Lake Mineral Wells State Park is an absolute standout, but then I’m partial because it combines 4 of my favorite things sublimely and almost in my backyard - camping, hiking, biking and kayaking. Heaven! The drive from the DFW area isn't bad either with rolling hills that are a nice departure from the usual Metroplex flatlands.
My first trip here I was stumped by how to get to the campground. The friendly folks at the gate house simply said make the first left. When I arrived at the first left, all I saw was a spillway and I thought that certainly can’t be the way. Well, it is! What a unique experience driving below the lake. Riding my bike on this road was even more fun and refreshing!
I camped in the Plateau this trip and was lakeside. Campsite 64 has lots of cattails so I didn’t launch my kayak from here. One thing I really enjoyed about this site was the breeze off the lake. It kept a hot July weekend comfortable when sitting outside at the campsite and also seemed to keep the bugs at bay. This site had lots of wildlife and a deer strolled casually and fearlessly through the site while munching on grass. The fish were also entertaining and the frogs serenaded at night. They were loud, but my AC was louder so I didn’t hear them. Nice privacy between sites here. Level pad with good water pressure and a short walk to the clean showers/restroom. There’s a place to put in your kayaks in the Plateau campground and the water is gentle. Jet skis, water skiing and tubing are prohibited on this lake. As great as the Plateau campground is, my favorite sites are located in the Live Oak section.
I rode the trailway out to the Garner Store and Cafe on FM113, but was disappointed to find that they are closed on Sundays. The trailway between the State Park and the Garner way point is an easy crushed gravel ride, except for the trailhead from the park. Be aware that it’s a bit of a steep grade. Going down is fun. Definitely worth checking out.
Also, hiked in Penitentiary Cove. Awesome rock formations, crevasses, and little shallow caves. Climbers enjoy this spot too.
Last, but not least, check out Woody’s Bar and Grill just down the road from the park entrance heading into Mineral Wells. It’s a local, hole in the wall landmark and they’re known for their made to order burgers. They didn’t disappoint.