Emily M.
San Marcos, TX
Joined June 2017
I enjoy hiking, camping, and kayaking.
First to Review
Stunning swimming hole

I have tent camped here but they also have RV camping. There are two waterfalls. The main falls starts by flowing into a topside traditional pool down to a natural pool below. There's a small cave behind it. I recommend using a headlamp to check it out. There have been snake sightings. The creek extending from the swimming area eventually leads to Lake Travis. There's a trail that goes along the creek for awhile, past the second waterfall and some nifty formations on the cliffs. There's a rope swing for jumping into the water. Fun to watch the kids. The set up is grand. Picnic tables, nice restrooms, shady campsites, and gardens to explore near the owners' house where you check in. Can get crowded on the weekends. Some events held here like fireworks & camping for 4th of July.

On the lake

This is an LCRA park on Lake Travis with primitive sites. Mainly tent camping. There's a trail system that weaves around in a big circle mainly used by mountain bikes but perfectly good for hiking too. Others have commented about the bluebonnets, but really, now that the lake is up, the area where the flowers were is now covered by water. Fish on!

Almost as good as a State park

Usually fairly clean and quiet. Nice little beach area. You can paddle the lake to the river and paddle up it to the highway. Watch out for wallowing feral hogs. There's a trail that goes along the lake to a primitive camp. It's an out and back trail so keep an eye on the time. There are two historic bridges on site. Pics are of the river area.

4th of July

Went for the 4th of July celebration and fireworks. People drive up the hill at the park to watch the fireworks at a distance from town. The mountains here are called sky islands. Even in July I didn't need to use my trailer's air conditioning. It stayed around the upper 80's. Great baby hawk watching in the morning. You can walk down to the fort. I recommend that as a shuttle hike. It can be difficult coming back after going down to it. Extensive hiking across the highway too.

Preferred over the state park

I do prefer staying here over staying at the state park. It's easy to drive down the road to the park from here. You can walk down the gravel road in the campground too for more hiking. Bring an RV, tent, or stay in a fishing cottage for a reasonable fee. A little run down, but comfy beds and full kitchens. The sulphur smell isn't too bad. Consider bringing a kayak if the water levels are right. Lots of cats at the front office. Owners can sometimes be a little grumpy. Just be patient.

A bend in paradise

To be honest, I prefer to stay at Sulphur Springs camp down the road unless I'm staying at the group campsite here. The RV sites are a bit primitive. The hiking is extensive here. Definitely go down to Gorman Falls. Downriver from the falls is Gorman cave. You can do a guided tour or explore on your own with a flashlight. Do not disturb any bats. You can kayak up and down river if the water levels are right.

Rock climbing

Very unique rock climbing area. Fun to watch the climbers go up and down. Kayaking on the lake with a little creek to paddle up at the far back left side. Backcountry trails are very open to the sun.

Go to the other side

Go to the other side of the river for hiking in the Bauer unit unless you are doing the Honey Creek tour. The tour is beautiful creekside. You can kayak the river with your own shuttle. Swimming is good here.

Waterfalls in volcanic rock

There's an extinct volcano nearby called Pilot Knob. That accounts for the flat rock near the main falls. They are working on restoring the visitor center from after the floods. Bluebonnets are amazing here in Spring. Please be careful swimming. If you can't swim, please refrain or wear a life jacket. There have been several drownings here. The ruins of the homestead are definitely worth checking out if the creek is passable.

Lost on the trails

Ok they need a better map for these trails. I got a bit turned around and ended up off trailing it in the right direction to go back. The lake had some nice inlets to paddle. The campground was nice, but there were some erosion issues due to past flooding.

Dino tracks

There are some dino tracks in the creekbed to check out in the backcountry along with an old stone house. Supposedly there are some hidden caves off trail but I haven't found them. Trails are extensive and rocky. Good views. Beware of trail closures when it rains. Show up early on the weekend when it's nice out otherwise all of San Antonio will be lined up to get in. The guided hikes are informative.

Bigfoot

Some claim there's a Bigfoot or skunk ape in the woods but maybe it's the cows mooing? Who knows. Either way, I'm still going back to look some more. This place has an eerie quality to it in the swamps. Easy to hike all the trails in a couple hours. Small lake for swimming. You can kayak the river using your own shuttle. Very nice group campsite!

Big booms

SpaceX is nearby. You sometimes will hear loud booms at night from their tests. Makes for an interesting time I suppose. The park is on the small side, but the trails have nice features. There was flooding of the old campground, but they have put in a nice new RV campground in the meadow areas. Not much shade, but it won't flood over there.

Fall color

The leafers come out in the fall and this park can get as crowded as Garner. Camping assures that you can make it in. I prefer the west loop for hiking through the canyons. There's a hidden waterfall to the right of the trail near the pond. Also backcountry camping at the pond, which can be good for a swim in the right conditions.

Golfing & swimming

You can golf here and swim in the public pool. The trails are surprisingly nice, even though the park itself is on the small side. You can spend a nice day here. There's a wild rose area. The creek could use a better crossing at one spot from one trail to another, but it's passable in low water times. Go into town and have some BBQ.

The beach!

The beach is free of seaweed and the waves are great for bodysurfing. There are trails near the campground through the marshes. I need to do some kayaking here. Reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because the campground itself its a little pathetic. A circle with no shade and spots are too close together.

Fires and floods

It's sad what happened here to the trees in the fire and the lake when the dam burst, but this park is resilient. Please support it by visiting. You can now also walk the old closed golf course. There are little log cabins for rent. I used to live nearby.

A challenge

A challenge to get into the park (hour and a half wait) and a challenge to hike the trails. Some of the steepest trails in Texas, but they are worth the views! I camped in New Garner, which is nicely laid out, fairly quiet, and about a half hour walk to Old Garner. The river is great for swimming. You can rent kayaks, paddleboats, and stand up paddle boards.

Historic gem

More than meets the eye here. Texas was founded on this spot and the Caddo natives lived in the area. They are putting in a bigger interpretive center soon to commemorate the importance of this region. I would like to return to see it and do more hiking here. They have expanded the hiking trails recently. Short drive to the beautiful town of Nacogdoches and its lovely gardens.

Has it all

Kayaking, hiking, swimming, fishing, bouldering, cliff jumping, cabins, caving nearby, this park has it all. This is a destination park. I've camped here a couple times and come out for day trips numerous other times. Not as crowded as Enchanted Rock or Garner, but just as good!