Bastrop State Park Visit Recap
In September of 2011, a devastating fire ravaged the lost pines of central Texas. Numerous homes were destroyed in the fire and a least two people died. That was the first time I really remember hearing about Bastrop state park.
I lived in Austin during that time period, and news reports warned of the blaze, and I could go outside and smell the smoke wafting 30 miles west, and see the smoke in the sky.
After almost two months of finally putting out the fire me and my family were finally able to take our normal route to Houston via highway 71. A normally scenic drive through the pine trees that shaded the road below was now open with sun. The light showed the true horrific aftermath of open space and charred trees.
Tears came down my face as the car started to slow down as none of us could believe how bad it really was.
I’ve been to the park multiple times over the last few years. The fire’s devastation can still be seen throughout the park as regrowth continues, and the park continues to manage the invasive plants from taking over. There are parts where the ferns are starting to become outshined by the loblolly pines finally standing strong with confidence.
There are parts where you can peer through miles of the park where trees once stood, but you see the hope of seeing the park as it once was. Knowing my daughter will hopefully visit when she’s older and see what this park is capable of being.
It still has plenty of other charms though.
This is a C.C.C. park after all, and the hard work of those that were able to work here can still be seen all over the park. From the entrance gate to the water fountains no longer in use, this park has held on to a bit of its history. So that is a gem nonetheless.
The park features a Boys & Girls Club swimming pool, a fishing pond, hike and bike trails on old golf paths, and numerous trails to hike on.
On my last visit, I decided to stick to a trail a know well and hike on The Scenic Overlook trail to the Lost Pines Loop trail that’s still open.
RECOMMENDED POINTS OF INTEREST:
Look for the historic water fountains
Fehr’s Overlook. It’s a historic CCC shelter and it overlooks the park and HWY 71. Perfect place to rest before wrapping up the loop for the day.
There’s also another Scenic Overlook that is across from the water tower that serves as another great spot to drop your gear and take in the wonderful view.
This park is close enough to home but still feels a bit out of the way. The pool serves as a great place to cool off during the summer, but note, there’s only one other playground at the park. So if you’re bringing restless kids- make sure you have things planned.
I really want to point out that most of the bathroom facilities have been renovated, and honestly, these feature some of the NICEST showers I’ve used at a state park. After a long day hike, a nice shower with temperature controls is amazing.
One last thing I want to note is that if you’re staying in one of the campsites relatively close to HWY 71 you’re going to hear a ton of road noise at night. I’m not kidding. 18-wheelers all night long.