One of the most fun aspects of hiking, camping, backpacking, is that if you work in an industry where your normal days off are during the week, and you can’t find anyone to hang out with – you can do all of those things solo!
I like to hike by myself usually. And most of these stories I’ll share are solo hikes, but for my birthday this year I wanted to just get away for a day and go camping solo. People asked me why I’d want to do that by myself, but as I learned on this trip- I wasn’t the only one. Which actually led to some anxious moments during my stay.
Buescher state park (pronounced Bisher),is in central Texas about an hour east of Austin. It’s technically connected to Bastrop state park, and a lot of the literature about the parks features both.
My first impression of the park was that’s it’s really green. There were trees everywhere, wide open spaces of green that were mowed, and the biggest draw is the lake. As opposed to Bastrop S.P’s lake that no longer exists, Buescher’s is definitely a nice spot to fish or rent a kayak and splash around.
I really enjoyed my time in this park, but during the first week of in the middle of the week I felt really alone. I was one of 4 people that were staying in the entire park this day, so at first it was neat to feel like I had the entire park to myself, but as the sun started to go down the impact of solitude started to kick in. Every car sound had me jerking my head around to see who was coming, and when the other two people eventually go to the same camp area I was, it definitely felt unusual. The thoughts racing around, ‘are they here for their birthday too?’, ‘are they hiding from someone?’. Yes a bit paranoid, but this was my first solo camp.
When it comes to the trails, well, there aren’t many options at this park. The Winding Woodland Trail and the Pine Gulch Trail are really the only ones worth hiking on, but its scenery definitely makes up for lack of options. The terrain starts off pretty normal for central Texas, but as you continue through the trees eventually you’ll come up to the scenic overlook (30*03′ 33.01″N 97*10′ 37.78″W), and if you continue on, the Pine Gulch (30*03′ 33.52″N 97*10′ 38.94″W)
There are three main camping sites at Buesher SP: Oak Haven, Cozy Circle and Lakeview Camping area. There are also four screened shelters and one walk-up site that is in between Cozy and Lakeview that provides a little more rustic experience. This primitive site doesn’t have water, but honestly it’s connected to the next site over, so you can easily just trek it up to the bathrooms nearby if you need to clean up.
If you’d like to camp near the water then I HIGHLY recommend the Lakeview campsite, specifically sites- 45-49. These are at the apex of the loop and the trees here open up to give great views of the water. There is a restroom with showers here and a group pavilion built by the CCC.
The Cozy Circle camping area is more suitable for RV camping with sites featuring water and electricity. This is also where the dump station is. This site also has the CCC crossover trail that features a pretty neat bridge that appears out of nowhere it seems. This trail will take you to the CCC recreation hall. It wasn’t opened the last time I was there, but it has plenty of windows to look inside.
Oak Haven Camping area is where I camped. Good ol’ number 26 to be exact. I really enjoyed camping here because the site is a bit tucked back from the parking spot. This campsite also features three cabins. They each have a nice patio overlooking the greenspace, and seemed like they had plenty of room. Room for four inside, and four more outside, it’s definitely a great option for families that may have a few folks that still want to ‘glamp’.
Cabins are $75 but they feature bunk beds, electricity, fridge and a microwave, but only an outdoor grill. Cabin #2 is close enough to the water to give you some lakefront views too.
This campsite also features a restroom with showers, and the loop offers some great morning scenery inside the camp area, but you’re also really close to a nice open field that’s mowed where I saw a ton of deer hanging around. This whole campsite is on a loop, so if you just wanted to get in some steps you could definitely walk around the entire park.
This state park is definitely worth a visit. If not just for the beautiful scenery, but for a decent trail and plenty of fishing opportunities. And if you get really bored, Smithville, TX is right down the road.
You can find the park at 100 Park Road 1E, Smithville, TX 78957. Phone number is (512) 237-2241