2020 has been off to a great start. The Texas Trailhead Podcast kicked off, and my first state park of the year was a new one! My daughter and I had a day off together before she started 4th grade for the spring semester, so we decided to do what I thought would be a very simple state park that was close to our house. My initial impressions of Lockhart State Park were way off, so read on to learn about what you can expect.
Lockhart, Texas is best known for one thing if you’re into food: BBQ. It’s nicknamed the BBQ capital of Texas, and some would say the world. The big three are there- Smitty’s, Blacks BBQ, and Kreuz Market.
That’s all I’d gone to Lockhart for up to this point. Quick trip from Kyle, grab some brisket, and head back home. So when I started hiking, and started mapping out my destinations, Lockhart SP never really piqued my interest like Enchanted Rock did. I’d seen the map, saw the golf course, saw the amenities and just thought I’d visit it eventually.
The closeness was a bit of the reason why I wanted to go with my daughter, and once I looked a bit closer at the map I saw that they have water for fishing. As I’ve recently started fly fishing, any opportunity to combine the two is a good day in my book.
So we packed our bags and headed on our way. The drive is all back roads through remnants of small towns. Empty homes, empty lots, and lots of ranch land. Eventually you make the curvy road into the lush beauty that is the Lockhart SP.
Lockhart State Park is a CCC park. And if you’ve read many of my posts then you’ll know how much I LOVE CCC parks. The stonework is visible all around from the fence when you enter to the headquarters just beyond the entrance. You’ll find glimpses of hard work at the original pool wall, water fountains sprinkled throughout, and at the recreation hall next to the water tower.
Additionally, the water that flows through the park adds spectacular scenery and breaks open the wide open spaces with the delicate sounds of flowing creeks. Walk alongside the water and be introduced to the golf course that is definitely still functional, and the only course operated by Texas Parks & Wildlife!
When I originally looked at the map, I just thought they built Lockhart state park on a old course, but that being said, there is a fun point of interest by the water tower which was the original first tee box. Once known as the highest tee box in Texas, this section of land overlooks what is now the 6th hole just below.
The Clear Fork Creek flows through the park, and the CCC built multiple dams throughout. My favorite view, and the photo for the featured photo on this post, comes from the Check Dam #3 located on the Creek View Trail. Located at the opposite end of the park, the Hilltop Trail (.3 mi.), Persimmon Trail (.2mi.), the Fence Line Trail (.2mi.), and the Creekview Trail (.2mi.) are connected along the water. There is no parking on the road where these trail begin, so you’ll need to hike to get to these.
Our hike consisted of the CCC Trail (.1mi.), The Caddy Trail (.1mi.), The Chisolm Trail (.5 mi.), and we looped it back on the Comanche Loop (.1mi.). We started this trail by looking at the amazing CCC-built recreation hall. There are picnic tables behind the building with some great overlook views. To the left of the rec hall is the point of interest #7 on the map, the Water Tower.
It was a cistern for the rec hall that was built in the 1930s, and is pretty neat to look at from a distance and up close. Right behind is that tee box I mentioned early. We went down the path just behind the tower to the golf course below.
Taking the Chisolm Trail to Comanche Loop is very scenic. Trees on either side, and more views of the golf course. Because it was a dreary day in January, the grey skies played off the green and browns amazingly. My daughter is getting her trail legs back under her, and no part of this hike was too strenuous.
Eventually you come to a T in the trail to continue through the Chisolm, or make a left to the loop, so be ready for that. According to the map, the Comanche Loop was named for the overlook used by the Comanche tribes to prepare for any enemies. The scenic loop is an easy trail for a nice stroll through the park.
For a little more terrain, there are two challenging trails at Lockhart SP: The Persimmon Trail already mentioned and the Rattlesnake Run(.5mi.). Though not very long, Rattlesnake Run has plenty of terrain changes that will definitely help you break a sweat. Rugged hillside trails still offer some great shade, but as always, take plenty of water. Even in the cooler months.
Other notable trails include the Wild Rose Loop (.4 mi.) and the Clear Fork Trail (.5 mi.). Both of these trails are fairly close to the entrance of the park, and are near the two main camping areas.
Similarly to Blanco State Park, there isn’t a ton in terms of camping. Most of the camping areas are used primarily for RV’ing, but these spaces can definitely hold a tent. I’d recommend the Clear Fork Camping loop for tents, and the Fairway View Camping Loop for the RV. As they’re water/electric and full hookup sites respectively.
I was really thrilled with our first visit to Lockhart State Park. Just based off of the size I wasn’t sure, but once you dig in to what this place has to offer its definitely a park I’ll visit more often.
The fishing was definitely challenging though. My daughter and I checked out only two of the waterways, but we both caught more branches than fish. We’ll always take our fishing poles though to try it again.