ranch.
This is a great protected park with plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. For the grasshopper lovers out there Doeskin must be paradise. You easily lose count of the different grasshoppers and crickets you come across on just a short hike at this park.
Take the ponds and prairies trail (near the restrooms*) for a 0.4 mile walk among the flat, open area of the park. The grass has really grown up in this area and the grasshoppers are plentiful. Because of the abundance of grasshoppers, there’s also many grasshopper sparrows out at the park. These birds have wonderful coloration and fly around at chest height providing good opportunity to see them up close as they fly by hopper hunting.
*restrooms are compost restrooms and provide minimal facilities