Bill Brooks has shared his travel tips on this site for Colorado Bend SP, Dinosaur Valley SP, and now enjoy his trip to Meridian State Park in Meridian, Texas.
Just outside of the small town of Meridian, labeled “Top of the Hill Country”, sits a CCC state park. Meridian is about 45 miles west of Waco if you head down Highway 6. The park itself is a little smaller than most, but still has some great views and things to do.
Meridian State Park is one of my local favorites for a quick day get-a-way. My family and I can always enjoy our time fishing or swimming in the no wake lake and hiking along the trails of the park.
Altogether there are only just over 5 miles of trails. The Bosque hiking trail is the longest and takes you around the entire lake offering different views of the surrounding hills. If you start from the CCC built refectory you immediately go over the dam also built by the CCC. As a history teacher these types of parks are great examples to use for my students to relate real life examples to the history lessons they are taught.
My favorite hike in the park and one of the shortest at just half a mile is the Little Forest Junior Trail. The reason why is the secretive waterfall you can find just off the path about half way down. This little spring works its way down to the lake and is also surrounded by small ledges that provide good shade and a restful spot to just hang out. There is also a bird viewing blind towards the end of the trail.
Just down from the start of this trail is one of the two overlooks above the lake. This overlook is unique because it actually sits atop a bee ledge (don’t worry…no bees reside here). The small path down can be easily missed off to the side of the cliff and is slightly steep for a few steps, but definitely worth it to check out. It offers a cool place to sit and relax with good views as well.
Meridian State Park
Trails at Meridian S.P.:
- Bosque Hiking Trail, 2.2 miles, challenging.
- Shinnery Ridge Trail, 1.5 mi., moderate
- Little Forest Junior Trail, .8 mi., easy
- Little Springs Trail, .7 mi., moderate
The lake is a good swimming hole with a small rock beach sitting in front of a picnic area. There is also a fishing pier and the lake was recently stocked with trout. At the headquarters they have fishing gear for you to borrow and bait to purchase. You can also rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and a Jon boat to explore the lake. Remember, you do not need a fishing license to fish in Texas state parks!
The state park offers various type of campsites. There are screened shelters along the bottom of the lake and at the top of the hill overlooking it. They also have cabins and full hook up sites for your RV. All sites offer plenty of shade. Be sure to follow their Facebook page because they’ll post updates or activities that are taking place in the park. They also have a segment called “Minute With a Ranger” where they will discuss different things about the park such as the lake, wildlife you can expect to see, etc.
There’s no WIFI in Meridian State Park, but you’ll definitely find a better connection. As always when visiting public parks, leave no trace. Only leave with memories and pictures.